Think Meat Joy; Fuses; Up to and Including Her Limits (where she drew while suspended over paper in rope and harness, nude); and Interior Scroll, in which she read from a written tract on cloth that she uncoiled from her vagina. As well as the recent retrospective of her work at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.
Over the years, Schneemann befriended and stayed close with many of the major figures of contemporary art, from Rauschenberg and Oldenberg to Ana Mendiota and Hannah Wilke. But she lived and worked outside of New Paltz, using Trailways as her weekly office between performance and installation spaces in the city, and her base up here. Which meant that she wrote, and received, a host of letters.
This correspondence has now been published for the first time, providing a personalized inner-glimpse history of the international avant-garde over the past half century. And Schneemann will be reading from this work, Correspondence Course: An Epistolary History of Carolee Schneemann and Her Circle, at the Woodstock Library Forum at the Library, Saturday, July 23, starting at 5 p.m.
“I’m from the country but I’m more comfortable in the city,” she explained of the dichotomy hidden behind her work, and spurring on these decades of correspondence, in a recent interview about what pushed her idea of an edge beyond anything else created by her peers over a 50 year career. “I ended up missing much in New York because I just had to get home by the last bus out of Port Authority…I took to calling my experience traveling ‘suspended time.’”
This is an important talk by a key, and continuously controversial artist whose painting, photography, film, video, performance art, and installation works have not only been shown at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the National Film Theatre (London), and Anthology Film Archives, but whose whole career has become both a legend and beacon in contemporary art, worldwide.++
For further information on this event, at the Woodstock Library located at Tinker Street and Library Lane, call 679-2213 or visit www.woodstock.org.
...Mosquitoes and the Deluge
Shalom Gorewitz: may I offer you apologies, for not having realized the intense beauty of your stunning digitalized video work over the years, and since your move to the Catskills. I’ve known about your showings here and there around the area, and run images and captions whenever I could. What you do is striking when it is quieted into a still image.
But now I’ve just spent a couple of days exploring what you do online…and I’m hooked.
For everyone else out there: Gorewitz, whose long career has stretched from the creation of an epochally psychedelic (and subtly politicized) Jimi Hendrix sign-off for the old USA Network back in the early 1980s through Guggenheim and Fulbright Foundation grants to a long-held teaching position at Ramapo College, plus scholarly works throughout the best of the avant garde video publishing world, will be screening his latest digital film at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23at the Varga Gallery in Woodstock. I’ve been watching rough footage for this timely tome on YouTube, and can’t wait to see how the master manipulates what he shot during recent trips to Africa to draw out the emotional resonance of mosquito science (and politics), and sear this area of study into new heads.
Just as he’s done for water pollution, via Hot Stains, and the clutter of our television viewing habits (and overall visual street culture these days) in such trippy works as ExVideo, Open and Chocolate and Pretzels.
A Jew in Kumasi: Hebrew, Mosquitoes, and the Deluge is a whopping 18 minutes long, epic in terms of Gorewitz’s image-dense motif, and includes a host of great African music as the story and studies of Dr. Kofi Owusu-Daaku, a biologist studying mosquitoes, is presented. The result of a month-long residency funded by the Fulbright Foundation at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, the work is intended to provide a “field lecture” about mosquitoes in relationship with a “visually lyrical layer” added by Gorewitz via short, recurrent gestures and a growing deluge of “metaphysical electric data” comparable to speaking in tongues…all in the services of “a new way of looking at the border of interspecies struggle.”
“Everything in my artwork is real, but none of it is true…What might appear as confusion or ambiguity is carefully planned but not logical. I’m the interface between machines, the analog puppet with a digital master, pre-robotic prototype artist for the post-human era. I tickle the potentiometer and colors emerge; I pull a plug and rest,” Gorewitz has written of his unique aesthetics. “Oh, yes, this is Kabalistic, see how all of the energy flows through these morphs and transformations. Vaguely Jewish symbols and alpha wave music. Can you see how this might be healing? Think about having it on your wall to catch new details. Think about telling your friends the story I told you.”
Less obliquely, the works have a career video artist’s innate sense of movement and color, rhythm and effect, at play…usually with a pitch-perfect sense of odd musical accompaniment, to boot. Sure, such stuff is not everyone’s lemonade, but for those with an appreciation for the field of visual poetry in motion, and the vast amounts of expression to be found in the large plain between news and poetry, politics and the underlying phenomena of everyday life, this guy’s work is sublime.
Following this weekend’s special screening, at which Dr. Owusu-Daaku will be present to answer questions (along with Shalom Gorewitz), the video be available for streaming and sale on Amazon through the Tribeca Film Institute’s ReFrame program.
Again, the screening and discussion of A Jew in Kumasi: Hebrew, Mosquitoes, and the Deluge will be taking place at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23 at Varga Gallery, 130 Tinker Street in Woodstock, next to the cinema.++
For further information call 679-4005 of visit www,vargagallery.com.
Humphrey At WAAM
It’s about time Beth Humphrey got her own solo show at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum, where she’s been introducing several new generations of young people to the wonders of art as Education Curator for years. Expect large crowds of kids and the cream of the local arts community when it opens, alongside a host of other juried shows, at the WAAM galleries this Saturday afternoon, June 23.
Humphrey helped get Saugerties’ visionary Art Lab project for kids underway, and has been involved in a number of key art venues around the area over the years. In 2009, she was awarded a spot in the New York Foundation for the Arts’ coveted MARK program, which helps artists develop their market skills, and hone the originality of their work with the greater art world in mind.
Humphrey’s art is rooted in botany, the study of plant life, and how things grow towards the light or react to the dark. It incorporates a child-like sense of wonder in its use of fragile elements — notebook paper, watercolor, and doodle-like lines. And yet its overriding sense of composition and self-awareness is stunningly mature and sophisticated.
For this solo exhibit, her third (but first in a major space), Humphrey has created a new series of casein and acrylic works she’s calling Burst…descriptively, the term captures the sense of movement beyond her plant works of recent years into something almost nuclear, relationship-oriented, other-worldly.
You can feel a deep heritage of art, its endless opportunities and closed world of legacies and schools, in everything Humphrey does. Which has fueled so much of WAAM’s role in the greater community, through her educational efforts. And now comes to light in this bright, deeply beautiful, and well-conceived show.
Humphrey will give a talk about her work at 2 p.m. on Sunday July 24 in the gallery space showing her works.
Meanwhile, in those other galleries at WAAM, the key this month may be the curatorial visions on view. The July Group Show, which we have yet to see, has been juried by Amy Lipton, co-director of ecoartspace, one of the leading international organizations developing creative and innovative strategies to address global environmental issues…and a survivor of the 1990s New York Art scene, where she ran a key gallery for years, as well as Columbia County’s Art Omi, whose Fields she served as director for two ambitious years.
“Previously held notions of nature vs. culture have changed for the 21st century and it is increasingly clear that all of life is one interconnected and interdependent system,” Lipton has written of the concerns, and new aesthetic, that she’s been promoting through a series of curated exhibits around the country, including last year’s “Body Line Motion” at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, and the current “Beyond the Horizon” at Deutsch Bank in New York. “Using realism, fantasy or process as a source for imagination and transformation, (these new artists) seek to create an awareness of loss and beauty in the marginal, the overused and the threatened.”
We’re intrigued to see how this sensibility mashes up with the realities of WAAM membership and local submissions.
Also jurying this month is longstanding SUNY New Paltz painting teacher Thomas Sarrantonio, a true master in his own revisionist landscape works, who’ll be picking a selection of small works for downstairs…along with Humphrey’s curation of her own students’ Talking Houses Project, which has been run in conjunction with the Woodstock Historical Society.
In the Towbin Museum Wing of WAAM, Peggy Bacon: Cats and Caricatures, curated by Tom Wolf of Bard College, continues.
The opening for all these shows runs from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, July 23 at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum galleries, 28 Tinker Street, Woodstock. For further information, call 679-2940 or visit www.woodstockart.org.
And let’s all start hoping that before long, WAAM Executive Director Josephine Bloodgood also finds it fine to show her own great works.++