Archive for the ‘Art’ Category
By David Brickman
Summer has arrived, and it’s usual for a spate of blockbuster art exhibits to open at our region’s major museums. But, alas, this year is a disappointment – there’s no Van Gogh and Nature (which smashed box-office records at the Clark Art Institute last year); there’s no Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George (which put The Hyde Collection – and Glens Falls – at the center of the art world’s focus in 2013); and there’s no Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera (which exemplifies the drawing and staying power of a well-formed exhibition, as it went on tour from Stockbridge’s Norman Rockwell Museum in the summer of 2010 and, since then, has generated over 12,000 page views of my review.
The closest thing we have this year to a summer blockbuster is the Clark Art Institute’s Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes from the Prado (which opened on June 11). However, in our age of ubiquitous Internet pornography, it is almost quaint in its outdated immorality, and rather uninspiring compared to the usual star-studded summer fare offered by Williamstown’s queen of art museums.
Instead, we seem to have a season of prints: The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls is presenting Dürer and Rembrandt: Master Prints from the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly (set to open on Sunday, July 10) and the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown has Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Bohemian Paris (which opened last month), featuring posters, prints and drawings – but no paintings.
We also have a summer of outstanding contemporary art, in venues as diverse as the Albany International Airport Gallery; The School in Kinderhook; libraries in Albany and at Union College; small galleries in Lake George, Hudson and Schuylerville; and the vast MASS MoCA in North Adams, where conservative skeptics are won over every day by consistently excellent selection and installation of today’s most challenging living artists.
Here are my recommendations for summer viewing, in approximate descending order of scale:
1. Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, MASS MoCA through April, 2017. I could recommend this show on the basis of the title alone – but it includes a grand swath of international artists, at least one of whom I know I love, so there’s reason to believe it delivers on the promise. And there are nine (count ’em) other current exhibitions there as well. Just plain go.
The centerpiece of Brody’s exhibition is the nine-minute looping video, “Game On/Game Over.” The video piece is a playful but thought-provoking mash-up of animation and live action: A hooded figure walks in the winter woods, a cartoon character pops out of a hole and dances to the sounds of opera and creaking trees, a room floats over snowy fields and sinks into black waters. The video is both comical and foreboding. The meaning is left up to the viewer. Complementing the video is a collection of recent abstract drawings and paintings which share a similar playful and nervous energy.
“Game On/Game Over” won the juror’s award at the 2015 Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region held at the University Art Museum at UAlbany. His films have won awards at the Ann Arbor 8mm Film Festival, the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Super 8, the Belgium Film Festival, the Spacebound Film Festival, the National Young Filmmakers Festival and the WNET NYC Young Filmmakers festival.
The Board of Trustees of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown has selected Olivier Meslay to serve as its Dena and Felda Hardymon Director. Meslay, an accomplished museum professional and noted scholar, will become the Clark’s fifth director when he assumes his new role on August 22. He currently serves as associate director of curatorial affairs, senior curator of European and American art, and the Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, and brings more than 35 years of international experience to his role. Meslay was unanimously elected to the position during a special session of the Clark’s board.
“We are thrilled to welcome Olivier Meslay as our new director,” said Andreas Halvorsen, chairman of the Institute’s Board of Trustees. “Olivier’s vision, international experience, and exceptional academic and curatorial qualifications match the Clark’s ambitious aspirations. He comes to the Clark with a deep appreciation for our academic mission, an expert understanding of our museum program, and an energetic perspective on ways to enhance our dual mission and extend the Clark’s reach and impact.”
Since assuming his current position in 2012, Meslay has overseen the Dallas Museum of Art’s European and American art collection of more than 4,000 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper, and has managed the museum’s curatorial department, conservation program, and art research library. He has also served as the DMA’s curatorial representative with the French American Museum Exchange (FRAME), a collaborative organization of 30 American and French museums. Meslay served as the DMA’s interim director from 2011–2012, managing a staff of 250 employees, directing an extensive fundraising program, and coordinating donor relations that have provided continuing support for the museum. He joined the DMA staff in 2009 after a distinguished career at the Musée du Louvre in Paris.
Review by David Brickman
The future looks pretty frightening at the moment, and personal legacies may seem like a shallow concern – but Jack Shear’s personal collection of photographs, a huge selection of which is on view at the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs through Sunday, August 14, is an absolutely dazzling legacy.
Shear, who is the executive director of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, is also a photographer in his own right and has experience as a curator (this selection was co-curated by Shear and Tang Director Ian Berry). But this more-than-500-piece collection, donated in its entirety to the Tang last year, is what he will be remembered for, and with good reason.
Beginning in the 1840s with a vitrine full of Daguerreotypes, and continuing through the early 2000s, this compendium of the history of Western photography is a treasure trove that belongs at a teaching museum, where Berry and Shear contrived to place it at the fingertips of students, curators and scholars for the years to come. For now, we get to be those scholars, exploring about half the collection where it is gorgeously arrayed through the Tang’s entire second floor galleries, in pristine rows and heady constellations of cleanly framed prints.