Category: history

The Irish Hunger Memorial Re-Opens to the Public

The Irish Hunger Memorial. Contributed Photo.

The Irish Hunger Memorial, a public art project designed by sculptor Brian Tolle in Battery Park City, re-opened to the public late last summer after undergoing major renovations to address damage caused by water infiltration in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Originally built in the early 2000s, the monument opened for the first time on July 16, 2002. Roberta Smith from The New York Times described the monument as a “typically postmodern blend of existing art styles — Realism, Conceptual Art and Earth Art — bound together by historical fact and physical accuracy.”

A methodical thinker, Tolle had spent plenty of time in Ireland doing research for this project which occupies half of acre overlooking the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. The centerpiece is an 1820s stone cottage brought from Ireland. Also, stones from Ireland’s 32 counties and Irish flora were incorporating into the project, a reminder of the Great Irish Famine of 1845-52.

Tolle had installed two miles of historical references on the base of the Memorial, in the form of a lightning shadow. The text, lit from behind with the shadow cast on glass, is changed and updated periodically, so visitors approaching the Memorial on one day might happen to read a Quaker soup recipe that was used to help starving people in Ireland in 1847, and on another day statistics about the amount of dog food consumed in the United States. The artist believes that this textural engagement with the Memorial ultimately shapes visitors’ visceral experience as they move through the monument itself.

With sculptor Brian Tolle in his studio in Roxbury, New York. © Simona David

Tolle, who teaches a course on public art at Parsons, is alert to the fact that art shown in a museum or a gallery space is dedicated to a captive audience, an audience of interested gallery or museum goers. When it comes to public art, the artist explains: “There is no way of controlling, nor would you want to control the audience in a public space, so you never know who is going to come across a project, and how they might respond to it.” With that in mind, the artist envisioned a memorial that trusts the intelligence of the audience in interpreting the event of the famine and its historic significance.

By its very nature, public art is free and accessible to anyone. When it blends well with its surroundings, it gives meaning and shapes the identity of the space. Public art is also a reminder of the shared community values and aspirational goals.

Tolle will lead a special tour of the Irish Hunger Memorial this Saturday, October 28 from 2 to 3 pm, and discuss the history of the Memorial, as well as its recent renovation. A staff horticulturalist will be on hand to discuss the Memorial’s native Irish plantings as well.

To learn more about this event, visit Facebook.

© artinthecatskills.com

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Artists on Art Tour at Olana

Olana, home of 19th century landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church in Hudson, is hosting Artist on Art Tour, a series of guided tours through Olana under the tutelage of contemporary artists working in various disciplines. Artistic storytelling is a compelling part of Olana’s ongoing narrative. Participating artists offer a unique lens with which to “read” Olana, and experiment and invent with “poetic license” as they explore through their own artistic practice Church’s home and studio as well as this season’s exhibition.

Olana Estate. Contributed Photo.

This Friday, October 6 at 4:30 pm musician Carrie Bradley tours Olana, calling attention to the transitionary and the “in betweens,” with an element of live music inside Olana. Bradley combines text; music of which there is record that the Church family enjoyed by composers they hosted at Olana; and her own original songs to invoke specifically the evenings of music the Churches hosted at Olana and to refer in general to the sensual spirit of music and sound at the house. Bradley speculates that, “The house during those events became a place where the felt power of music resonated within a container for so much powerful visual art and artifact, and also was during those times, for a stolen moment, a public place when it was usually his private sanctuary. In a similar way, the songs seek to capture the interplay between the public and the private that I feel in the views from the upper reaches of the house—an intimate and personal seat from which to view the awe-inspiring reach of the river and the sky.”

Carrie Bradley is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer as well as a guitarist, violinist, and vocalist. She was a founding member of the alternative folk band Ed’s Redeeming Qualities, has played with the Breeders since 1989, has since had her own bands 100 Watt Smile and the Great Auk, and has performed and/or recorded with Tanya Donelly, Jonathan Richman, John Wesley Harding, Love & Rockets, the Red House Painters, the Buckets, and many others. She lives, gardens, cavorts, and mulls deep in the Catskill Mountains.

Carrie Bradley. Photo Credit: Dave Rubin.

This program expands on the ideas found on site in Teresita Fernandez’s installation “OVERLOOK: Teresita Fernández Confronts Frederic Church at Olana” throughout Olana State Historic Site (May 13 – November 1). The Olana Partnership’s Director of Education, Amy Hufnagel, describes the public program this way: “Artists and cultural workers can teach us about Olana in ways we might not have even imagined; they are, in so many ways, logical “guides” to understanding and unpacking Olana to the contemporary era. The Olana Partnership wants to expand the narrative of Olana, and to express a multiplicity of stories here. Teresita Fernandez’s installation and the exhibition – paired with local artist tours – allows for a whole new set of conversations to emerge.” This innovative tour program privileges the voices of contemporary women artists and cultural workers whose own creative pursuits often find voice in the sphere of the “overlooked.” In specific, Olana’s team works to elevating the voices of these contemporary women artists with the end goal to expand and enlarge the interpretation at Olana.

Olana is the greatest masterpiece of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), the preeminent American artist of the mid-19th century. Church had a sustained interest in the Americas, resulting from his trips to Ecuador, Columbia, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In his own artwork depicting these landscapes and in the objects he collected throughout his life, Church’s passion for Latin America remains evident today. Church designed Olana as a holistic environment integrating his advanced ideas about art, architecture, landscape design, and environmental conservation. Olana’s 250-acre artist-designed landscape with a Persian-inspired house at its summit embraces unrivaled 360-degree views of the Hudson River Valley and beyond. Today Olana State Historic Site welcomes more than 170,000 visitors annually.

To learn more about Artist on Art Tour event, visit http://www.olana.org/calendar/.

“The Arts Converge” – Mutual Muses in the Catskills

WRITERS IN THE MOUNTAINS (WIM)

PRESENTS

ARTIST – WRITER TALK SERIES

MUTUAL MUSES IN THE CATSKILLS

“THE ARTS CONVERGE”

THE MAURICE D. HINCHEY CATSKILL INTERPRETIVE CENTER

MT. TREMPER, NY

 

SATURDAY, MAY 27 AT 1 P.M.

Art Writer Simona David in Conversation with Painters Margaret Leveson and Lisbeth Firmin, Printmaker and Ceramicist Peter Yamaoka, and Textile Artist Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes

Art writer Simona David will discuss her latest book, How Art Is Made: In the Catskills (2017), and share the stage with several acclaimed artists who live and work in the Catskill Mountains: painters Margaret Leveson and Lisbeth Firmin, ceramicist and printmaker Peter Yamaoka and textile artist Tabitha Gilmore-Barnes. How Art Is Made: In the Catskills pays homage to the place where American art was born through a series of conversations with creatives who live and work in the Catskills. Recent works will also be exhibited.

Artists featured in this book include sculptor Brian Tolle, known for The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City (2002), and more recently for Miss Brooklyn and Miss Manhattan, two replicas of Daniel Chester French originals that sit on the façade of the Brooklyn Museum – Tolle’s replicas were installed on Flatbush Avenue by the Manhattan Bridge in December 2016.

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 12 AT 1 P.M.

Poet Sharon Israel in Performance and Conversation with Composer Robert Cucinotta

Composer Robert Cucinotta and poet and soprano Sharon Israel will discuss their unique roles as each other’s muses. Cucinotta will play electronic works inspired by Israel’s poems, feature the poet’s voice, or both. Israel will read from her new chapbook Voice Lesson, including poems set to music by Cucinotta or inspired by his compositions.

Israel is the host of Planet Poet–Words in Space, an edition of The Writer’s Voice on WIOX 91.3 FM in Roxbury, NY. Her debut chapbook Voice Lesson was published by Post Traumatic Press earlier this year, and her work has appeared in Per Contra, SPANK the CARP, 5:2 Crime Poetry Weekly, Medical Literary Messenger, and Spry Literary Journal. In 2016, Israel appeared as a panelist at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, MA.

Born in Brooklyn, Cucinotta studied composition and electronic music at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College with Jacob Druckman, Robert Starer and Charles Dodge. His work MASQUE: the Tempest was premiered at the 2015 Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice by mezzo-soprano Maria Todaro, bass Bradley Smoak and pianist Doug Martin. Recent recordings include Divertimento For Mr. Brooks (2013), Koool Kitchen (2013), Dracula: Harker’s Journal (2014) and Life On The Screen (2016).

 

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 AT 1 P.M.

Nature Writer Leslie T. Sharpe in Conversation with Photographer Rudd Hubbell

Photographer Rudd Hubbell, who’s been documenting the natural beauty of the Catskills since the 1970s, will be in conversation with nature writer Leslie T. Sharpe.

A descendent of the area’s first settlers, Hubbell has captured thousands of photographs of our spectacular wilderness. He enjoys looking closer than the broad view, and always tries to focus on the things most of us overlook or take for granted. “Every scene is constantly changing and transforming, and I strive to capture that,” Hubbell says.

Sharpe is a writer, editor and educator. A member of PEN American Center, she is the author of Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing (Cambridge University Press, 1994), which is regarded as a “modern editing classic” and “On Writing Smart: Tips and Tidbits,” featured in The Business of Writing (Allworth, 2012). Her new book, The Quarry Fox and Other Critters of the Wild Catskills (The Overlook Press, 2017), is a lyric narrative look at the wild animals of the Catskill Mountains. Sharpe will read from this work and discuss the genre of nature writing as it relates to the Catskills.

 

Writers in the Mountains is a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a nurturing environment for the practice, appreciation and sharing of creative writing. For more information, visit writersinthemountains.org.

The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center is a partnership between the Catskill Center and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with generous financial support by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Catskill Watershed Corporation and generous staff and volunteer support from Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Mountain Club, Catskill 3500 Club, and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. To learn more, visit catskillinterpretivecenter.org.

The Catskill Center has been promoting the Catskill Mountain Region through regional advocacy, environmental education, arts and culture programming, invasive species management, and land protection for over 45 years. The Center stimulates, conducts, and supports integrated actions to protect vital ecosystems and unique landscapes, to enhance economic opportunities for all the region’s residents, to preserve cultural and historic assets and to further a regional vision and spirit. For more information about the Catskill Center visit catskillcenter.org.

 

A Century Under the Stars

Filmmaker Dwight Grimm, owner of Greenville Drive-In Outdoor Cinema, released a short documentary called A Century Under the Stars that brings back into the spotlight how Schoharie, a small Catskills village, became the host of the very first open-air motion picture presentation, entirely free to the public between 1917 – 1942. To learn more about this fascinating story, visit http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/site-of-the-first-known-free-openair-motion-picture-presentation.

© Simona David
© Simona David
© Simona David

The Centennial Anniversary of the Schoharie Free Street Movies initiative will take place on June 8 & 10 in Schoharie; the event is hosted by the Schoharie County Historical Association. To learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/freestreetmovies/.

 

Featured Destination: The Corning Museum of Glass

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, Steuben County, has on display some of the world’s most exquisite glass collections, spanning over thousands of years of history. Glass objects and glassmaking techniques from various parts of the world are showcased in several different galleries. A gallery dedicated to Glass in America includes early and rare artistic and decorative pieces. Glassmaking is considered to be the country’s first industry: it started with a glass workshop in Virginia in 1608.

A new wing, dedicated to Contemporary Art and Design, opened at the Corning Museum in 2015 in a newly designed 26,000 square foot modern building shaped like a large white box. A GlassApp, including videos, photographs, and artists’ bios, also launched in 2015 to enhance visitor experience. Demonstrations and workshops as well as lectures and other events are offered from time to time.

Two new exhibitions are on view at the museum this summer: Fragile Legacy: The Marine Invertebrate Glass Models of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, which will remain on view through January 8, 2017, and Revealing the Invisible: The History of Glass and the Microscope, on view through March 19, 2017.

Earlier this summer I spoke with Dr. Marvin Bolt, Curator of Science and Technology at the Corning Museum of Glass. Dr. Bolt’s job is to enhance the museum’s science and technology-based collections and exhibits, and to interpret the information for diverse audiences, from schoolchildren to working scientists. Dr. Bolt holds a PhD in the history and philosophy of science, and is a specialist in telescopes.

Click to hear my interview with Dr. Bolt.
https://app.box.com/embed/preview/8wh054mdaabooom8ll36gdrlekb8ziik?theme=dark
To learn more about the Corning Museum of Glass, visit

http://www.cmog.org/

© 2016 Simona David

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/26/2016

This weekend:

  • David Bromberg Quintet performs at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock;
  • Visual artists Lisbeth Firmin and Richard Kathmann lead a workshop called Double Vision: Plein Air Painting at the West Kortright Centre in East Meredith;
  • And author Lowell Thing discusses his book The Street That Built a City: McEntee’s Chestnut Street, Kingston and the Rise of New York at the Delaware & Hudson Canal Museum in High Falls.

Learn more at Upstater.com.

Featured Destination: Hobart, The Book Village of the Catskills

Hobart, the Book Village of the Catskills
Hobart, the Book Village of the Catskills. © Simona David

When Adams’ Antiquarian Books opened its doors in Hobart in 2002, who would have thought that this tiny Catskills village would become an international destination in such a short span of time? Featured in prestigious publications like The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Guardian in the UK, and just recently mentioned in a USA Today travel article, Hobart has increasingly become a brand name for travelers from all over the world. Earlier this year it was awarded the Tourism of the Year Award by The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

In 2005 pianist, furniture restorer, and entrepreneur Don Dales bought several buildings in town, and after acquiring entire book collections from bookstores that ran out of business, he opened two independent bookstores on Main Street. The Adams’ Antiquarian was already in business for about three years, and Dales thought that perhaps Hobart would one day become a “book village,” similar to Hay-on-Wye, the world’s first book town, established in Wales in 1961.

Entrepreneur Don Dales, founder of the Book Village
Entrepreneur Don Dales, founder of the Book Village. © Simona David

Owned by William Adams, a retired physician, and his wife, Diana, a retired lawyer, The Adams’ Antiquarian Books has an impressive collection ranging from ancient Greece and Rome, to the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Art, Architecture, Religion, Judaica, Poetry, Biography, and Fiction. Not all the Adams’ books are antiquarian, but most of them were either printed before 1850, or are about events that happened prior to 1850.

In August 2007, Elda Stifani, a retired diplomat who worked for the European Union in New York City, moved to Hobart and opened Hobart International Bookport, which specialized in foreign language books, and books by authors from all over the world, in English or in the original language as well as aviation books. In 2014 Hobart International Bookport, under new ownership, became Butternut Valley Books.

Across the street, Liberty Rock Books offers a wide range of rare books spanning three hundred years of history. The store, which also has an art gallery, hosts numerous events throughout the year, including lectures and jazz concerts.

Right next door, Barbara Balliet, a cultural historian, and her partner poet Cheryl Clarke, own and operate Blenheim Hill Bookstore since 2009. They carry history books, poetry, women’s studies, nature and gardening, cookbooks, children’s books, and other illustrated books.

Don Dales continues to operate Mysteries & More, and as its name states, the bookstore specializes in mystery and science fiction titles. Located in a classic Greek Revival building erected in the 1830s, and recently restored, the store transposes its visitors into another era: an original Loring & Blake Palace organ, made in the late 1800s, a reproduction of a harpsichord, and a typewriter from the 1950s add to the mystic. This house was once owned by A. Lindsey O’Connor.

Mysteries & More Bookstore
Mysteries & More Bookstore. © Simona David

On May 7 this year yet another bookstore opened its doors in Hobart: Creative Corner Books. Owned and operated by Kathy Duyer, a lawyer, and her husband, George, Creative Corner specializes in cookbooks, craft books, gardening, and do-it-yourself books. The store will also be hosting workshops and other community events. At Creative Corner you won’t just buy books – say on weaving, you’ll also learn how to weave from master artisans.

Creative Corner Books
Creative Corner Bookstore. Contributed Photo.
Creative Corner
At Creative Corner Books. Contributed Photo.

Memorial Day weekend is a busy weekend in Hobart. All six bookstores will be offering major discounts. Art shows will be hosted at MURAL Art Gallery and Liberty Rock. And a new restaurant just opened in town. In July an English pub is scheduled to open.

The View from Mysteries & More
The View from Mysteries & More. © Simona David

Things are happening in Hobart. Learn more at http://www.hobartbookvillage.com.

© 2016 artinthecatskills.com