Woodstock Artists Association and Museum presents Georges Malkine: Perfect Surrealist Behavior, an exhibit that opened in October and runs through early January. Twenty-five paintings are shown in this exhibition, as well as some drawings and archival work. Malkine had lived in Woodstock since 1953 until his death in 1970. He is the only artist named by André Breton in his Surrealist Manifesto in 1924 as a founding member of the movement. Malkine was also a writer, illustrator, and actor. For more information about this exhibit, visit http://www.woodstockart.org/.
Locust Grove Mansion
Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the electrical telegraph, used to spend his summers at Locust Grove mansion in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County. Locust Grove was built in 1851 in the Italianate style. The estate, overlooking the Hudson, includes a large park, and a flower and a vegetable garden, as well as the original ice house, a carriage house, and an art gallery. The Young family, who lived at Locust Grove after Morse’s death in 1872, had donated an extensive collection of art and decorative objects, now part of the museum. The collection includes European masters as well as exponents of the Hudson River School of Painting, exquisite furniture in the Chippendale, Federal and Empire styles, as well as European glass, and porcelain from around the world. Guided tours are offered year round. This time of year the mansion, decorated for the holidays, welcomes visitors daily from December 26 through 31. Twenty-five rooms are lavishly decorated, themed after famous Christmas carols. For more information about Locust Grove, visit http://www.lgny.org/.
Equis Art Gallery
For art and horse lovers, Equis Art Gallery in Red Hook, Dutchess County, offers some of the best equine paintings, photographs, and sculptures, both contemporary and vintage. During the holiday season all artwork is offered at a discounted price. To find more about Equis Art Gallery, visit http://www.equisart.com/. In 1980 the American Academy of Equine Art was founded to amass and exhibit the finest equine art in the country. For more information about this organization, visit http://www.aaea.net.
Lindsey Webster Band will perform at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock this Friday, December 26 at 9 pm. A Woodstock native, Webster performs R&B, and other popular tunes. Bearsville Theater opened in 1989, and hosts many concerts and theatrical performances throughout the year. Celebrities who either live in Woodstock or come from afar perform on its stage. The theater is also home to WDST and Radio Woodstock. For more information, visit http://www.bearsvilletheater.com.
John Burroughs Association
If you have a little bit of time to write this weekend, it’s good to know that John Burroughs Association organizes an annual nature writing contest. The contest, launched in 1993, honors the legacy of the great Catskills’ naturalist. Submission deadline is January 23. Winners will be announced in early March. An Awards Ceremony will take place Monday, April 6 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
John Burroughs is best known for his collections of nature essay such Wake Robin (1871), and Signs and Seasons (1886). The naturalist writer was friends with many luminaries including President Theodore Roosevelt, industrialist Henry Ford, inventor Thomas Edison, and poet Walt Whitman. Burroughs went to school with financier Jay Gould. Born in Roxbury on April 3, 1837, he died in 1921, five days before his 84th birthday.
You’ve bought all your gifts, and had them all wrapped up by now. But if you’re still looking for some last minute shopping, all galleries and museums have gift shops, some of them online as well. Those are great places to look for artful, stylish gifts, something with a signature.
The Catskills has a lot to offer to art lovers this weekend: Handel’s Messiah at the Opera House in Hudson and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic in Kingston, the Nut/Cracked at Bard College, a ceramics workshop at the Roxbury Arts Center, and a Holiday Dance Party at the Catskill Mountain Foundation.
Hudson Opera House
Hudson Opera House presents Handel’s Messiah, a Baroque masterpiece written in 1741, this Saturday, December 20 at 4 pm at the First Presbyterian Church on Warren Street. Gwen Gould will be conducting the arrangement for strings, and the audience will be invited to perform in the chorus. For more information, visit http://hudsonoperahouse.org/.
Hudson Valley Philharmonic
Hudson Valley Philharmonic will also perform Handel’s Messiah at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston, this Saturday, December 20 at 2 pm. 150 musicians and singers will be on stage. Also, an hour before the concert the conductor and the orchestra will be available for a pre-concert talk. For more information, visit http://www.bardavon.org/event_info.php?id=737&venue=upac.
Bard College presents the Nut/Cracked with the Bang Group, this Saturday, December 20 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 21 at 2 pm. Choreographed by David Parker, the Nut/Cracked is an unconventional interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. For more information, visit http://fishercenter.bard.edu/calendar/event.php?eid=126896.
Roxbury Arts Center
Roxbury Arts Center is hosting a Ceramics workshop with artist Ros Welchman “Working with Clay,” this Saturday, December 20 from 11:30 am to 2 pm. Participants can learn to make plates, bowls or wall-hangings, and can add textures and / or colors of their choice. From the Roxbury Arts Group: “Ros Welchman works with hand-built ceramics, inspired by textures and patterns collected during her travels, and informed by her background in geometry. She is a member of the Longyear Gallery in Margaretville.” For more information about this workshop, visit http://roxburyartsgroup.org/2013/01/18/december-20-drop-in-art-class-working-with-clay/.
Catskill Mountain Foundation
Catskill Mountain Foundation in Hunter is hosting a Holiday Dance Party featuring local students as well students from the Valentina Kozlova Dance Academy in New York City this Saturday, December 20 at 3 pm. Valentina Kozlova was a star of the Bolshoi Ballet and the New York City Ballet. Dancers will perform excerpts from The Nutcracker by Ilyich Tchaikovsky. A reception will follow the performance. The event is organized by Victoria Rinaldi, former ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. For more information, visit http://www.catskillmtn.org/events/performances/2014-12-20-free-holiday-dance-event-831.html.
Didier Cremieux is a New York City based painter and illustrator. Born and raised in Clermont l’Herault in southern France, Didier moved to the United States in 1977. He majored in literature and art history at the Université Paul Valery in Montpellier, France. Upon his arrival to the U.S., Didier furthered his studies in photography in Oklahoma City, and etching and lithography at Antioch College in Ohio, along with apprenticeships and jobs in printmaking and graphic design. Along his career, Didier experimented with various printing techniques from silk screening to etching and Xerox or letterpress printing. His artwork has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers. Didier also designs book illustrations, posters for various events, and promotional materials for the music industry. As a painter, he is mostly interested in City scapes and still lifes.
Didier had an exhibit at the Orphic Gallery in Roxbury this past fall, called “Postal Mix Tapes.” The exhibit included hand-made stamp sheets and posters celebrating music and music history.
Simona David: Didier, talk a little bit about your training as a painter and illustrator.
Didier Cremieux: When I came to the U.S. my formal training was in literature and art history, and I was also a painter. Then slowly I moved into the graphic arts, as a source of employment, to supplement the fine arts.
SD: Do you still paint?
DC: I still paint quite a bit. I’ve always painted. It’s like I have two outputs that I have. The graphic art is a tradition that goes back to the history of the posters; that is something that I’ve always been fond of, and that I’ve designed for a long time. A lot of my work, for example, has to do with music. So I did music packaging, and posters for bands, and stuff like that. It’s just a tradition from the posters of Toulouse-Lautrec to the psychedelic posters of the West Coast, then the punk posters, and the Xerox machine. This is a tradition that I think I belong to.
SD: The golden age of illustration was roughly considered to be from the 1880s to the 1920s. And you mentioned Toulouse-Lautrec. How is your work today as an illustrator different than that of an illustrator’s from the early 1900s, both from a technical and artistic standpoint?
DC: With the arrival of the digital age we moved away from the traditional printing on paper and ink, and switched to digital files. From what I’ve seen in editorial illustrations for magazines, the artist may very well start with pen and paper, but then he would finish the layout on the computer. Throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s I used to deliver illustrations on paper. And then towards the end of the 1990s every single magazine I worked with switched to digital production. One thing that really changed is the way you work as illustrator. It used to be like the editorial team would meet and discuss the project. The illustrator would meet with the creative director and get the outline of the project, he would read the article or the draft of the article that was going to appear, and then would deliver pencil sketches via the fax machine. Now it’s all done by email using digital files. You don’t sit in an office anymore, and talk about how everything is done. There is no more human contact involved. It changed the human relationship that the illustrator has with the production team.
SD: There is A National Museum of American Illustration in Rhode Island; on their website at americanillustration.org they say that illustration is “the most American of American art.” There is a tradition of illustration in this country going back to Norman Rockwell. People value illustrations, they collect magazine covers, or clippings, or something like that. I hope this beautiful tradition will be continued in some manner. You seem to have adapted to digital technology.
DC: Yes. A lot of artists went from working with the brush to working with the computer, and replaced ink with pixels. But I think, in a positive way, that brought all kinds of new styles, with all kinds of possibilities. Again, illustration is part fine art, and part commercial art. And, there are a lot of parameters that have to be followed in commercial art. Personally, I really like doing this sort of thing on the computer, and making changes, and offering all kinds of versions with colors or anything else.
SD: You work both on fine art projects as well as commercial art. How is your work different when you work on a fine art project compared to a commercial one?
DC: I did less illustration work in the past few years; the market has gotten quite a bit smaller, because of the crisis in the paper publishing. When a magazine goes digital, they sometimes do use illustrations, but again, it’s different. Also, trade publications are using more and more in-house designers as opposed to hiring outside illustrators.
SD: Let’s talk specifically, when you work on a project, where do you start, how do you decide on a style or an approach?
DC: It really depends on the project. My approach is completely different for a fine art project than a commercial one. The illustration work is more the work of a collaboration, of your skills being used for a bigger project. If I create a piece of art that’s going to illustrate a story, I need to create a visual that supports the story and makes quick associations with the concept of that article, but it’s also a visual that appeals to people so they read the story. That’s for magazine illustration. For book illustration is a bit different. The book illustrator and the writer are kind on the same level; on one side you have the text, on the other side you have the illustration, and maybe sometimes the two combined; but the two of them are almost like equal. What you’re doing with the illustration is offering one possible visual to the world that is in the story that the visual supports. That’s how I work: this is the story, and this is my narrative, my view of the story. What I mostly like about illustration is this collaborative effort.
SD: Who influences you, who do you admire, and how do you go about improving what you do?
DC: I started designing posters when I was 14, growing up in southern France, in a small village. I started a print studio with friends, we really had to come up with something to entertain ourselves. We were driven, interested in the creative things. We would do posters for events, or just ideas that we had. And we started showing them to people, we started doing shows. When I paint or do prints for myself, personal aspects come first. When I work on illustrations for various projects, it’s the collaborative process that matters most.
SD: How do you decide what to work on?
DC: The show that I did at Orphic Gallery in Roxbury, called “Postal Mix Tapes,” is a project that goes back to the 1980s. Around that time in San Francisco I met a lot of artists that were involved in the mail art movement, if you can call such a thing a movement. It was all about mail art, it was about exchanging pieces of mail with art on the envelope; it was also about experimenting with new machines, like the Xerox machine, at first black and white, and then color. Artists were experimenting. But again, there was this whole idea of the mail art. Stamps have always exerted a fascination for me since childhood. It was a very popular, democratic process for people to just look at pictures. And these pictures were always commemorating something. When I was a child I was very fond of stamps from around the world commemorating space. It was very great art, but in a small format. In the 1960s I also liked a series of stamps commemorating castles and monuments in France. They were really beautiful, with really beautiful engravings. I really loved collecting those.
SD: Let’s talk specifically about your show at Orphic Gallery.
DC: When I got in touch with Philip Lenihan, and decided to do a show about postage stamps, about music, I went back to some of the work that I had already done, and started adding quite a bit more. The main idea was to really follow the concept of stamps, which is a commemoration. It’s like we put out this stamp to celebrate this or that event. What I wanted to celebrate with this show was my very personal interaction with music throughout my life. So I did different sheets of stamps for various styles of music that I’ve enjoyed throughout my life.
SD: I also collected stamps as a child. Going back to your profession of designing stamps, does anyone else today either collects or designs stamps? How common is this?
DC: I’m not really sure. Collecting stamps is still very traditional. But, as you noticed, in the last 10 – 15 years stamps have changed quite a bit – now they look more like stickers. You can also go online and print your own personalized stamps, even with your own images. Traditionally stamps have always been linked to history. When I was a child I had all these stamps from my father, who had stamps from his father, so it was just an album that just kept growing for three generations.
SD: Looking back at your career as a printmaker and illustrator, and you’re also a painter, how has your style changed over time?
DC: The style for me has always been about experimenting with paint, paper, cardboard, different materials that I use. And in the fine arts the evolution of the digital world just added another dimension to that. A lot of my work combines the analog and the digital method, like working on a computer print, then paint on top of that, or add elements of color that the printer could not do, such as for example gold bleach, or special varnishes in different areas.
SD: Is there any project you’re working on right now that you would like to talk about?
DC: I would like to talk a bit more about the show at Orphic Gallery in Roxbury. One thing about this show was the music, and the way my generation experienced music. In the late 1960s and 1970s music played such a big part in our lives; for one thing you bought an LP or a record, and the artwork was absolutely beautiful. One of my first experiences with art was looking at record covers, and really falling in love with that form of art – photography, illustration, painting. And then there was so much more in those albums than just music. It could change your life, and the way you looked at the world. That music may have had messages and aspirations that went way beyond just a commercial product. The show at Orphic Gallery was really about that. I really enjoyed the show because it gave me the opportunity to talk about this. A lot of people came to me, and shared experiences of their own.
SD: I attended the opening reception at Orphic Gallery on October 11; that was a very nice show. You showed stamps with icons like soprano Maria Callas, legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk, a Balkan Band – I believe Goran Bregovic was on one of your stamps. I remember asking you if you had met all these musicians.
DC: It’s not that I met them. But in some ways once I discovered their music, it was something very powerful. For example, regarding the Balkan music, one day I stumbled into Central Park, and there was the Summer Stage Festival, and there was this musician and his Wedding Band Orchestra playing this music that I never heard before. I was really taken by the rhythm, by the power of the bass dominating every other sound. That was something extremely appealing, almost like a trance. I had never heard any kind of sound like that. I went to a record store, and asked about that kind of music. I had to hear more of that; it was truly fascinating.
SD: And you also paint. What subjects are you drawn into?
DC: I like to paint New York City scapes, this is my idea of landscape. I never work from an image, I always work from memory. The colors and the geometric shapes show New York City landscape, but a bit in a more abstract way. I also like to paint images that immediately bring you to the southern France, for example hills or this tree that I’ve always had a fascination for – cypress; it’s a tree that is found in Europe, especially in southern lands. And third, I like to paint still lifes – vases or pots with flowers. I do not work with any specific flowers, but it’s my own take on those shapes.
SD: So, it’s all about the visual appeal of a painting.
DC: Yes, and also it’s comfort. Looking at an abstract painting, but still seeing an image in that painting. It touches people, because this is how maybe they interpreted something – they didn’t see a landscape, they saw geometrical shapes. I am trying to tell people that this is my interpretation of my own experience with the landscape.
You can find more about Didier Cremieux at didiercremieux.com.
Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz is hosting the Wired Gallery’s annual Art Foray event featuring close to thirty local artists and artisans working in various media this Thursday, December 11 and Friday, December 12 from 11 am to 6 pm.
Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian castle built in 1869 on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, is one of America’s most beautiful historic hotels; in 1986 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. The hotel provides many outdoor recreational opportunities year round. The Barn Museum has on display period antiques and artifacts. During the summer, the hotel hosts a Festival of the Arts with a varied program that includes music, dance and theater. This weekend, the Art Foray event organized by the Wired Gallery is an opportunity to visit Mohonk House for free. For more information, go to http://www.thewiredgallery.com/. To learn more about Mohonk House, visit http://www.mohonk.com.
Olana Mansion in Hudson, Greene County, presents “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens this Friday, December 12 at 7 pm. Jonathan Kruk, master storyteller, will perform over thirty characters in this Dickens’ classic, and give a fresh interpretation of the story. Jim Keyes will provide musical accompaniment playing several different instruments, including a portal pipe organ, violin and harp. For more information, visit http://www.olana.org/calendar/christmas-carol/?doing_wp_cron=1418235477.3838379383087158203125.
Dia:Beacon Art Foundation in Dutchess County is hosting Gallery Talks the second Saturday of the month at 2 pm. These talks, focusing on a single artist each month, are led by curators, art historians and writers. Saturday, December 13 at 2 pm curator Regine Basha will discuss the work of Sol LeWitt, a leading artist of the American Conceptual and Minimalist movement. Located in a former printing plant built in 1929, Dia:Beacon houses collections from the 1960s to the present. For more information, go to http://www.diaart.org.
New Paltz Ballet Theatre
New Paltz Ballet Theatre will perform Tchaikovsky’s famous “Nutcracker” this Saturday, December 13 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 14 at 3 pm at the Bardavon Opera House in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County. George Balanchine, co-founder of the New York City Ballet, established this decades long tradition of performing “The Nutcracker” in American theatres in December every year since 1954. Vanity Fair explains in this article how this tradition began. For more information about the performances at Bardavon Theatre go to http://www.bardavon.org/event_info.php?id=747&venue=bardavon.
Greene County Council on the Arts
Greene County Council on the Arts is hosting a holiday card and ornaments making event this Saturday, December 13 from 5 to 7 pm in Catskill, Greene County. Materials will be provided on site, and accomplished artists and artisans will assist participants in completing their projects. Light refreshments will be served. Also, the town of Catskill will continue its Winter Wonderland festivities this weekend with live music, art opening receptions, storytelling, and a Merchant Window Contest. For more information, visit http://www.greenearts.org/.
Catskill Art Society
Catskill Art Society presents “Trains on Main” discussion with John Conway, Sullivan County’s historian this Saturday, December 13 from 1 to 2 pm. Conway will talk about the history of the region, and the role the railroads played in the naissance of the tourism industry in the Catskills. Trains as well as the area’s reputation as a pure environment – pure air, water and milk, established the Catskills as a premier destination in the mid-19th century. For more information about this event, go to http://catskillartsociety.org/events/.
Arts and crafts holiday markets have become quite popular in the Catskills over the past few years, to catch on a rising trend of shopping local, artisanal products.
Prestigious Bard College is hosting its own annual Arts & Crafts Fair this Friday, December 5 from 11 am to 6 pm at Bertelsmann Center in Anandale-on-Hudson. The “Art and Craft of the Book,” presented by H.A.S. Beane Books, is part of the Bard fair this year. H.A.S. Beane Books, located in Red Hook, NY, specializes in Art Nouveau fine bindings, signed editions, art monographs, vintage sheet music, classic literature, foreign literature, and vintage children’s books. At the Bard fair this year they will showcase the art of book binding, book design, cover art, and classic book illustration. For more information click here.
Roxbury Arts Center
This Saturday, December 6, from 10 am to 5 pm Roxbury Arts Center will host a Local Arts Market, featuring some of the best Catskills’ artists and artisans. Local Arts Markets will have up for sale products by BEautifulreflections, Esopus Botanicals, Lisbeth Firmin’s Tractor Paintings, Nancy Gelman / Gemesis, products from Locust Grove Soap Company, Malaprop Designs, Moody’s Mountain Medica, Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes Studio, Candace Rudd and Carmen Lopez, and much more.
Also, a “Small Works” exhibit featuring over thirty local artists will open at the Walt Meade Gallery at RAG on December 6, and running through January 3, 2015. The exhibit will include works by: Jessica Aaronson, Judy Abbott, Charles Bremer, Jane Carr, Beth Caspar, Marie Cummings, Louis D’Amico, Neil Driscoll, Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes, Elaine Grandy, Kevin Gray, Walter Gurbo, Oneida Hammond, Doug Jamieson, Nina Jordan, Sabine Koengeter, Margaret Leveson, Patrice Lorenz, Helene Manzo, Amy Masters, Rhiannon Radu, William Waggoner, Ros Welchman, and Ellen Wong. This is a cash and carry exhibit. For more information, go to http://roxburyartsgroup.org/2013/01/24/december-6-local-arts-market/.
Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild
Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild is hosting its “5 by 7” holiday fundraiser show with a preview on Friday, December 5 from 5 to 7 pm. All the works in this show are exhibited anonymously, so the only criterion for picking a piece remains its quality and visual appeal. There are close to 300 pieces up for sale. Participating artists include Lila Bacon, Vincent Bilotta, Rita Berman, Patti Ferrara, Richard Edelman, Carol Field, Yale Epstein, Mary Frank, Heather Hutchison, Mark Thomas Kanter, and many more. For details, visit http://www.woodstockguild.org/exhibitions/5-by-7-show-2014/.
Woodstock Framing Gallery
Still in Woodstock, Framing Gallery is presenting “Mix It Up,” a small works exhibit by ten artists: Stuart Klein, Bill Mead, Karen O’Neil, and others. The reception will take place Saturday, December 6 from 5 to 7 pm. The show will run through March 1, 2015. For more information, go to http://wfggallery.com/.
Ulster Ballet Company
Also Friday, Saturday and Sunday Ulster Ballet Company is performing “A Christmas Carol,” an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale; the performance has been offered every year for the past two decades. Performances are scheduled this year at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston at 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2 pm on Sunday. For more information, visit http://ulsterballet.org/.
Hudson Winter Walk
Hudson Opera House, located in the former Hudson City Hall, built in 1855, the oldest theatre in New York State still in existence, takes part in the Hudson Winter Walk every year in December. This year the event will take place Saturday, December 6 from 5 to 8 pm. The walk, one mile long on Warren Street, is a festive event encompassing a variety of activities – live performances, face painting, stilt walkers, Mr. and Mrs. Santa parade, and other fun activities. All the shops, beautifully decorated, will be open throughout the entire evening. The festivities will conclude with a fireworks display launched from Promenade Hill. For more details about this event, visit http://hudsonoperahouse.org. Also, there is more information here.