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River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home.”

by Donna Calcavecchio

An exhibition of contemporary art shown simultaneously at The Thomas Cole Historic Site and The Olana Historic Site.

Opening May 3 — runs through November 1, 2015
Featuring 28 world-​​renowned artists including; Chuck Close, Maya Lin, Martin Puryear, Cindy Sherman and Kiki Smith.

The Hudson River Valley, home to the first major contemporary American art movement, has been a source of inspiration for artists past and present. Beginning with Thomas Cole —whose studio produced a new painting style that both illuminated and glorified the vast American landscape —to Frederick Church who was perhaps the movements most well-​​known painter, the Hudson River School represented the contemporary art of their era.

Today with the city of Hudson on the east bank, the small town of Catskill on the west bank, continuing down to the city of Kingston and beyond, the Hudson Valley is again home to a burgeoning contemporary art scene.

Hence the name “River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home,” an exhibition of contemporary art in the bucolic settings of the Thomas Cole Historic Site in Catskill and Frederick Church’s Olana, two miles away on the opposite bank of the Hudson.

Martin Puryear, Question

Martin Puryear, Question

The artists of the Hudson River School’s majestic, atmospheric paintings often glorified the environment they represented. Their sense of place was idealized.  “Place,” can be an influence on contemporary art and Cole and Church were the contemporary artists of their day. The contemporary artists represented in this exhibition all have a connection to this region that Cole and Church helped ignite as a hot-​​bed of American art. While the impact of the Valley on their art may be subtle —the juxtaposition of historic works against new should prove to illuminate the context of place in the creative process.

“The show aims to highlight the continued vitality of the Hudson River Valley as an important site of contemporary artistic production.”

—Jason Rosenfeld, Ph.D., co-​​curator

River Crossings is co-​​curated by luminist painter Stephen Hannock, and Jason Rosenfeld, who recently curated two enormously popular exhibitions, one at Tate Britain in London and the other at the National Gallery in Washington, DC. A fully-​​illustrated companion book will be available. Published by The Artist Book Foundation the book will include entries by Rosenfeld on all the artists and works, and reflections by such preeminent writers and historians as Maurice Berger, Ken Burns, Adam Gopnik and Marvin Heiferman.

Maya Lin, Silver River Hudson

Maya Lin, Silver River Hudson

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill NY, is connected to Olana in Hudson NY, by the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. AMTRAK offers frequent train service to Hudson from New York City and Albany.

Special shuttle service connecting the train station in Hudson to both sites as well as downtown Catskill will be available on certain weekends. More information on the exhibition and shuttle service is available at

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden, Prelude to Farewell, 1981, Collage

Two Additional Events,
(check the website for more):

Curator’s Talk: Stephen Hannock and Jason Rosenfeld, Ph.D.
Date: Sunday, May 17, 2015  |  Time: 2pm
Location: Arts Center Theater, Columbia Greene Community College
Tickets: $9 per person or $7 for members of either the Thomas Cole site or Olana

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site are pleased to present a lecture by Stephen Hannock and Jason Rosenfeld in the Arts Center Theater of the Columbia Greene Community College in Hudson, New York. The lecture, entitled “River Crossings,” celebrates the opening of the exhibition of the same name, on view at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Olana State Historic Site. The Columbia Greene Community College is located at 4400 Route 23 in Hudson.

Artists on Art: River Crossings Exhibition Tours
Date: Every Saturday between June 13 – November 1
Time: 11am (please arrive 15 minutes before the tour start)
Location: Olana State Historic Site
Tickets: $18 adults, $12 students /​ seniors (member discounts do not apply). Ages 8 and up

The Olana Partnership announces special artist-​​lead tours to illuminate the exhibition River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home. This special tour of Olana is led by contemporary artist guides who live and work in the Hudson Valley region.

For more information about River Crossings go to:

www​.rivercrossings​.org/  or  www​.thomascole​.org
or  www​.olana​.org/

featured image by Kiki Smith

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