"Carolee Schneemann has produced an extensive body of artwork that investigates the connections between the activities of the mind and those of the body," Dorsky Museum curator Brian Wallace, the force behind this major show up into the summer, said of this long-awaited tribute comprised of more than 75 works. "Her research takes the form of writings, performances, films and videos, objects, installations, images and hybrids thereof, accomplished within and beyond the premises in which she has lived and worked."
We will write more of Schneemann's work and this show, with insights from the artist herself, in the coming months. The ones that have our attention for now are a new take on the Dorsky's permanent collection, "Body, Line, Motion," put together by the fabulously astute independent curator, scholar and Ecoartspaceny director Amy Lipton, who formerly ran the Fields at Art Omi, among other prominent gigs; as well as another chance to take a look at the supremely effective works of Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and current SUNY-New Paltz visiting professor Renée C. Byer, originally from Rosendale.
Lipton says that her reinterpretation of the Dorsky collections, including works depicting human and animal forms that emphasize movement, dance and ritualistic activity, was designed to give a broad context to the concurrent Schneemann exhibition by providing an introduction to the broad geographical, temporal and stylistic range of this diverse collection, and the artistic traditions that the contemporary art has spent a lifetime playing off. Archetypal imagery, radical self-expression and the presence of art history in recent and contemporary art are themes exemplified by such exhibit highlights as an Egyptian bronze cat, a pre-Columbian terra cotta jaguar relief, a standing female figure from the ancient Near East and 20th-century works on paper by Alberto Giacometti, Lee Krasner and Robert Rauschenberg. As a part of this exhibition, Lipton will offer a free gallery talk at 3 p.m. on February 27.
Byer, who attended Ulster County Community College and now works for the Sacramento Bee, will show her prizewinning 2005 depiction of a mother's challenges facing her young son's battle with a rare form of cancer, along with more recent works. Given that the galleries have been closed for vacation for a month, this is quite the way to start things rolling again and give us all a wealth of material to keep coming back to through the coming months.
We'll be back to you with Schneemann, in all her wild and deeply thought-out exuberance and effect, in a few weeks. See you Friday at the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. For further information, including directions and full museum hours, call (845) 257-3844 or visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum.