Famed Surrealist painter Marc Chagall, known for works such as I and the Village (1911), Paris through the Window (1913), and Green Violinist (1923), lived and worked in High Falls between 1946 and 1948, producing a significant number of works. At that time, Chagall was accompanied by his lover Virginia Haggard, an artist in her own right, her young daughter from a previous marriage, Jean McNeil, as well as their newly born son David.
Chagall spent six years in New York between 1942 and 1948, a productive time when he painted, but also designed costumes for the American Ballet Theatre and The Metropolitan Opera, murals for the Lincoln Center, and stained-glass windows for the United Nations headquarters.
In 1946 he moved to High Falls where he spent the next two years. Local author Tina Barry created a collaborative called The Virginia Project, pairing poems with visual works by 14 women artists to shed light and reignite interest in that time in Chagall’s life in the United States. Of particular interest to her were Virginia and her daughter Jean.
The show opens today, October 27 at 5 pm at Wired Gallery in High Falls, and will remain on view through November 25.
This weekend in the Catskills: an exhibit from The Met, a letterpress printing workshop, a Pulitzer Prize winning play, and more.
Fenimore Art Museum
What could Mozart, Fenimore Cooper, and Marc Chagall have in common? The Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, Otsego County, re-opened for the season this Wednesday, April 1 with an exhibition of Marc Chagall’s Magic Flute: Highlights from the Metropolitan Opera, displaying artifacts from the Met’s 1967 production of the Magic Flute. Cubist painter Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985) designed the costumes for that production, as well as the visuals for publicity, and other objects. The exhibit at the Fenimore, which runs through December 2015, includes six costumes and four masks from the production, as well as photographs and artifacts, all on loan from the Met. For more information about this exhibit, visit http://www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/chagall.
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, Sullivan County, is opening for the season this Saturday, April 4 with an exhibit Peace, Love, Unity, Respect curated by Daphne Carr. The exhibit focuses on the history, aesthetics and communities that gave rise to electronic dance music in America. For more information, visit http://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/events/detail/edm.
Shandaken Theatrical Society
Shandaken Theatrical Society (STS) presents Proof, a play about love, science, and the mysteries of both, opening night Friday, April 3 at 8 p.m. The play, written by David Auburn in 2000, won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and a Tony Award for Best Play. Wallace Norman, who is the Producing Artistic Director of the Woodstock Fringe Festival, directs the performance. For more information, visit http://www.stsplayhouse.com/plays.html.
Phoenicia Wesleyan Church
Phoenicia Wesleyan Church is hosting an Easter Concert this Sunday, April 5 at 3:30 p.m. The Phoenicia Community Choir and the Woodstock Community Chorale along with soloists Alexandra Bailey, Tess Brewer, and Nancy Mastrocola will perform music by Fauré, Vivaldi, Bizet, and Puccini. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/452058971613084/.
Art in the Catskills, published earlier this year, is an inventory of cultural assets in the Catskills, and it essentially serves as a travel guide for art and history lovers.
I wrote this book, because this is the kind of book I wish I was handed when I moved to the Catskills ten years ago. And, although some of the cultural projects that I discuss in this book were developed later – like for instance The Woodstock Writers Festival, which launched in 2010, and The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, which also launched in 2010, most are well-established, well-known historical landmarks. For instance, Thomas Cole’s Old Studio at Cedar Grove Mansion in Catskill was built in 1839; the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild was founded in 1902; the Maverick Concert Hall, the oldest chamber music hall in the country still in existence, opened in 1916; the Woodstock Playhouse opened in 1938; all these are national artistic and cultural landmarks.
People are used to come to the Catskills for its tremendous outdoor recreational opportunities, but what I’m saying with this book is that the Catskills is also an amazing cultural destination – look for instance at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in Cooperstown – the festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year (it opened in 1975). Or Bard Music Festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. And, right here close to us, there is Belleayre Music Festival that brought Ray Charles and Wynton Marsalis to the Catskills.
And there is art in all forms and styles. Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown displays works by famed landscape painters like Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand. The Emporium in High Falls houses documents about Cubist painter Marc Chagall, who lived in New York City in the 1940s, and maintained a studio in High Falls – Chagall painted in the Catskills from 1946 to 1948. So, there is a lot of art in the Catskills.
I knew quite a bit about the Catskills prior to writing this book, but during the research phase, I learned many new things:
The National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, founded in 1986 by Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and his wife Marylou, is the only dance museum in the country, and one of the very few in the world. Its collections are extensive;
Thomas Cole’s New Studio, which was built in 1846, and was demolished in the 1970s, is currently being re-built based on the original design model.
There is a lot going on in the Catskills, and I talk about all these in my book. A second edition is coming out early next year.