Thursday, December 28, 2006

Freshman Fine Art opening Dec 28, 4-8 pm

Freshman Fine Art will be holding an opening reception today from 4-8pm for its inaugural exhibit. Beacon artist Hedina Christener is represented in the group show that features a selection of photography and painting. Freshman Fine Art is located at 46 S Chestnut St.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas strikes again in Beacon

In another brutal Holiday attack, an unsuspecting Curry Mendes was stunned last week when the Spirit of the Christmas Season finally caught up with him at as he left the Yankee Clipper after dining with friends.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

MidHudson Valley Area Call for Entries


Artists 18 years and older who
are working within the Mid-Hudson Valley region (Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia,
Greene, Orange and Sullivan counties) are invited to submit slides or CDs of
their work for an exhibition entitled “Beyond Self: Contemporary Explorations in
Art & Spirit” to be held at Ulster County Community College’s Muroff-Kotler
Visual Arts Gallery from March 9 to April 13, 2007.
The theme of the exhibit is described as follows:
“Spirituality has the potential of being a motivating force that allows
contemporary artists to look beyond themselves, and the physical and material
world they inhabit, to make new connections. Artists who are primarily inspired
by and engaged in this process through medium or concept are invited to apply.”
All media will be accepted. Two-dimensional work
may not exceed 5 x 5 feet; sculpture may not exceed 75 lbs. or 72” in height. To
enter, artists may submit up to 5 slides or a Mac-compatible CD, along with a
completed entry form and SASE for returning unaccepted slides or CD. Entries
must be postmarked by December 20, 2006. The jurors for this exhibition are
Linda Montano, a well-known performance artist, videographer, writer and teacher
and Beth Wilson, an art historian and critic, who teaches at SUNY New Paltz and
has curated shows at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.
For more information and entry forms, contact
Susan Jeffers, Gallery Coordinator of the Muroff-Kotler Gallery, at (845)
687-5113 or by email to Entry forms may
also be found at local galleries, museums and libraries, as well as downloaded
from the college website home page:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Talks by Palaia and Bertoluzzi at bau today

Slide talk by artist/photographer FRANC PALAIA at 6-7pm
"Illuminated Polaroids"

Music and Slide presentation by musician/composer JOSEPH BERTOLOZZI at

Q & A 8pm

Saturday, December 16, 2006 - bau 161 Main St. Beacon

6pm – 8pm suggested donation - $5.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Charlie Finch on Dia:Beacon & Art Fag City on Charlie Finch on Dia:Beacon

Charlie Finch penned a critique on Dia:Beacon in late November for Artnet. The blog Art Fag City calls Finch out on details in the snarky write up.
The bit I think is funny is that it seems Finch thinks the Rymans aren't colorful enough.

Brush with the Miami Herald

Last Friday's Miami Herald, quoted mentioned Robert Brush's work featured in the Pool Video Fair in a story on the various art fairs that run concurrently with Art Basel Miami.

Old Yeller

Word has it that Yellowbird Gallery in Newburgh may have to be taken out behind the barn and put down sometime after the beginning of the new year.
If so, I'm not sure what it will mean for the Downing Film Center located on the gallery's lower level.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dec. 16 Reception at Tentents Artlab

Tentents Artlab will be hosting a reception for a new exhibit of oil on paper works by
Frank Holliday.
The exhibit entitled "Land and Sea" opened two weeks ago, and features a selection of 18 works on paper along with a couple small canvases. Created as preparatory studies, for larger works, these pieces sport a loose, lush surface that expands the notion of landscape as hypnotic experience.

If you haven't yet been to Tentents, stop in on Saturday and speak with the space's founder, Steven Shermeyer. The reception will run from 2-5pm. Tentents is located at 502 Main St.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dia:Beacon Gallery talk, Dec 16 1pm

Walter De Maria, The Equal Area Series, 1976-77. Dia Art Foundation.
Photo: Nic Tenwiggenhorn.

Dia:Beacon Assistant Director, Steven Evans will be giving a Gallery Talk on Walter De Maria at the museum this Saturday at 1pm.

Gallery Talks at Dia:Beacon is a series
of presentations that take place every month at 1 pm and are free with admission
to the museum. Focused on the work of the artists in Dia's collection, the
one-hour presentations are given by curators, art historians, and writers, and
take place in museum's galleries. Reservations are suggested. Please call
Dia:Beacon at 845-440-0100 ext 44.
Current hours at Dia:Beacon are 11 am to
4 pm, Friday through Monday (closed Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday). Admission
to the museum is $10 general, $7 for students and seniors, and free for Dia
members and children under 12. The museum is easily reachable via Metro-North
Railroad (the MTA's Hudson Line station in Beacon is within walking distance of
the museum). On Saturdays, the 10:51 am train from Grand Central arrives in
Beacon at 12:17. Full schedules are available on the MTA’s website at The museum
is also reachable by major roadways. Driving directions are available on Dia's
website at
This series is made possible through the
generosity of The Dyson Foundation, The Karan-Weiss Foundation, Jane W. Nuhn
Charitable Trust, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Freshman Fine Art seeking NY and New Mexico artists

Freshman Fine Arts which is moving into the former Minetta Brook space on S. Chestnut St. is seeking NY and New Mexico artists for its initial exhibit. I came across a listing on Craig's List in NY and New Mexico posted by the gallery.

I'll post more info on the soon to be opened gallery when I have it.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Holiday Season warms the hearts of Beacon Artists...

...or more importantly for the artists at Bulldog Studios, it's warming their fingers and toes. The Poughkeepsie Journal reported today that the Beacon Board of Education has regained ownership of the old high school building, and the heat was turned on this past week....none too soon considering today's weather.

I can't help but think that with this return of heat to Bulldog Studios, a potentially profitable opportunity was lost. Bulldog Studios could have single handedly revived the ancient romantic vision of the artist while at the same time, augmenting Beacon's lure for Cultitourism traffic. I could envision this attraction as a mixture of
PS1 and Colonial Williamsburg with a little Montmarte thrown in for good measure. Paid admission to the building would give the visitor the experience of an open studio/true-to-life enactment with artist/performers regaling the audience with tales of living the live of a true bohemian, toiling away in a freezing garret, painting by candlelight.

Unfortunately, there have been some folks left out in the cold this winter. Word has it that all but a handful of the several dozen employees of Tallix have been laid off as a result of the merger with Polich Art Works in Rock Tavern.

Study to investigate Dia:Beacon's impact on Beacon

Dia:Beacon and its relationship and impact on the city of Beacon will be part of a study of 16 museums and the communities in which they are located. The Berkshire Eagle reported yesterday that the study, which is a collaborative effort between Williams College and Mass MoCA named The Center for Creative Community Development (C3D), has secured funds to conduct a three year study.
Below is a description of the study:

Project Title: "Museums and Community: Evaluating the Economic and Social
Impacts of Museums"The Center for Creative Community Development at Williams
College will do in-depth data analysis of sixteen selected communities to assess
local economic and social impact of museums. With a target audience of museum
boards and administrators, policy makers at the national, state and local
levels, and private foundations and donors, this research project will study how
local neighborhoods are economically and socially transformed by museum
operations; what impact museums have on employment and income; and how these
local impacts are distributed among different groups and locations. Results of
the research will be disseminated through a series of workshops and conference
presentations, publications, and an on-line Web site. The results will be made
widely available as a baseline comparison for other communities to replicate or
adapt to improve the development of customized public programming.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Art Basel Miami and its satellite fairs have grown over the years in size and importance to rival that of Beacon's Second Saturday celebrations. Both events are taking place this weekend, and save for a few elite jetsetters, you'll have to chose one or the other.
Two folks who are heading south are:
Angelika Rinnhofer's work will be represented again this year at Pulse Miami by Paul Kopeikin Gallery. Some other selections of her work will be presented at Miami's Bernice Steinbaum Gallery.

Robert Brush will be taking part in the Pool Video on in South Beach this weekend.

There are several openings happening in Beacon on Saturday. Visit for a rundown.

Dutchess Community Free Day at Dia:Beacon, Dec. 9

Dutchess county residents will be treated to free admission to Dia:Beacon on Saturday Dec. 9. Dia:Beacon is currently open from 11-4pm.
Dutchess residents are asked to bring a driver's license or other i.d.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Jill Reynolds Open Studio, Dec 2.

Here are a few images from the open studio hosted by Jill Reynolds in her Beacon home last Saturday night.

Jill currently has work included in three exhibitions around the country:
Glass: Material Matters at LACMA through Dec 10.
Contrasts: A Glass Primer at The Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington through Nov, 2009
Razzle-Dazzle: Chandeliers by Contemporary Artists at the JM Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan Wisconson through Feb 4.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Language of Reverence: Eleanor Heartney at HVCCA Sun, Dec 3 at 4pm

HVCCA in Peekskill continues its series of discussions moderated by Helio Fred Garcia relating to the current Reverence exhibit at the museum.
Eleanor Heartney, acclaimed art critic and author of the highly
acclaimedPost Modern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art
(NY:Midmarch Press, 2004), will be speaking to the universality of somereligious
iconography and religious carnal imagery as a way of opening thedoor to a
clearer understanding of the use of this imagery by contemporaryartists. Eleanor
Hearney is known as a authority both nationally andinternationally for her
several books and numerous articles addressing theuse of sexuality, death and
religion in contemporary art. She is a regularcontributor to Art in America and
The New York Times.In her critique of Post Modern Heretics, Maureen Mallarky
writes:‘This book is an exploration of the carnality of the Catholic
imaginationas a way of bridging an understanding of controversial art considered
to beblasphemous or transgressive. Deep views of Catholic Spirituality informthe
very art that religious conservatives love to hate.’
Helio Fred Garcia is the
President and Founder of the crisis managementfirm Logos Consulting Group, Chair
of the Board of Directors of the Friendsof the Neuberger Museum of Art, a member
of the Associate Faculty of theStarr King School for Ministry in Berkley,
Admission per event: Member $8 Non-Member $12

Thursday, November 30, 2006

reGifting at Van Brunt Gallery

Van Brunt Gallery will be opening its annual group gift show with offerings from a cavalcade of stars we've all come to know and love... The show opens on Sat, Dec 2 and runs through Dec 31. Opening reception Dec 2 6-9pm.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


A couple of weeks back, I noticed a sign reading "Freshman Fine Art Coming Soon" in the window of the long dormant, recently vacant space that was occupied by Minetta Brook for several years. The space is just off Main St on S. Chestnut. I currently don't have any information on what the nature of this space will be.

I caught the broadcast last night of last week's Board of Education meeting when a resolution was passed to transfer control of the old high school building back to the BOE. The proposal will be presented to the bakruptcy court on Nov. 28 for approval. If approval is granted, the school board will begin the process of assessing the physical needs of the building, and the potential future use of the facility. A handful of representative tenants of Bulldog spoke at the meeting expressing the benefit they feel Bulldog Studios provides to the community, and the necessity the workspaces at Bulldog represent for the tenant artist/small businesses. The artists voiced their desire to work together with the community and school board to enhance the educational benefits of continuing the presence of artists' studios in the building. Another concern for the tenants is discovering when heat in the building my be turned on. It was stated that, currently, the Board has no right to enter the building assess the physical systems of the building, and that the responsibiliy of taking care of the outstanding utility bill in the amount of $90,000 is still that of the Beacon Cultural Foundation.

Superintendant of Schools, Jean Parr stated that the Board will be openly seeking input from the community in determining the future use of the building. For those who find interest in such forms of public discourse, the process to determine the fate of the building and Bulldog Studios should prove truly entertaining. Given the various opinions voiced in the comments at the
Beacon Dispatch website, and in the Beacon Free Press, there should be a robust exchange on this issue.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Beacon Art Supply's Call for Artists

This is just in from the folks at Beacon Art Supply:

Calling All Artists (from the Beacon Area, anyhow!)
Join the Beacon Art
Supply 4X5 Club!
We supply a 4”X5” canvas and you create something on
Return it to us and now you are eligible for a 10% discount on store
(AND you will be a part of an upcoming 4X5 exhibit with your
Hudson Valley peers!)
The show will be a permanent installation in our store,
representing a cross-section of the area’s visual artists, as well as a portal
for communication. So please include your contact info with your contribution.
Stop by and visit us, and pick up your canvas if you haven’t already
received one.
Deadline is ASAP—we know the holidays are upon us, so view it
as a little creative zen in the midst of holiday angst.
Date of exhibit
opening to be announced.
Please try and stay within the confines of
Have fun.
Create Something.
Nicole Ashey
Beacon Art
506 Main Street
Beacon, NY 12508

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Beacon School district vote on former high school building

Today's POJO reports on Monday's School Board vote to transfer the title of the former high school building back to the school district and some reactions from artists on the prospects for the building's current tenants.
The transfer is pending approval from the bankruptcy court, andit's not clear if the school district will renew exsisting leases if the transfer is allowed to happen.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Artist book launch at bau Sunday, Nov 19, 6pm

bau is presenting a collaborative book project between the members of the coop and Elia Gurna. The book, "The Bear That Crosses the River," features a poem written by Gurna with accompanying original artworks created by the members of Bau.
There is a limited edition of 10 books that will be for sale for $100 each.
Elia will also be performing with her group, einlab will be performing during the event.

Unfortunately, I'll not be in town for this event. I was able to get a glimpse of Elia's poem over the Summer as the project was developing.. It is this is type of project that I find most interesting in its potential for investigating new forms of interactions between artists, and hopefully new forms of support for the entity, and I hope to see more such efforts in the future.

Ann Lauterbach Reading @ Dia:Beacon, Nov 19, 2pm

Dia's Readings in Contemporary Literature series continues tomorrow with poet Ann Lauterbach reading and discussing her work
Tickets for the reading are $15; $10 students, seniors; $3 members. Tickets include museum admission. Reservations are suggested. Call 845 440 0100 ext. 45.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

3 in New Paltz

Angelika Rinnhofer, Peter Iannarelli and I are having an exhibit at Unison Arts Center in New Paltz called "Come Gather 'Round." Featured in the exhibit is a selection of work in a variety of media that looks at the nature of the stories we share, and the things we're told when we are young. There will be an opening reception on Friday, Nov 17 from 5-7pm, and the exhibit will run through Dec 31.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Living the High Life

Dia:Beacon was all abuzz today as one half of the most dynamic sybling duos since Chang and Eng visited the museum. Mary Kate - or Ashley (the skinnier of the two) came to view the artwork with a companion, and a stalking papparazzo in tow.

The actress' visit passed without incident, and no, she did not try to evade the public's gaze by hiding behind a Fred Sandback piece.

In other celebrity news, W magazine's November Art Issue features an item on former Dia Director, Michael Govan in his new digs at the LA County Museum and his mission to bring SexyBack -- to the encyclopedic museum.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gallery Talk on Blinky Palermo at Dia:Beacon

A Gallery Talk is being presented on Nov 11 at Dia:Beacon by independent curator and Bard CCS faculty member, Ivo Mesquita. Mesquita will be discussing the work of Blinky Palermo. The talk will begin at 1pm.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hessel Museum grand opening Sun, Nov 12

The grand opening of the Hessel Museum at Bard College is happening on Sunday, Nov 12. The inaugural exhibit, Wrestle, is curated by Tom Eccles and Trevor Smith and spans the new museum galleries and exsisting CCS galleries with over 150 pieces from the Marieluise Hessel collection housed at Bard. Artists featured in the exhibit include DoHo Suh, Thomas Struth, Cindy Sherman, Tony Oursler, Christopher Wool, Janine Antoni, Sol Lewitt, Gabriel Orozco......and many many more....But wait, there's more.
Prior to the opening, there will be a panel and book launch at 10 am with Rhea Anastas and Michael Brenson, editors of "Witness to Her Art" a collection of writings of artists included in the Hessel collection.
Sunday's reception will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12pm and run to 4pm. At 2:30 pm, a Wrestle Panel Discussion is scheduled with Tom Eccles, Trevor Smith, Arthur Danto, Vasif Kortun, Ute Meta Bauer and Molly Nesbit.

As several Beacon folks have been working on the installation of the exhibition, there should be a small caravan making the hour trip up to Bard, so it should be easy to line up a carpool.

CCS Bard's homepage with the program of events for the opening day.

Holland Cotter's review of Wrestle.

A short film by Liza Bear from the museum opening.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Artist Talk at Tentents Art Lab Nov 11, 2pm

A couple of weekends back, I stopped into Tentents Art Lab, and met the founder, Steven Shermeyer. Shermeyer is a collector with an intense passion for supporting artists, and has narrowed the focus of this endeavor works on paper and showcasing artists that investigate "the natural world" in their work. Tentents' exhibits will rotate on an almost monthly basis. The first exhibit in the space is a collection of works in guache, graphite and charcoal by Brooklyn based artist Mia Pearlman that explore the permutations, real and fantastic, of cloud formations.

The artist will be giving a talk on her work at Tentents on Saturday Nov. 11 at 2pm.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Call for small works at Chthonic Clash

Chthonic Clash Coffeehouse is seeking submissions for it's annual small works exhibit and sale. All varieties of 2 and 3-D work priced under $250 will be accepted. Artists will be allowed to submit up to 5 pieces. The coffeehouse will take a 10% commission on sales.
The exhibit will open on Nov. 11 with a reception from 6-8pm, and run through Jan. 12.

For more information, or to rsvp, contact Rick at the Clash...
453 Main St. 845.831.0359

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hudson River Artists discussion at School of Visual Arts

Harald Plochberger will be among the panelists at an ATOA(Artists Talk On Art) discussion on Hudson River artists at the SVA in Manhattan on Friday, Nov. 3 from 7-9 pm. Also on the panel are Pat Braja, Carol Wax, and John Lawson. The discussion will be moderated by Catskill Arts Society director, Richard Reeve.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Saturday is all da bidniz

In a previous post from earlier in the week, I mentioned the all day law and business of art program being held at Marist College from 9 to 5pm.

As part of it's annual Radius exhibit, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum will be holding a Professional Practice Forum entitled "Making Allies in the Art World: Networking and Building Relationships" led by Jackie Battenfield. The forum is free and starts at 2pm.
The juried Radius Exhibit of artists from CT and Southeastern NY will open Saturday evening at 4pm at the Ridgefield Artists Guild Galleries at 34 Halpin Rd in Ridgefield CT.

Video showcase and discussion at bau, Oct 28

Christopher Staples is moderating the video showcase and panel discussion that will be held at bau on Saturday night at 6 pm. The video artists taking part in the program are: Marcy B. Freedman, Laura Napier, Gene Panczenko, Jaankia Peerna and Kathleen Sweeney.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Upcoming grant writing and legal seminars

The Dutchess County Arts Council is sponsoring two upcoming events details of which can be found in today's POJO, and at the Arts Council website,

The first is a grant writing workshop on Monday, Oct. 23 at 10:30 at the Cuneen Hackett Theater in Poughkeepsie. Congressman Maurice Hinchey, and , Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts will be present to discuss funding opportunities from the NEA. This event is free, but requires reservations.

The second event is an all day legal seminar for artists on Saturday, Oct. 28 at Marist College, in the student center from 9-5. The seminar program has been developed by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
The Seminar costs $60 ($50 for Arts Council members of Dutchess, Westchester, Ulster, Greene, Orange, Putnam Counties,) or $70 at the door and includes a continental breakfast, and a 200 page legal and business guide.

The Arts Council is an advocate of the arts in the region, and is committed to being a resource to artists and organizations in the area. I encourage folks to become members of the DCAC which gives much needed financial support to the organization that relies on a small staff to do so much.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

2006 DCAC Executive Art Awards

The Dutchess County Arts Council will be holding its annual Executive Art Awards Dinner tomorrow, October 19 starting at 5:30 pm at the Dutchess Golf and Country Club at 411 South Rd in Poughkeepsie. In Monday's Poughkeepsie Journal, Kathleen Wereszynski Murray gives a rundown of the recipients of this year's various awards. In her column from last weekend's Enjoy Section, Wereszynski Murray highlights this year's Art Organization recepient, bau, and its activities over the two years of its exsistence. Steven Evans, Assistant Director of Dia:Beacon nominated bau for this year's award.

2006 Arts Award Receipients

Individual Artist: Madeleine Segall-Marx

A nationally recognized sculptor, curator & teacher creating art in Hyde Park .

Arts Organization: Beacon Artists Union (bau)

Innovative collective of professional visual artists in Beacon.

Art in Public Places: Dutchess County Department

of Planning & Development

Creative public planners turning the Loop Bus into a county-wide work of art.

Individual Patrons: Lisa & Stephen Aronson

Poughkeepsie couple actively engaged in building a vibrant arts community.

Business/Organization: Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

Leading corporate supporter of the arts in Dutchess County .

Arts in Education: Yvonne Alexander

Devoted art teacher in the Arlington District for over 17 years.

Youth with Exceptional

Promise in the Arts : Emily Bogle

Young photographer with unique compositional talent.

Special Citation: Lucia Edgcomb

Bardavon's Managing Director of Theater Operations for over 30 years.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Reunited and it feels so guhd?

Craig Wolfe reports on the impending merger of Tallix and Polich Art Works in today's Poughkeepsie Journal. The merger will result in the closing of the Beacon factory, and a loss of some jobs. The new venture will clunkily be called Polich Tallix LLC. I felt that Polix or Tallich, or anything else, would be more suitably catchy and progressive as a name. The history of the two foundries reads like the saga of an estranged family of divorce with periods of rancor between the parents, and the children (employees) shuttling from one to the other. The competition between the two foundries, each trying to undercut the other is sited as weakening the two businesses, and the hope is that the merger will create a stronger company. With the variety of material options and new technologies available today, one can imagine the market for bronze and steel sculpture has been affected - besides, how many more bronze monuments can city's and villages cram into their squares. I've heard that, in hopes of accessing a new market, Tallix had recently jumped on the Discovery Channel bandwagon, taken up the fabrication of motorcycles to bolster income.

The closing of the Beacon site is a disappointment as its presence added the sense of Beacon being a community uniquely invested in the creation of art in a way that many other communties that boast of their "art renaissance" can not claim.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Oct 14 - Second Saturday

For a complete listing of Second Saturday events, visit

The artists at Bulldog Studios will be holding open studios from 2-5pm. There will also be a model airplane show in the gym at Bulldog - 211 Fishkill Ave.

Jacqueline, the hat and home furnishings boutique at 478 Main St will begin hosting monthly exhibit of artwork in one of the shop's windows. There will be an opportunity to meet Sculptor Morgan Donahue who will be on hand from 6-9 pm to discuss her work.

Go North Gallery, at 469 Main St, is opening its first official show at Go North Gallery at will open Saturday with "Concerning Form," an exhibit of ceramic work by Patricia H. Ragette. Opening reception will be held from 6-9 pm. The exhibit will run through Nov. 5.

It looks like the vacancy created in the rear of Iron Fish Trading Co. when Para/site closed will now be filled by the Iron Fish Gallery which is showing metal sculpture by Jason Hahne.

Hudson Beach Glass will have a group show of glass sculpture in the 2nd floor gallery.

The Ten Tents Art Lab at 502 Main St. will open it's inaugural exhibit on Saturday with a reception from 6-9 pm. The exhibit is called "Cloudscapes" and features the work of Mia Pearlman. I passed by the space tonight, and saw the exhibit info posted on the door. I'm anxious to see what this space has in store. The website, is now operational, and has some information on its mission.

Joan Jonas performances return to Dia:Beacon

Saturday, October 14 marks the beginning of a series of encore performances of Joan Jonas' The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things. Performances will commence at 2pm on Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29. More information can be found at

Saturday the 14 will also be Westchester County Community Day at Dia:Beacon. Residents of Westchester County will receive free admission on that day.

Hermann Nitsch speaking at HVCCA, Oct 15, 4pm

Nitsh at work. photo from

Hermann Nitsch, artist, elder statesman of Austrian culture and founder of the Viennese Actionists will be speaking at HVCCA on Sunday, October 15 at 4pm as part of a series of talks relating to the current exhibition, "Reverence." "...Nitsch was interested in the manner in which organized ritual could lead to a collective state of catharsis." Active as a performance artist, painter and composer, Nitsch's noteriety is most often tied to the series of happenings the Actionists staged in the '60s. Not unlike a Gallagher concert, but perhaps just as entertaining, the Actionists invoked themes of ritual and taboo using urine, animal carcasses, excrement, blood and other bodily fluids - not watermelons.

HVCCA is located at 1701 Main St in Peekskill. The talk will begin at 4pm. Refreshments will be served. - raincoats optional-

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Charles Nolan to hold benefit fashion show in Beacon NY

Monday's POJO ran an announcement for a fashion show showcasing Charles Nolan's fall 2006 line to benefit St Joachim-St John the Baptist in. The event will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Beacon at 6 pm. on Friday, Oct. 13. Reservations can be made at the parish office: 845.838.0915

Yellowbird Gallery seeking proposals

This call for entries was released a couple of weeks ago. Deadline is Oct 28. Here are the details:

working as individuals or in teams, to submit their ideas for a holiday
installation in our main bay. Dimensions of the bay are approximately 30
feet x 40 feet with 16 foot ceilings. We are looking for a
site-specific object or installation that expresses the spirit of the
holiday season. The gallery will provide $500 towards completion of the
selected work. Proposals must be received by October 28th by MAIL ONLY.
Installation late November with a gallery opening to follow. Exhibition
continues through New Year's Day.
Yellow Bird Gallery, 19 Front Street,
Newburgh, NY 12550.

True North Theater Project's River Play Festival

I was remiss in not posting this when it first hit my mailbox early in the year, but the deadline for submissions for True North Theater Project's First Annual River Play Festival is quickly approaching. Here are the details:

Playwrights from around the country are invited to participate in this festival by writing one-act plays with RIVER being the jumping off point. Along with three selected plays from submissions, one-acts will be written for our festival by celebrated playwright and screenwriter John Peilmeier (Agnes of God, Voices in the Dark, The Boys of Winter) playwright and poet Irene O'Garden,(Women On Fire, Little Heart, Fat Girl) award-winning playwright Quincy Long (Lively Lad, Joy of Going Somewhere Definite) and Michael Heintzman, co-founder and playwright of TrueNorth Theatre Project (Under the Hood).

The evening of theatre will be produced at the newly constructed Beacon Institute Building One, at Denning's Point on the Hudson River at Beacon, New York in May 2007.

The River Play Festival is a unique marriage between The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries and TrueNorth Theatre Project. The goal of this annual Festival is to create a theatre event that will foster education through entertainment of our most prized natural resources, Rivers. Through this venture we will produce an evening of one-act plays written specifically for and about RIVERS.

For more information go to;



"To live by a large river is to be kept in the heart of things."
John Haines

Deadline - Change to November 1st, 2006
Fifteen page plays - unpublished and unproduced
Cast - four (maximum)
Theme - River


Postmark no later than October 15th, 2006
Send three bound copies of your play along with a single page writer biography to and $5 Administration fee to:
River Play Festival 2006
TrueNorth Theatre Project
P.O. Box 228
Beacon, NY 12508

Finalists will be announced in November 2006.
Three winners will be announced January 2007
$400 to be awarded to the three winners along with production of their plays in May 2007

Saturday, October 07, 2006

On this weekend

I'm a bit behind, and ill prepared for doling out info for happenings this weekend. I know Van Brunt is having a group show opening tonight. I don't have the card in front of me, and the gallery website doesn't have the new information so I'm at a loss for the details - except I know that one of the featured artists is Matthew Kinney. Matt will be showing some of his most recent sculpural work with highly finished panels of wood joined with plastic buckets. The opening will be held tonight from 5-8 or 6-9pm.

photo by matthew sinclair kinney

Matt has started a blog that highlights images of recent work. The address is

Harald Plochberger is presenting "A Deconstructive Reading" today starting at 5pm. The event is free, but reservations are suggested due to limited space. More info here.

Elsewhere today, the Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz will be hosting an opening reception from 5-7 pm for a new exhibit by Lilla Curto and William Outcault. There will be an artist lecture held on Weds. Oct 11 at 7:30pm in Lecture Center 102 on campus.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Waves of Light III exhibit in Hudson NY

Alexis Elton, Peter Iannarelli, and bau members: Harald Plochberger, Franc Palaia, Christopher Staples, Egon Zippel, and Tony Moore, are all participating in the Waves of Light III exhibit held at the Pocketbook Factory in Hudson NY through Oct 9.

The exhibit is curated by Grzegorz Kepinski and opened yesterday as a part of Hudson's annual Artwalk event. The Pocketbook factory is open daily through Oct 9 from 11-5pm (closed Oct. 3-4.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rinnhofer @ ART(212)

Angelika Rinnhofer - Felsenfest

Angelika Rinnhofer will be represented this weekend at the Art(212) contemporary art fair by the Paul Kopeikin Gallery. (booth 407) Art(212) will run through Oct 1 at the 69th Regiment Armory on 26th and Lexington.

Angelika also has a spread in the current issue of Contact Sheet, the photography publication of Lightwork.

Will Walker at Last Supper Festival in Williamsburg

If you're down in the city this weekend, and looking for a few things to do, here are a couple.

Will Walker will be participating in the Last Supper Festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Sept 30:

The Last Supper Film Festival is an indoor/outdoor film, food, music, and art festival taking place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn during the cruxt of seasonal change on September 30th. Referencing the celebratory nature of the feast, the film festival kindles the creative miasma sparked by New York's peppery fall, and inventive chutzpah embodied in the interaction of disciplines.

13 short films (served with proselyte dishes of culinary arts), along with 13 art works from emerging artists will be displayed at Supreme Trading Gallery II (Back space) on Saturday September 30. 4 Bands: Majestic Rest, Dorie Vance, Exeter Popes, Yah Supreme and 3 DJs: Devin Devaux, Seek Ten, Ted Shred will grace downtime with sonorous skill. A benefit of motley nature, the Last Supper seeks to expose the diverse dialogue between artist/performer/director and audience. Prizes awarded for Forbidden Fruit Bobbing.

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

8pm-12am Sharp

The Last Supper Film.Art.Music.Food Fest

Supreme Trading Williamsburg, Brooklyn

North 8th b/w Driggs + Roebling

L train to Bedford
$5 cover includes first come first served food, films, art, music, bobbing

13 Films: Geoff Bailey, Arun Chaudhary, Irina Danilova, Fulana, Nick Golbeiski, Happy Hour Trio, Matthew Lambert, David Lachman, Victor Lytninenko, Elliott Montgomery, Mirko Rucnov, Kiel Scott, Matthew Thomas

13 Artists: Devin Deveaux, Sara Dierck, Mikel Jason, Kevin Kedroe, Chris Eckert, Toni Ishikawa, Seth Mathurin, Coralina Meyer, Mike Quinn, RoMa Steel, Will Walker, Justin Worsdale, Annie Wienmeier

13 Dishes including Sacrificial Lamb roast on the outdoor spit provided by Culinarians Brooke Errett & Company

4 Bands: Majestic Rest, Dorie Vance, Exeter Popes, Yah Supreme

3 DJs: Devin Deveaux, Ted Shred, SeekTen

1 Projection: TV Carnage

Volunteer opportunities, Advertising, Questions, Comments, Submissions contact:

More information on the Last Supper Fest may be decifered here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The rundown

The sculpture exhibit at Saunder's Farm in Garrison was featured in a write-up in Friday's edition of the NYTimes Westchester section.

In Friday's POJO, Kathleen Murray interviewed An-my Le on her exhibit, Trap Rock, a collection of photographs of the Clinton Point Quarry in New Hamburg that are the result of a project commissioned by Dia.

The D&H Canvas, a monthly art related publication based on the other side of the river, but which also covers events in Beacon and surrounding areas is seeking suggestions for the future direction of the publication during a brainstorming session to be held, Tuesday, September 26.
The details from Canvas Managing Editor, Barry Plaxen:

The Delaware & Hudson CANVAS was born due to my attendance at the Orange County Citizens Foundation 2004 Focus Groups for our cultural needs assessments . We started the paper as a direct result of that participation and based our plans on the results of that study. We feel it is your paper, your voice, and we know many of your feel the same way. I believe we have been extremely successful. But....

After two years of publications, the D&H CANVAS can no longer exist in its present manner. Changes need to be made.

We can no longer print everyone's press releases within our 24, 28 or 32 page issues. We need to expand the newspaper to 52 pages so that we can service all of you and your events & exhibits with our multiple calendar listings and the feature stories that you asked for at the focus sessions. (We have not been able to get the necessary advertising support of the non-arts business community in any of the three counties we cover which would have automatically enabled us to expand.)

We at CANVAS believe we know how you can help. We need to know how you think WE at CANVAS should proceed.

We are holding a Focus group on Tuesday, September 26 at 2:00 pm at the Orange County Citizens Foundation on White Oak Drive in Sugar Loaf. We hope you can attend and participate.

If you respond to me at that you can attend, I will forward you a short list of items to be discussed.

If you cannot attend, please do email me at to let me know. I wish to then forward you a short survey to respond to and email back to me.

Thank you.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Gratification through Intimidation?

Ripples from the controversy of Elia Gurna's Windows on Main St project continued this past week. After being removed from the library, the piece was moved to the window of Go North Gallery to complete the run of the exhibition. Below I'm posting statements from Go North co-directors, Karlos Carcamo and Greg Slick detailing a threat by some bigoted individuals to carry out an act of vandalism that was discovered subsequent to the removal of the artwork.


Dear Friends:

The recent controversy over Elia Gurna’s flag, “I Hear America Singing,” and its display in the window of the Howland Public Library in Beacon brings to the fore some profoundly disturbing issues. Not only did the controversy result in the removal of the flag from the library, but transformed this unthreatening artwork into an object of scorn that some would have banned from any kind of public view. Opinions have been heatedly expressed on both sides of the issue and, certainly, these points have been well taken. But, just as personal opinions enjoy the freedom of a public forum in this country, so do art and its open discourse with the general public.

Some Beaconites, however, apparently do not share that view, and suggest through their actions that any artwork that does not align with their personal opinions must be removed from their sight, and from that of those who may potentially take issue with that artwork. What’s more, several locals, I am shocked and ashamed to report, would take illegal action against those who display art that is not to their liking. It has come to my attention that certain unnamed individuals had been allegedly conspiring to smash the windows of Go North gallery on Main Street in Beacon, where the flag in question was briefly displayed as part of the Windows on Main Street project. The flag has now been taken down, so the object of scorn is out of sight. But one has to wonder whether these individuals even took the trouble to find out what Elia Gurna’s flag is all about. It was called a desecration of our national flag by some, an insult to patriotic Americans by others—yet the meaning of Ms. Gurna’s flag has always been clear. The artist’s statement has been accessible to the public all along, and mentions nothing about desecration of any flag, US or otherwise. It does, however, talk about very patriotic things like hope, growth, and the beauty of honest labor. How did Ms. Gurna’s flag become so monstrously misunderstood?

Lots of miscommunication and muddled thinking has led to the demonization of a piece of art that never intended to offend anyone. Certain famous artworks have gotten a bad rap, mainly due to narrow-mindedness, media spin, and political machinations; some art cannot help but provoke controversy. And so what? What’s so terrible about a work that stirs your blood, makes you think, leads to discussion, and perhaps broadens your horizons? Last time I checked, we still live in a country where the display of art and the discourse it engenders can freely take place. Our laws guarantee it, because many brave people took risks and made sacrifices for that right. To silence even one individual, in this case an artist and her work, is to set a very menacing precedent. Censorship puts a headlock on freedom because it lets a few individuals think for the rest of us. Beacon is better than that—far better—as demonstrated by its remarkable renaissance, integrally supported by the arts. Let no one or nothing here be bullied, including the arts. Do not allow censorship in Beacon—it’s un-American.


Gregory L. Slick


Go North gallery

Dear friends and fellow artists,

This should be of concern to all of us as residents of Beacon and citizens of this country. As many of you are aware there was controversy about an artwork that hung at the Howland Public Library as part of the "Windows on Main Street" event this past month. The piece in question was Elia Gurna's "I hear America Singing" A piece based on and inspired by Walt Witman's poem of the same title. The piece in question was a replica of an American Flag made of translucent vinyl using pink and green colors. It was accompanied by a CD player with a recording of Walt Witman's poem.

The veterans in Beacon protested the piece, demanding that it be taken down. In their view it was "un-American" and "disrespectful" to those who fought and died for the values the flag represents and a slap to the face of every veteran. According to the veterans the intention of the piece does not matter. No one has the right to alter the flag in any way shape or form because it is a national sacred symbol. Elia's piece is homage to Walt Whitman and to America's working class. I've attached Elia's Statement for all to read. In any case, the Howland Public Library voted to remove the piece before the end of the Windows event.

That same day we decided to install the piece at Go North Gallery so that it could finish the run of the Windows on Main Street exhibition. While the piece was on view at the gallery individuals have routinely walked by making gestures and hurling insults. Now, it has come to my attention that certain unnamed individuals were planning on "smashing" the window of Go North Gallery and ripping Elia's piece to pieces. Also, there have been inquires into my own ethnicity by unnamed individuals wondering if I was of Middle Eastern descent. It angers me that these thugs have the nerve to say that they believe in the very values the flag symbolizes yet they go against the same rights the flag represents. They practice the same tactics that dictators in all repressive regimes use which are, violence, intimidation, racism and censorship.

They continue to use the word "Freedom" back and forth in the Beacon Free Press yet they deny an artist the freedom of self expression protected by the constitution which they all fought for. They claim ownership over a flag that does not belong to them but to every single individual citizen of this country. I refuse to stand by silent while they continue their crusade against our right as free citizens to voice our opinions and to watch the values we hold dear erode because of ignorance. Greg and I are starting a writing campaign to get the word out on what is happening in the community. So far the only voice I have heard in the press in Beacon is that of the veterans. We as a growing art community need to rally together and show them that there are other voices.

I hope you can join me in writing letters to the Beacon Free Press, Beacon Dispatch, and Poughkeepsie Journal, and any other news organization we can think of. I also want to send letters to the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Veterans of foreign wars, Beacon City Hall, and Howland Public Library. You can get the address for these organizations from website. I will be sending another e-mail to anyone interested with a page from the Constitution that spells out what our rights are. You will be able to download this so that it can be printed out. Please mail five copies of this page to the American Legion as a reminder to the veterans of what our rights as free citizens are.

Anyone interested in brainstorming ideas for other ways of getting our voice heard please contact me. We are also planning a couple of other T-shirt projects. One is "No Censorship in Beacon". We want to get the point across to the veterans and the community that there are other more important issues affecting Beacon. If the veterans need to be angry about something, it should be the drugs that are being sold right outside their own doorstep. They shouldn't be threatening our individual freedoms and decide for us what we should say, think, or believe in. We live in a democracy not a dictatorship.

Best regards to all,
-Karlos Carcamo
Go North Gallery - A Space for Contemporary Art

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Warhol documentary on PBS

Ric Burns' American Masters documentary on Andy Warhol debuts tonight on PBS...actually it's on as I'm writing this. The documentary is in two parts. Click here for information on other viewing times for WNET 13.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Weekend recap

We attended the member's reception for the opening of Sol Lewitt's "Drawing Series...." on sat..and it was again a pleasure to see this work. The last post I wrote regarding the series of peices was based on my recollection of a few days ago, and upon seeing the work a second time, I'm really taken by the collection of pieces. There are 14 pieces on exhibit, not 9 as I had estimated earlier. Specifics on the installation can be found at . Also opening this weekend at Dia is a series of photographs called Trap Rock by An-My Le.

From Dia, we stopped off to visit Richard Bruce's opening at The Beacon Institute.

Our last stop saturday was Go North for the 100 Live 100 Work exhibit. It's a tiny joint with lots of people and lots of tiny artwork. The photos are from the gathering at Go North. The evening was enjoyable and full, but without the general "performance night" frenzy of a Second .

Postcard sized work at Go North.

Elia Gurna's "I Hear America Singing" found a home at Go North to complete the duration of the Windows on Main St project after the Library Board voted for its removal from the library.

On Sunday, I ran to the opening reception for the exhibit curated by Daniel Fuller "Only the Paranoid Survive." The Peekskill Project opened this weekend and there's a lot to take in.
If you're heading to Peekskill in the near future, here are some upcoming P.P. events:

Saturday, Sept. 23, noon: A meditation mediation event at RiverFront Green.
Sunday, Oct. 1, 4pm: Roundtable discussion, "Here, There, Everywhere: Peekskill Project 2004-2006." A discussion with participating artists looking back at past and current Peekskill Projects moderated by Ingrid Chu. Reception to follow.

Saturday, Oct 7:
1pm: Shaun El C. Leonardo "Self Portrait Icon: Retrato Iconico Individual" Starting at Riverfront Green and ending at HVCCA.
12-4pm: Elsie Green gives a presentation and workshop on making Zines at HVCCA.
Event info will be updated at the HVCCA website this week.

Friday, September 15, 2006

This Saturday

There are two openings happening in Beacon on Main St. tomorrow night:

Richard Bruce's exhibit, "Wetlands and Bodies of Water" is opening at the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries at 199 Main with a reception from 5-7 pm.

Go North's grand opening is happening from 6-9pm with a reception for its "100 Live, 100 Works" show. All of the 4x6" sized artwork is priced at $40 - a great opportunity to pick up a little something for not a whole lot of something.

Who was that headless man?

That's the question on everybody's lips this week.
Alright, maybe not.
Tony Moore is sizing up Harald Plochberger's choice of material at the opening of bau 21.
photo by Harald Plochberger.

The photo above comes from bau's website, and was taken by Harald Plochberger at the opening of his bau 21 show. I missed the spectacle because I was in Miami - honest. I'm just wondering who Harald could have gotten to play this crucial role for his opening. Simon Draper claims he was elsewhere that evening, and can provide witnesses to corroborate - we're looking into his story. On the other hand, I don't know if it has any significance, but I don't see Gary Jacketti mingling in any of the photos... You don't suppose?
If you have any you have any thoughts on who the mystery man might be, place your vote here.

Sol Lewitt Drawing Series... Opens

This Summer was bookended with holiday weekend visits to Dia:Beacon. On Labor Day, MeineFotoFrau and I enjoyed a picnic on the grounds of the museum. We were given a sneak peek at the recently completed Sol Lewitt Drawing Series... installation that officially opens this weekend. I was immediately struck by the extensiveness of the installation. Off hand, I'd estimate there to be about nine different pieces within a cluster of a handful of galleries.
Several pieces are more lyrical, and gestural than I would have expected, some pieces allowing for a fair amount of freehand drawing. There are two additional versions of the already installed series of squares with lines drawn in four directions, the two new installments being in color. The introduction of the restricted palette transformed these two pieces from drawings on the walls into subtle ghosts of frescoes that rest within the surface of the wall.
The one piece that felt jarring to me and I liked the least is one that depicts a series of thickly drawn arcs and straight lines. The breadth of the lines and their arrangement gave the sense of wallpaper, reminiscent of the Dia's Andy exhibit of last year and feels more like a moment of transition - and eye cleansing between two large sections of more delicate pieces.
I generally on cool burn when it comes to Sol Lewitt, but this is an installation that is full of grace, and surpise, and one that can be returned to many times, revealing something new with each visit.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Peekskill Project opening weekend.

The third Peekskill Project opens this weekend with citywide site specific installations and performances by over 100 artists from all over locally, regionally and interationally. I don't have details on specific events, but the schedule does include items through 9pm on Saturday at the waterfront. Information can be found at the waterfront, at HVCCA and at the gazebo on Division St. The Peekskill project will run through October 7. Any information on related programs and talks will be posted here as it becomes available.

HVCCA will also be hosting an opening reception on Sunday from 5-7pm for "Only the Paranoid Survive," an exhibit of new media work curated by Daniel Fuller.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A remembrance

On Sunday, Sept. 10, an item written by artist and Beacon resident, Sharon Watts, was published in The Patriot News, a newspaper in Pennsylvania where Watts is from. Sharon's piece a 9/11 remembrance and tribute to her friend, Captain Patrick J. Brown of the FDNY. Watts has written a book about Brown, with whom she was once engaged, and is in the process of showing it to publishers. Here is a link to her piece.

Friday, September 08, 2006

September 9 - 2nd Saturday in Beacon

Second Saturday will be here tomorrow. I've been frantic with my schedule, and various issues that have popped up this week, so I know I won't be covering far.

First of all, the Beacon Art Supply will be holding a HUGE sidewalk sale starting at 11 am and going all day. It seems there was a leak in the store, and some merchandise was damaged. Savings should prove to be HUGE HUGE HUGE.

For a complete listing of what's happeSecond Saturday will be here tomorrow. I've been frantic with my schedule, and various issues that have popped up this week, so I know I won't be covering far.

First of all, the Beacon Art Supply will be holding a HUGE sidewalk sale starting at 11 am and going all day. It seems there was a leak in the store, and some merchandise was damaged. Savings should prove to be HUGE HUGE HUGE.

For a complete listing of what's happening this 2nd Saturday, visit BACA's website, There's a link in the sidebar. I'm just not sure exactly what's happening
I do know what's not happening - Spire Studio's Quarterly Open Studio! For the 2nd quarter this year, there will be no open studio bender at Spire. The excuse for June was that many people were so busy with other projects, there was little energy or time to put together a shindig. The reason for the no go this month is that many of the studio artists themselves will be no shows. I cannot speak to everyone's whereabouts on Sept 9, but I do know that:

Kathy Feighery will be at the opening of her recent work at Van Brunt Gallery. Also showing, are Susan English and Jane Bloodgood Abrams.

Angelika Rinnhofer will be in Miami,at the opening of her exhibit "Seelensucht" at the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery.

Todd Spire will have his face buried in the latest issue of "Modern Bride" planning his dream wedding.

Alexis Elton will be at bau where she will have an installation in the back room.

and Chris Albert will be with Angelika Rinnhofer.

Stay tuned though, We'll have two open studios' worth of pent up energy when the December 2nd Saturday rolls around.

Finally, This Second Saturday is the last chance to see the Windows on Main St. project. If you've read the last two posts in this blog, you know that the library is asking that Elia Gurna's piece be removed from the window prior to the completion of the exhibit. The artwork will be taken down sometime Friday, Sept 8, but it will finish out the term of the exhibit installed in the window of GO NORTH at 469 Main St. Elia's piece should be installed at GO NORTH by early Saturday.

I have to go pack a bag. If anyone has images of Saturday's events, email me at I'll let you know the best way to get them to me so I can post them.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

and bits

Via today's POJO:
Vassar College will be screening films of Rudy Burkhardt from 7-9pm, Sept 8 in Taylor Hall.
There will also be a talk given on Tuesday at 12:30 in the Francis Lehman Loeb Artcenter's Prints and Drawings galleries by Stephen Koch, executor of the Peter Hujar Archive.

I can no longer find the page on the website, but yesterday's POJO mentioned that Poughkeepsie artist, and bau member, Frank Palia is hosting a local television show devoted to art and artists in a multiplicity of disciplines. The show airs on Thursdays, but I believe it's on Time Warner Cable, so we don't get it in Beacon.

Howland Library Board votes to remove artwork

Tuesday night, I attended the public comment period of the monthly Library Board meeting at the Howland Public Library. Approximately 10 men and woman opposing the display of Elia Gurna's piece, "I hear America Singing" in the window of the library also attended the meeting. Those opposed to the installed artwork who spoke at the meeting each used their allotted five minutes to relate their anguish, and deep sense offense taken by seeing what they percieve to be a desecration of a hallowed emblem. The general thrust of the statements was that the alteration of the flag's symbolic coloration is an affront to the memory of the men and women who have served and sacrificed their lives for this country and its flag, and the display of such in a public institution adds to the insult, and at least one person stated that if its presence in the library continued, their support for the library would not. BACA President, Sara Pasti and I spoke for the other side in this issue. As Elia Gurna was away and not able to attend. I read aloud her statement on the piece, and sought to convey the sense that the piece is a desecration in neither intent nor execution. The artwork is the expression of a personal relationship with a symbol that, although singular in its identity, constitutes an amalgamation of individual meanings for the citizens of a pluralistic nation of 200 million people, and I find this element of the individual's expression of his and her own "Americanness" to be a prime element in the Whitman poem on which the artwork is based.

I received a call from Sara Pasti on Wedsnesday informing me that the Library Board voted - unanimously - to have the flag remove by this coming Friday. Up to this point, I think the library has handled the controversy well, and has supported the principle behind displaying the artwork. The Windows on Main St. project relies on the hospitality of local businesses and institutions to host the installations created by the participating artists, and if an establishment chooses for some reason to have the artwork removed, we as organizers, and our sponsor, BACA accept that as an establishment's perogative, and we will honor such wishes if they occur. We are grateful to all of our participating businesses. The library in particular has been very enthusiastic in both this and last year's project, and has expressed interest in participating next year, and we welcome them. I am disappointed by the decision, and I figure it's a way for the library to save face in a way that, while the removal of the piece will occur just a couple of days short of the full term of the exhibit which is scheduled to end on Sept. 10, it should placate a very vocal demographic.

I honor the opinions of those who have voiced opposition to this artwork, but I certainly disagree with their position. This particular instance is a specific flash point of debate, but it speaks to a current of underlying issues that have formed with the influx of new residents to Beacon, and the changes it affects. I think moments like this can bring these issues to the front, potentially bearing positive results ...or they can go the other way. I'll hope for the former, not the latter.

On my way home Wednesday night, I saw that an actual American flag had been placed in the window, hanging in the same manner as Elia's piece, just a little smaller. I'm not sure what to think of it, except that with the opportunity to compare/contrast the two emblems in question, I feel it further illustrates the distinction between the actual item and the actualization of a poetic concept. I think this "side by side" setup inadvertantly serves to demonstrate the true and significant distance between Elia's artistic exploration, and a desecration of the nation's flag.

I expect there will be more comments on this topic, and I'll pass them along as I recieve them.

The text of "I hear America Singing" by Walt Whitman:

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;

Those of mechanics—each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;

The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat—the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench—the hatter singing as he stands;

The wood-cutter’s song—the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;

The delicious singing of the mother—or of the young wife at work—or of the girl sewing or washing—Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;

The day what belongs to the day—At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

WOMS Flag controversy at Howland Public Library

There have been some complaints lodged at the Howland Public Library, and at least one letter to the editor of the Beacon Free Press (which can be seen in this week's issue) critical of the Windows on Main St installation of Elia Gurna in the window of the Library.
The installation consists of a replica of the American flag created by Gurna using translucent tinted vinyl, and a cd recording featuring a sound piece created by Gurna's collaboration project, einLab, that recites the Walt Whitman poem "I hear America Singing." Elia's piece share's the same title of the poem, and stands as a visual interpretation of the poem.
I understand the objections that have been raised stem from the offense some have taken with with the alteration of a sanctified symbol.
Below, I've posted Elia's statement on the piece. As an organizer of the WOMS project, I'll simply say for the moment, that it seems to me the intent and of the piece actually shares much of the sentiment behind the reasoning of those who object to the piece, and the divide rests within the nuances of "art" and not of message. I'm sure I'll have more to say soon, and I hope to be able to post some contrary opinions on the issue as well.

Elia Gurna

I hear America singing

A Piece based on and inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem of the same title

I chose to make a piece at the library because it is a public institution dedicated to the betterment of its community and because literature often inspires my work. I believe that all art, like literature, should be for everyone, not just the people that can afford to pay for it.

I hear America singing is an idealistic piece about hope in America for America. I chose Walt Whitman’s poem because it is homage to the working class. To me it serves as a reminder to preserve the public good (like the library!), at a time when the notion of the public good is being redefined by corporate and consumer interests. The piece is also about imagining and remembering an idealism that to me is specifically American – it calls to mind a vision of productivity and hard work towards a common constructive goal.

I chose to make a pink and green replica of the flag to accompany my recording and musical adaptation of the poem, because I mourn the America that Walt Whitman describes – that idealistic America with its belief in hard work towards a public good, and because I wanted to reimagine the flag. The traditional red white and blue is probably the most abused emblem that exists. It adorns chewing gum packets and signs announcing sales for corporate chain stores. It is my view that it has become a symbol used to promote unchecked capitalism and imperialist war.

I chose pink and green because they are lively colors of growth. I made the flag out of vinyl so that it would not block the light to the reference room and because I wanted passers by to see themselves reflected in it, to be a part of the piece and to consider the meaning of this emblem that is all over Main Street.

Sewing this flag is my gesture of hope, reminding myself that the first flag was sewn (by a woman!) as the symbol for a revolution from oppressive conditions, and that Walt Whitman’s (and in turn my own) idealism and love for the country should not be considered cynically or nostalgically, but are useful and most necessary today.

August 2006

The Library Board will be meeting tonight, at 7 pm. There will be a period for public comment, and if anyone wishes to share their thoughts on the piece, they are invited to do so. I will be attending the meeting tonight as will, my co-organizer, Karlos Carcamo.

Recap of the Howland Library Board meeting and text of the Whitman poem on which the piece is based.

Comments from Go North co-directors Karlos Carcamo and Gregory Slick.