Kaatsbaan Teases Spring Season Highlights
The 153-acre Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in Tivoli will kick off its outdoor spring festival in May. The more than 20 presentations scheduled to hit Kaatsbaan's two outdoor stages include performances by the American Ballet Theatre, the Mark Morris Dance Group, Yannick Lebrun from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Maria Kowroski, Ask la Cour, and Gonzalo Garcia from the New York City Ballet; pianist Hunter Noack, punk legend Patti Smith; and many more. The multi-disciplinary festival will also feature dance performances, concerts, and panel discussions with poets, authors, and world-renowned culinary artists.
Gospel Music History Series Goes LiveThe Hudson Valley Gospel Festival Committee recently began streaming a monthly series of Zoom presentations about the long, rich history of gospel music in the region. Presented by the Arts Mid-Hudson Folk Arts Program, the series celebrates the music's local traditions and such artists as Marva Clark, Gretchen Reed, and Toni Graham. Among the internationally famous gospel performers to have graced the stages in the area is Mahalia Jackson, whose performance and legacy will be featured in March. The series is free, but viewers must sign up via the festival's Facebook page to receive a Zoom link to watch episodes.
Woodstock 50 Wins Damage Settlement
Billboard magazine has announced that Woodstock 50 festival promoter Michael Lang's organization has won a lawsuit against its former backer, the Dentsu company. The Japanese-owned advertising firm had pledged $49 million through its Amplfi subsidiary to stage the event but later withdrew the funding and, according to Lang, spread misinformation to prevent his Woodstock Ventures group from holding the anniversary festival at a different site (the planned summer 2019 festival was originally set to take place at Watkins Glen International racetrack before being re-sited to Maryland's Merriwether Post Pavilion and ultimately cancelled when wary artists began leaving the lineup). With the matter decided by an arbitrations panel in October, Billboard reports that "Dentsu has agreed to pay an undisclosed settlement sum covering damages but not unrealized profits that will wrap the nearly two-year old legal drama."
Second Upstate Art Weekend Set for August
In the October 2020 debut of this column, we covered the introduction of Upstate Art Weekend, a two-day festival exploring the visual arts around the Hudson Valley region. Started by Helen Toomer of Marbletown's Stoneleaf Retreat art center, the expanded event will make its return August 27-29. "Our goal is to highlight the cultural vibrancy of Upstate New York and connect people and places, building a community that not only visits for the weekend, but returns throughout the year," says Toomer. "Community, collaboration, art and the outdoors are essential to our well-being and Upstate Art Weekend is a combination of all of these."
Safe, self-directed, and accessible, the happening is designed to connect art lovers with art and the outdoors. Last year's launch included more than 20 participating art centers, galleries, museums, pop-up exhibits, and other venues, among them such favored facilities as Storm King Art Center, Maggazino, Art Omi, Mother Gallery, and Elijah Wheat Showroom. Upstate Art Weekend is accepting applications for 2021 participant sites through March 30.
Dorsky Museum Appoints New Director
Last month, SUNY New Paltz announced the appointment of Anna Conlan as the Neil C. Trager Director of the college's Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Conlan takes over from Wayne Lempka, who served as interim director since 2019, and Sara Pasti, who was director from 2009 through 2019. The museum's curator and exhibitions manager since 2019, Conlan holds master's degrees in museum anthropology, feminism, and the visual arts and brings nearly two decades of art museum experience to the position. Conlan has been key to the Dorsky's adapting to the pandemic, notably as the curator of "Stay Home, Make Art," an online exhibition that drew hundreds of submissions from established and up-and-coming artists throughout the region.
Aldrich Museum Launches Art-Loaning Program
Now here's an interesting way of enabling art lovers to get around the coronavirus obstacle. Ridgefield, Connecticut's Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum recently announced the launch of Aldrich Care Box, a year-long project that has commissioned artists Ilana Harris-Babou, Clarity Haynes, Athena LaTocha, Curtis Talwst Santiago, and James Allister Sprang to create a series of objects that examine themes of care, grief, intimacy, and healing using various materials, methods, and aesthetic approaches. Their works have been packed into boxes that can be signed out to individuals—like library books—who can borrow them to enjoy their contents at home for up to one week.
Sky Lake Series Has Music, Theater, Art
Rosendale meditation, arts, and community center the Sky Lake Shambala Meditation and Retreat Center is sponsoring Dharma: Art and the Artist, a series of "live personal explorations including commentary, video, and performance—all investigating the mark of dharma as it mingles with the artistic process." The events will begin on March 2 with "The Universe Hangs on Sound" with master flutist Steve Gorn. Subsequent installments include "Transmission of Presence," a theatrical performance by Joanna Rotte (April 6); "Following the Brush the World is Revealed," a calligraphy program by Barbara Bash (May 4); and "The Artist in the Studio," a painting presentation by Daniel Berlin (June 1).
Fisher Center Announces 2021 Season
Last month, Bard College's Richard B. Fisher Center began presenting a top-flight 2021 performance season of music, dance, theater, and art by way of Upstreaming, the center's new virtual stage. Alongside "The Future is Present," an ongoing theater and performance exhibition, the center has on offer this month a run of intriguing concert events: Andres Rivas conducting The Orchestra Now (March 7), the Bard College Conservatory Orchestra (March 13), Zachary Schwartzman conducting The Orchestra Now (March 20), and Bard College President and conducting The Orchestra Now music director Leon Botstein conducting The Orchestra Now (April 10, May 1). Through March 21, Upstreaming is hosting As Far as Isolation Goes (online), a collaborative project by live artist Tania El Khoury and musician and street artist Basel Zaraa that utilizes touch, sound, and other means to connect audience members with the difficult experiences of refugees.
Kinderhook Board Supports Nick Cave Art Installation
Last month, after a protracted court saga, the Kinderhook zoning board ruled that artist Nick Cave's installation Truth Be Told, which was displayed on the façade of The School (a gallery run by Jack Shainman), is a work of art and not a sign. Last fall, Peter Bujanow, the town's code enforcement officer, had demanded that the text-based, 25-foot-by160-foot work, described by the artist as a commentary on the murder of George Floyd, be removed, seeking to impose a $200 fine for each day it remained up. This prompted the issue to be brought before Kinderhook Mayor Dale Leiser and other village leaders, who also moved that it be taken down. But during the litigation, over 3,300 people signed a petition in support of Cave's work. On February 2, the town board unanimously voted in support of a new resolution stating that Cave's piece was "displayed as a political message and art for a temporary period of time and therefore Kinderhook Village Code does not apply to regulate the exhibit as a sign." Cave's piece will be exhibited on the plaza of the Brooklyn Museum beginning in May.