I began the day at an opening in New Paltz at the Mark Gruber Gallery. This is their 40th year and themes during this year will reflect the 40 years in business beginning with the current show Looking Back—40 Years, 40 Themes (thru Mar 26). The work in the show is grouped according to themes: The Cow Show (an annual show for many years); Birds and Art, Barns, Nudes and Food, Baseball: Painting America’s Pastime, Romantic Realism, A Different Point of View, and Landscape of Abstraction were just some of the themes. Seeing many works by the included artists was a trip back in time as I’ve been going to Mark’s openings since we began publishing in 1984. Eric Angeloch, Carolyn Edlund, Staats Fasoldt, Keith Gunderson, Robert Trondsen, Keith Gunderson, Marlene Wiedenbaum, Lorna Massie, Wayne Sittner, James Coe, Christie Scheele, Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, Franklin Alexander, Marlene Weidenbaum, Haradie Truesdale, James Cramer, Paul Abrams, Gayle Fedigan, Will Cotton, and John Varriano were among the many artists whose work filled the gallery. I found it a particularly interesting show and look forward to the next show 40 Years 40 Artists.
On display are scrapbooks (kept meticulously by Maxine) from the past 40 years: each page with the postcard of the show, a copy of an ad, and whatever press and reviews were printed. Some of those ads looked like my “hand” work as were some of the reviews. Mark and Maxine began as a custom frame shop and print gallery in a tiny space on the 2nd floor of a building on Main Street in New Paltz. Certainly their dedication and commitment to excellent work has made for their 40 years of success. More at markgrubergallery.com
Crossing the Hudson I headed up to Rhinebeck and to Albert Shahinian Fine Art on Market Street in Rhinebeck, NY. Mounted is another exceptional exhibition with fairly large abstract paintings by Christoper Albert, delightful wirework wall pieces by Dick Crenson, engaging collages, many made from old books that were heading to the recycling bin, by Travis Jeffrey, elegant bronze sculpture by Richard Marx and fun and beautifully crafted wool sculptures by Madeleine Segall-Marx. This show will run thru April 3. There are 3 gallery areas: two have exhibits with featured artists and the 3rd is the Holdings Gallery with work from the many different artists that they represent. Albert and Joanna are celebrating 19 years as one of the region’s premier galleries. Although the locations have changed over the years from Poughkeepsie to Hudson and now Rhinebeck; the quality of work and the integrity of the owners has remained strong. ShahinianFineArt.com
Here I met Joanna Frang, the new Director of the Barrett House in Poughkeepsie. In 1935 Dutchess County Art Association was formed to foster and perpetuate an appreciation of the visual arts in Dutchess County. This original mission continues to guide the association today. In 1974 the revival home of Thomas Barrett was donated to the Association which is now referred to as the Barrett Art Center. Go to barrettcenter.org to learn more.
The annual Erotica Fundraising Party at the Tivoli Artists Co-op (tag) on Broadway in Tivoli, NY takes place, of course, around Valentines Day. Unlike other openings this is a party with entertainment, work by gallery artists and of course chocolate. As you would think, the works in the show were mostly nudes and frankly I didn’t see any erotica, just some very fine work from artists that are part of this co-op that began as a holiday crafts fair in Rhinebeck, NY in November 1989. In January of 1993, it established a year-round presence in the village of Tivoli. The Gallery was founded with the goal of providing a space where artists, writers, poets, musicians and performers would feel encouraged to take risks and produce new work, and its offerings have included poetry and book readings, performance art, dance and musical performances, life drawing classes, lectures, workshops and exhibitions. Over 250 artists have been members in the past 27 years and they get about 3500 visitors a year.
Entertainment was by Cait Johnson and Friends, known for their surreal performance pieces at the Rokeby Estate Ox Barn. They along with songwriter/musician Joe Tobin of the Acoustic Medicine Show create a “show” which they perform in various venues. The troupe, which numbers up to 35 performers includes professional singers, storytellers, dancers, and musicians, all committed to alternative community theatre for an alternative community with all-original material on themes ranging from a carnival of dreams to a music hall celebrating the Hudson River. The performance at tag was geared to Valentines Day and was a bit raunchy and a lot of fun. Performers were excellent and we were enraptured with poetry, dance, comics, mimes and a belly dancer. The show will run thru March 6. Check their site at tivoliartistsgallery.com