Krauss calls his three-dimensional works in both fields, “photo-sculptures,” utilizing cardboard models, real-life natural environments, and the shiny, reflective surfaces the artist has been known for since his first breakthrough into the middle levels of art fame 40 years ago.
Curated by Carl Van Brunt of the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, and his own Beacon-based gallery, the works in this intimate gallery show play up the painterly and detail-oriented aspects of Krauss’ work…as well as the manner in which his 60s/70s aesthetic is now starting to jibe with the high concept and hyper-ironies of the contemporary art scene.
“My series of pyramidal structures are intrinsically related to the architectural environment. They feature triangular and circular geometric forms,” Krauss, a longtime Woodstock resident, said of one element of his work on view in this new show, at the time of a Rhinebeck opening last summer. “By incorporating mirrored surfaces, the shapes of these forms are at once solid and transitory as they reflect the changing light patterns and abstract glimpses of urban and rural landscapes. My pyramid form has a large base that is grounded on earth, with the point ascending toward the heavens, ‘Documenting the nature of existence through the silence of reflective timeless shapes, is passage to the eternal.’”
Krauss has shown worldwide over his long career, and was the subject of a Woodstock Times story this past spring focused on the survival of a large sculpture installation on a college campus in Japan not far from the epicenter of the recent earthquakes there.
“The very personalized use of geometric forms, especially diagonal elements, create exciting kinetic illusions,” he has added, about his vision, and the effects he’s after in his works, large and small. “One of the most prominent aspects of my work is the use of highly reflective surfaces which involve ambient motion. The viewer becomes an integral part of the sculpture…” ++
An Opening Reception for Anthony Krauss: Wall Sculptures and Photo-Sculptures, curated by Carl Van Brunt, takes place on Saturday, August 27, from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. The exhibit then stays up through September 25, with gallery hours on weekends or by appointment.
Thaddeus Kwiat Projects is located at 1536 Route 212. For further information call 917-456-7496 or visit www.thaddeuskwiat.com.
No such thing as silence
Forget all the roaring adrenalin and testosterone associated with rock music over the years; Woodstock’s single most controversial performance, the premier of John Cage’s famous composition 4’33” as part of a benefit program put on by the Woodstock Artists Association at the Maverick Concert Hall on the evening of August 29, 1952, was a quiet affair. Wherein lay the foundations of its legacy, and continuing relevancy…including the reasoning behind its performance at WAAM at 7 p.m. Monday, August 29.
4’33”, first performed by David Tudor on a program of piano works before an audience of the town’s culturati, is silent. At least in terms of its piano playing. It involves three movements, all performed within the time span referenced by its title (formally pronounced as “Four minutes, thirty-three seconds.”) The performer closes the piano lid at each movement’s start, then reopens it at movement’s end. There’s a stop watch on hand to ensure the timing’s right.
“I wanted my work to be free of my own likes and dislikes, because I think music should be free of the feelings and ideas of the composer,” Cage later said of the piece he composed to be performed by “any instrument (or combination of instruments).” “I have felt and hoped to have led other people to feel that the sounds of their environment constitute a music which is more interesting than the music which they would hear if they went into a concert hall.”
Cage later revealed a slow genesis for the project, based on times spent in soundproof rooms, where he learned to recognize the sounds of his own pulse, Zen studies, and a series of blank canvases created by his friend Robert Rauschenberg around the same time.
Also on the program he shared at the Maverick that fateful August evening 59 years ago this week were a Pierre Boulez premiere, several other Cage works, two pieces by Morton Feldman, and The Banshee by Henry Cowell, then considered Woodstock’s premiere composer-in-residence.
“People began whispering to one another, and some people began to walk out,” Cage described the Maverick premiere. “They didn’t laugh — they were just irritated when they realized nothing was going to happen…”
Following Tudor’s performance of 4’33”, the audience was reported to have called for running the pianist and composer out of town.
“They missed the point. There’s no such thing as silence. What they thought was silence, because they didn’t know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds,” Cage continued in an interview from the 1980s. “You could hear the wind stirring outside during the first movement. During the second, raindrops began pattering the roof, and during the third the people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out… And they haven’t forgotten it 30 years later: they’re still angry.”
For this 59th anniversary performance of the late Cage’s masterwork, Mimi Goese and Ben Neill will perform. Goese is known as the lead singer/co-songwriter of Hugo Largo, a minimalist punk/pop group who released albums on Brian Eno’s Opal label, as well as on Luaka Bop, David Byrne’s label. Neill is a composer, performer, producer, and inventor of the mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument. He has recorded eight CDs of his music on labels including Universal/Verve, Thirsty Ear, Astralwerks and Six Degrees. The two’s most recent collaboration, Songs for Persephone, will be released on August 30, by Ramseur Records.
“4’33, on one level, seems to be as close to artistic perfection as an artist can get,” this event’s producer, artist Norm Magnusson, said of the Cage composition he first saw performed by composer/percussionist David Van Tieghem, now a Woodstock resident, years ago. “I have always been surprised at how deeply moved I was by the purity of the work.”
There will be a Q&A after the performance with musicologist Kyle Gann, author of No Such Thing as Silence: John Cage’s 4’33”, and Mimi and Ben will play one of their own pieces.++
For more on this performance of John Cage’s 4’33” at 7:00 PM on Monday, August 29, at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum at 28 Tinker Street in Woodstock, call 679-2940 or visit www.woodstock.org.
For more on local Cage projects, including a current call for new original works to mark his centennial next year in 2012 in a 120 hour transmission performance a year from this September, visit www.free103point9.org. Or tune into WGXC-FM at www.wgxc.org next Saturday, September 3, for a special conversation with Laura Kuhn of the John Cage Trust , located now at Bard College.
Varga’s Ceramics Trunk Sale
There’s something about the sale of art during troubled times. New things get tried. There’s an interesting loosening of boundaries between the functional and purely artsy. Anthing goes…almost.
Take the Ceramics Trunk Sale Christina Varga’s putting on for visiting Ohio-based artist Tom Radca at her gallery next to Upstate Cinema on Tinker Street Thursday, August 25 through Sunday, August 27. On hand will be tiles, vessels, and “anything that could be used in a kitchen.”
Radca is becoming known for his installations in hospitals and other nonprofit institutions in Ohio and other parts of the Midwest. This will be his first trip to the Northeast.
Varga has put a call out to those interested in interior design as well as regular art collectors to come by and view, and hopefully purchase, some of the works that will be on view.
Consider it a cultural version of those tool sales that pass through the area, in neighboring towns, several times each year. And a possible sign of the times to come.++
Varga Gallery is located at 130 Tinker Street, next to Upstate Films.
For more information call 679-4005 or visit www.vargagallery.com.
WAAM elects trustees
The Woodstock Artists Association and Museum held its annual General Membership Meeting and Board Election last Sunday, August 21, during which three incumbent Active Members held their seats, while three will be replaced by new trustees.
Winning re-election were Pat Horner, an artist and former Exhibitions Committee chairperson; Susan Neff, chair of the WAAM Finance Committee, and Llyn Towner, chair of the WAAM Governance and Regional Committees and administer of its WAAM Facebook page.
Newly elected to the board were Christopher Engel, a Delaware County-based artist; former SUNY New Paltz art professor David Marell, and photographer David Morris Cunningham.
Vivienne Hodges, WAAM Treasurer since 2008, retained her seat as WAAM’s Associate Membership representative.
The organization is currently gearing up for its annual Fine Arts Auction on Sunday, September 4, with a catalogue of offerings currently available online. Among highlights: some impressive African work, several Reginald Marsh etchings, plenty of Japanese block prints, a host of new discoveries from classic Woodstock artists, a Joan Snyder monoprint, some Mary Frank paintings, and a Louise Nevelson lithograph with collage elements.
But more on all that next week…++
For more information call 679-2079 or visit visit www.woodstockart.org.