Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hudson Valley Expedition

Now that spring has actually arrived, I ventured forth to the Hudson Valley to make some visits that had been long-postponed by our recent terrible winter weather.

First I spent a whole day with artists Ken Landauer and Julianne Swartz, a married couple who share a custom-built home and studio in Kingston, NY. In addition to visiting their studios to see works-in-progress by both artists (and enjoying a delicious home-cooked lunch!), I also discussed the possible loan of Ken’s outdoor sculpture King, originally created in 2007 for the Socrates Sculpture Park in New York. This beautiful and poignant work involves a king-sized bed, fitted with extremely expensive and elegant Pratesi linens, set within a Plexiglas and steel architectural reliquary box. Later that day, we visited the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz to see the exhibition Thick and Thin: Ken Landauer and Julianne Swartz, a sharp and beautiful juxtaposition of their work by curator Brian Wallace. Back in 1994, I had co-organized the group exhibition The Computer in the Studio with Brian, which was installed both at deCordova and at the now-defunct Boston Computer Museum. Julianne Swartz will soon install a major public art piece for the High Line in New York, and in the fall of 2012 deCordova will present her first large-scale museum solo exhibition, Julianne Swartz: How Deep is Your.

Jon Isherwood in his studio

On Day 2 I visited sculptor Jon Isherwood at his studio in Hudson, New York. Jon works primarily in stone, and I had seen his work exhibited extensively in galleries, museums, and sculpture parks both here in America and in England (he was born in England but is now an American citizen). I’d been meaning to meet up with him for quite a while. I was most impressed by his studio, and by the artwork that filled it. Jon and I are now in discussions about possible loans to the deCordova Sculpture Park. Jon runs the sculpture program at Bennington College in Vermont, and is also deeply involved with the Digital Stone Project in New Jersey, a non-profit atelier that offers cutting-edge resources for artists to learn and apply digital sculpture technologies in their work.

DeWitt Godfrey, Picker Sculpture, at The Fields

I then spent the afternoon strolling the landscape at The Fields Sculpture Park at the Omi International Arts Center in nearby Ghent, New York. The Fields exhibits works by both internationally-recognized and emerging sculptors on 60 acres of fields, forest, and wetlands. During my visit I saw spectacular sculptures by (among many others) Mel Kendrick, Tony Cragg, Bernar Venet, and Orly Genger. I also ran into some old friends, so to speak – sculptures by artists Philip Grausman, Mary Ann Unger, and Dove Bradshaw that had previously been exhibited at deCordova! And, I was particularly interested in seeing a major installation by DeWitt Godfrey, who will be creating a monumental work for our Sculpture Park in summer, 2012.

Philip Grausman, Leucantha, at The Fields

Mary Ann Unger, Misericordia, at The Fields

Bernar Venet, installation of Arcs, at the Fields

Nick Capasso
Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs