Monday, July 27, 2009
I would love to have been in on the meeting that determined the language on the I-90 billboard advertising the current show at the Clark Art Institute. It says "This summer - Georgia O'Keeffe," with no mention of poor Arthur Dove (the show itself is called Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of Influence).
Now, I understand that these are hard times for museums, and that summer is their best chance to rake in as much box-office as they can (especially the Clark, where admission is free in the off-season). I also understand that for every person who's heard of Dove there are probably 10,000 who've heard of O'Keeffe. But I'd like to think that a two-person show could be advertised as such and still draw viewers. Silly me! Clearly, the PR people making decisions for the Clark know on which side their bread is buttered.
BTW, watch this space for a review of the Dove/O'Keeffe show, to be posted on Aug. 10.
I ran into the incomparable chanteuse Jill Hughes on Sunday at the Salsa Celtica show in Schenectady's Central Park (big shout-out to Mona Golub for her 20 years of service to the global music-loving community), and she told me she is working on a new solo CD, set to come out at a release party at the Van Dyck in September.
The last time I heard Jill sing was a few years back, on the stage with the Funk Brothers at Albany's Washington Park, and she totally belonged up there with those R&B legends. This Thursday, she'll be in the mosh pit with the rest of us, as Tower of Power provides a much-needed soul vaccination at Alive at Five. Don't miss it.
Last Thursday, a new experience was offered at the University Art Museum, when six of the artists in the current Mohawk-Hudson Regional participated in a Japanese-style slide talk they called Fast Talk. Brian Cirmo, Sharon Bates, Kelly Jones, Dorene Quinn, Richard Garrison and Harold Lohner were given 20 seconds per slide to talk about 20 images (that's less than 7 minutes total per artist) to an engaged and amused audience.
Before, between, and after the Fast Talks, DJ Truemaster spun house music while art fans mingled with each other and the Regional's diverse offerings. It was particularly fun to observe as gray-curled, bespectacled museum director Janet Riker introduced and thanked "DJ True," proving that you can be geeky, middle-aged, and hip all at once.
The artists appeared to have a ball with the breezy format, even when the wrong slide popped up, which only happened a couple of times but was still enough to keep them on their toes. All in all, it was entertaining, informative, and well received by a capacity crowd. I hope they'll bring the concept back again.
Note: the Regional - an annual must-see for local art lovers and lovers of local art - ends on Aug. 8, so if you haven't seen it yet, you still have time.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
My next stop was the most perplexing: Where the heck did they hide Amy Podmore's Untitled #1? After several turns around Tricentennial Park (a really nice spot, and the permanent home of two major bronze sculptures that represent Albany's history both distant and recent), I finally looked up - and then I saw Podmore's oversized teacups, dozens of them, hanging all over the trees. An Alice in Wonderland moment, to be sure.
And so on the tour went. The process of seek-and-find continued to bear the fruits of frustration and surprise. I won't bore you by telling about each and every piece of art along the way - but here are a few more highlights, and maybe a lowlight or two as well.
Same Shapes and Mosaic Tires and Muffler - These two very different pieces by Jason Middlebrook are among my favorites in the show. The latter consists of the titular car parts lovingly embellished in the traditional Middle Eastern manner, with delectable results; the former is a large installation in a garden area of shapes inspired by termite mounds that blend beautifully with the surrounding plant and rock forms. It will be fun to see how they look poking up out of the winter's snows.
Public art is for everyone. It creates a vibrant community and forms a unique identity for Albany’s metropolitan area. Produced by artists with distinctive visions who enjoy working in a public context, these works express a diverse range of themes including environmental, architectural, functional, commemorative and humorous.
The arts are integral to downtown Albany. The impressive 92-piece Empire State Plaza Art Collection, assembled by then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller has been called "the most important state collection of modern art in the country." Don’t miss the special exhibitions focusing on The Quadricentennial Celebration at the Albany Institute of History & Art; view the works of national and regional artists at the New York State Museum; browse the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, the Albany Center Gallery, the 1st Friday city-wide gallery openings and the E-Comm square’s abstract sculpture courtyard on South Broadway.
With numerous historical statues and monuments in Albany’s parks and public spaces, our rich environment invites you to discover 400 years of creativity.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
A stalwart at Clement, Connors splits his time between Lansingburgh (a borough of north Troy) and New York City, and his show has a similar configuration. There are nine Troy paintings, one from Cohoes and four from New York, plus a bunch of unframed works collected in a bin for browsing. All share the loose (but unfailingly accurate) style of a street artist - not coincidentally, the show is titled Working the Streets - whose subject is the setting, with people present simply as window dressing.
Light is also a subject for Connors, as it washes over his gorgeous facades and as it filters through stained glass for the one interior (of Troy's Saint Peter's Church). While Connors' colors are more vivid than pastel, there is an ethereal lightness to his Frear Building, a wedding cake of a structure which, in Connors' interpretation, is loomed over by the more robust, red Market Block building.
A more massive presence is felt in Music Hall, where the bulky structure rises up in jaunty, wide-angle distortion, a trick Connors gleefully and regularly employs. But not all his images are of impressive architecture - in fact, some of the best painting Connors does brings our attention to a scene we might otherwise never consider, as with the transcendentally sky-blue Kitchen Cabinet Store or Cohoes' Calkins Pharmacy.
In the New York paintings, Connors lavishes equal amounts of care on landmarks and lost souls. So, in this installation, Carnegie Hall rubs shoulders with both the Strand Bookstore and Ninth Avenue Wines and Liquors. The paintings seem a bit touristy at first, but they will grow on you - Connors has an eye, and he has plenty of technique to back it up.
Add note: If you haven't already noticed, Troy has pretty firmly established itself as a solid center of our regional art scene, and Clement is planted squarely in the middle of that. It may be easy for sophisticates to dismiss this venue as a frame shop putting on airs, but they'd be mistaken. Not only has the space grown to include a really impressive roster of regular artists (such as Harry Orlyk, Bob Moylan, and Laura Von Rosk - and more at http://clementart.com/), it has also built a nice lineup of printed catalogs from its monthly shows. This is definitely a gallery to be taken seriously.