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Artists as Innovators at the Dorsky

by Chiara Harrison Lambe

This autumn will be an exciting time for the arts in the Hudson Valley with a swath of new exhibitions opening over the next handful of weeks. The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, in particular, is home to a series of special events in conjunction with their new show, Artists as Innovators: Celebrating Three Decades of New York State Council on the Arts/​New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships.

Artists as Innovators opened on August 30 in the Alice and Horace Chandler and North Galleries. The public opening reception will be held on September 9, from 5-​​7pm, and the art works will remain on view through November 12. This exhibition showcases the NYSCA/​NYFA Fellowship program, which has, over the past 30 years, supported more than 4,000 artists in various fields in the visual arts, performing arts, and literature. Fellows have often addressed controversial issues such as women’s rights, sexual orientation, consumerism, globalization, and many more pressing topics. The long list of noteworthy NYSCA/​NYFA Fellows include Barbara Kruger, Doug Aitkin and Shirin Neshat in the visual arts, Tony Kushner and Suzan-​​Lori Parks in theatre/​literary arts, Spike Lee and Mira Nair in film, and Meredith Monk, Julie Taymor and Yvonne Rainer in the performing arts. Examples from this exhibition of what to expect are the work of Tony Oursler whose sculpture combines wood, digital print and video to explore the “Big Brother” world of biometrics in #ISO, 2015, and Ida Applebroog’s disturbing depictions of ordinary people such as the grinning suitor with his bouquet of flowers in Winnie’s Pooh, 1993.

Tony Oursler, "#ISO," 2015, image courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. (Photograph by Elizabeth Bernstein)

Tony Oursler, “#ISO,” 2015, image courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. (Photograph by Elizabeth Bernstein)

Artists as Innovators looks back over the years through the lens of over 20 Fellows, all of whom went on to enjoy significant achievements in their artistic careers. Participating artists include Elia Alba, Ida Applebroog, Dawoud Bey, Sanford Biggers, Ross Bleckner, Wendell Castle, Tara Donovan, Chitra Ganesh, The Guerrilla Girls, Christian Marclay, Marilyn Minter, Lori Nix, Tony Oursler, Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler, Dread Scott, Andres Serrano, Shinique Smith, Carmelita Tropicana, and Fred Wilson.

As part of the exhibition tour, SUNY partners will host complementary exhibitions and programs. After the opening on Saturday, September 9, the next event will be a reading by NYSCA/​NYFA Literary Fellows on Saturday, September 16 at 2pm. Join Fellows Saïd Sayrafiezadeh (Playwriting/​Screenwriting ’96, ’06, Fiction ’10), Edwin Sanchez (Playwriting/​Screenwriting ’89, ’00, ’06), Luc Sante (Nonfiction Literature ’14), and Akiko Busch (Nonfiction ’11) for an afternoon of readings. The following Saturday, September 23, a panel discussion on the history of the NYFA Fellowship Program will be held at 2pm, featuring Artists as Innovators curators Judith K. Brodsky and David C. Terry, catalog essayist Paddy Johnson, and exhibiting artist Lori Nix (Photography ’04, ’10).

On September 30 at 2pm, exhibiting artist Carmelita Tropicana (Playwriting/​Screenwriting ’91) will be performing. Known for her irreverent humor, subversive fantasy and bilingual puns, she has been straddling the worlds of performance art and theatre in the New York art scene since the 1980s. Then, on Wednesday, October 4 from 12-​​3pm, Fellow Linda Montano (Conceptual/​Performance Art ’86) will perform as Bob Dylan in SUNY New Paltz’s Student Union Building from 12-​​1pm, Sojourner Truth Library from 1-​​2pm, and Fine Arts Building Rotunda from 2-​​3pm.

Ida Applebroog, "Winnie’s Pooh," 1993, image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Ida Applebroog, “Winnie’s Pooh,” 1993, image courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Next, on Sunday, October 8 at 2pm, watch Lives of Performers, a film by Fellow and experimental choreographer Yvonne Rainer (Film ’90, ’95) at the Rosendale Theatre (408 Main Street, Rosendale), in conjunction with the theatre’s “Dance Film Sundays.” On Sunday, October 14 at 2pm, there will be a “Slide Slam”-style presentation by SUNY New Paltz faculty who have received NYSCA/​NYFA Fellowships in Visual Art: Jamie Bennett (Crafts ’90, ’99, ’11), Amy Cheng (Painting ’90, ’96), Kathy Goodell (Sculpture ’93,’97), Carmen Lizardo (Photography ’04), Emily Puthoff (Digital/​Electronic Arts ’11), and Nadia Sablin (Photography ’13).

The next event falls on Saturday, October 21 at 2pm, when there will be a gallery talk, ‘Embracing Upheaval,’ with exhibiting artist Wendell Castle (Crafts ’86). Castle will share anecdotes from his career and discuss the ways in which art, creativity, and critical thinking combine to influence an artist’s approach to their work. Lastly an event that will be of particular interest to art practicioners, on Monday, October 23, from 5:30 to 7pm, attend an information session on the NYSCA/​NYFA Fellowship application process, led by NYFA staff. The application for the 2017 – 2018 award cycle opens in Fall 2017 in the categories of Fiction, Folk/​Tradition Arts, Interdisciplinary Arts, Painting, and Video/​Film. The winners receive $7,000 cash awards with which to fund their vision or voice. More information about the Fellowship is available at https://​www​.nyfa​.org.

The Dorsky is one of six museums on State University of New York campuses that are partnering with NYFA to present Artists as Innovators, which will travel throughout New York State until Spring 2020. The other museums are SUNY Cortland, Alfred University, SUNY Fredonia, SUNY Plattsburgh, Stony Brook University, and Westchester Community College – the precise schedule is on the Dorksy website.

Featured Image: Ross Bleckner,“Dome,” 2015, image courtesy the artist. Photograph by Jeffrey Sturges

All images reproduced here are courtesy of the artists or the artists’ representatives. Please visit the museum website for further information, gallery hours and directions.*Galleries are closed October 7th through 10th for SUNY Fall Break

ChiaraChiara Harrison Lambe was born in Ireland, raised in the Hudson Valley, and currently divides her time between Brooklyn, NY. and Berlin, Germany. She holds a degree in Art History from Bard College.


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