Videofreex” Highlight’s the The Dorsky Museum’s Four Spring Exhibitions

by Donna Calcavecchio

Saturday, Feb. 7, from 5 – 7 p.m., the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz will host a public reception for the opening of its four spring exhibitions.

  • Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television
  • Grace Hartigan: Myths and Malls
  • The Maverick Festival at 100
  • Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Ornament and Abstraction.

Of special interest is the first museum exhibition of work by the Videofreex, one of the first major video groups in the late 1960s and early 1970s, whose counter-​​cultural activities anticipated the consumer-​​driven social media of today.


John Dominis, Videofreex (l. to r.) David Cort, Bart Friedman, and Parry Teasdale (holding Sarah Teasdale) introduce Lanesville, NY resident Scottie Benjamin to Sony Portapak technology at Maple Tree Farm, 1973, Courtesy Videofreex

Videofreex: The Art of Guerrilla Television
Videofreex was one of the pioneer production groups that formed when consumer video was first introduced in the late 1960s. Over the nine years as a collective, they produced several thousand videotapes, installations, and multimedia events and trained hundreds of videomakers in the brand new video medium. The core members of the Videofreex, many of whom are active today as artists, journalists, and media makers, include Skip Blumberg, Nancy Cain, David Cort, Bart Friedman, Davidson Gigliotti, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, Parry Teasdale, Carol Vontobel, Ann Woodward, and the late Chuck Kennedy. The Videofreex established their archive at Video Data Bank, Chicago, in 2001, and are the subjects of a forthcoming documentary film by Jenny Raskin and Jon Nealon.

Organized by independent curator and scholar Andrew Ingall, Videofreex, includes 22 newly restored videotapes, over 90 photographs and slides, and nearly 80 other objects including drawings, prints, ephemera, publications, and historic audiovisual equipment. Highlights include vintage video interviews with political activists Abbie Hoffman and Fred Hampton, images of feminist and anti-​​war protests, and humorous programs like The Buckaroo Bart Show and The Lanesville TV Newsbuggy. Runs through July 12.

This exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated, catalogue presenting new scholarship and information. The exhibition catalogue is distributed by the State University of New York Press, and will be available for purchase online at www​.sunypress​.edu.

As with past major exhibitions, Videofreex includes a series of related programs:

Thursday, Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Screening and Discussion at Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville, N.Y.
Videos from the exhibition and excerpts from the documentary Here Come the Videofreex will be featured in discussion with filmmaker Jon Nealon, exhibition curator Andrew Ingall, and Videofreex Nancy Cain and Skip Blumberg.

Sunday, March 8, 2015, 2 p.m.
Panel Discussion in the Student Union Building 62/​63, SUNY New Paltz
“Videofreex: A Foundation for Participatory Art and Social Engagement” with Videofreex Skip Blumberg and Parry Teasdale and Galen Joseph-​​Hunter, executive director at Wave Farm. The discussion will be moderated by exhibition curator Andrew Ingall.

Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Ornament and Abstraction

Jeffrey Gibson_Aurora_2013

Jeffrey Gibson — Aurora, 2013 — Elk hide over birch panels, graphite, acrylic, and oil paint — 68 x 87 x 2 ½ in.

Organized by independent curator and critic Murtaza Vali, this exhibition will be on display through April 12.

In 1910, Austrian architect Adolf Loos famously called ornament a crime, the very antithesis of modernist aesthetics. Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Ornament and Abstraction brings together the work of seven contemporary artists — Derrick Adams, Kamrooz Aram, Rana Begum, Jeffrey Gibson, Jason Middlebrook, Kanishka Raja, and Seher Shah — who subtly subvert modernist abstraction through strategies of difference, pushing geometry and pattern to the verge of ornament. Drawing from and referring to Western abstraction and other aesthetic traditions more accepting of ornament, the artworks in this exhibition will present a terrain upon which a dialogue between the two visual discourses can unfold, revealing unexpected juxtapositions and intersections that challenge traditional art histories.

Grace Hartigan: Myths and Malls


Grace Hartigan, Grey Eyed Athena, 1961, Oil on canvas 64 x 49 in., Collection of Hart and Beatrice Perry.

Organized by Daniel Belasco, Dorsky Museum Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, this exhibition will be on display Feb. 7 through July 12.

Grace Hartigan (1922 – 2008) was prominent in the Abstract Expressionist group of New York artists in the 1950s. Grace Hartigan: Myths and Malls is the first museum show of her work since 2001, focusing on a dozen vigorously painted oils and works on paper that chart her shift from abstraction to pop in the early 1960s, when she moved from New York to Baltimore. Hartigan devised a new painterly language to address popular culture, the urban environment, and her identity as a woman artist. Many of the paintings, collected by Hartigan’s friend, Beatrice Perry, of Germantown, N.Y., have not been exhibited in decades.

The Maverick Festival at 100

Ark Royale-SM

Stowall Studios — The Ark Royale, 1924 Gelatin silver print 6 7/​8 x 9 ¼ in. The Gaede/​Striebel Archive, Center for Photography at Woodstock Permanent Print Collection

Organized by Daniel Belasco, Dorsky Museum Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, this exhibition will be on display through July 12.

Marking the centennial of Woodstock’s legendary Maverick Festival, founded by Hervey White in 1915, this exhibition of vintage photographs celebrates the outdoor carnival’s effusion of creative expression. Photos and documents in the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Jean Gaede and Fritzi Striebel Archive, on long-​​term loan to The Dorsky Museum, capture the radical whimsy and spirit of theater, music, costume, and painting at the Maverick from 1915 to 1931. Highlights include images of well-​​known Woodstock artists at play, including Charles Rosen, George Bellows, Eugenie Gershoy, Konrad Cramer, and Wilna Hervey.


Funding for The Dorsky’s exhibitions and programs is provided by the Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and the State University of New York at New Paltz. Additional major funding for Videofreex is provided by The Dobkin Family Foundation and the Lynn and Jules Kroll Family Foundation.



Through its collections, exhibitions, and public programs, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, located at SUNY New Paltz, supports and enriches the academic programs at the College, presents a broad range of world art for study and enjoyment, and serves as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture. The museum is gaining wide recognition as the premier public showplace for exhibition, education, and cultural scholarship about the Hudson Valley region’s art and artists from yesterday and today. With more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries, The Dorsky Museum is one of the largest museums within the SUNY system. The Dorsky was officially dedicated on Oct. 20, 2001. Since then it has presented over one hundred exhibitions, including commissions, collection-​​based projects, and in-​​depth studies of contemporary artists including Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Judy Pfaff, Carolee Schneemann, and Ushio Shinohara.


Museum Hours:  |  Wednesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Holidays, and Intersessions

For more information about The Dorsky Museum and its programs, visit www​.newpaltz​.edu/​m​u​s​eum or call (845) 257‑3844.


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