One Sin, Seven Stories
Installation by Adrien Broom June 6 – September 26, 2015
Adrien Broom.Envy and Temptation, 2015. Digital print
Envy, the most corrosive of the seven deadly sins, makes its appearance at the Hudson River Museum from June 6 to September 26, 2015. Envy is interpreted by multimedia artist Adrien Broom in photographs and life-sized scenes from fairy tales, the stories of passion, evil, and redemption that have thrilled us for centuries.
Unlike the sins of lust or gluttony, there seems little pleasure taken from envy. Evil stepmothers, plotting kings, and vainglorious queens of fairy tales are alive with desire for what others have, just as alive as the tales themselves, the stories that reflect our own experiences and desires.
One thing universal in all fairy tales is their colorful recording of the strivings and errors of others, and then the moral, the right way to act, that emerges from the fairy tale. Connivers for riches or for the love of someone promised to another are sure to be ruined by evil envy, just as the person envied will win out, get the prince, win the princess. As we read fairy tales we see ourselves as we are and as we should be. “Once Upon a Time” is the inviting opener to the story the lays before us on the page but the fairy tale has another dimension — it is eerily similar to the today’s Google Search, where we can see into the lives of others without being seen, not on a page, but on a screen. We still mull, we still learn.
Snow White’s Evil Queen, the great archetype of envy appears in two guises at the heart of the exhibitions the White Queen and the Black Queen. She wears custom gowns — one white, one black, and appears in two separate photographs. First, wearing the white gown (standing before her mirror and still morally redeemable) and next, in black (holding a blood-red heart and consumed by envy). The two magnificent costumes also appear on stylized mannequins that float, suspended, in the Museum Atrium.
A Web of Envy ensnares the Queen, both white and black, embodied as heads locked together in a dance — the Dance of Death. Cocooned and caught within the poisonous Web, too, are famous fairy tale symbols made real as objects: Pieces of gold and mirrors, objects that connote the age-old envious thirst for beauty, wealth, and power. Artistic signifiers of envy are seen all through the exhibition. In particular, an illuminated plinth showcases a hand-blown glass apple that appears in Broom’s photographs.
This Museum-wide exhibition includesa photographic Portrait Gallery of Fairy Tale Characters, showing Cinderella and Snow White, and in other less known but nonetheless chilling for the envy they show: The Singing Bone,The Black Bride and the White Bride, The Three Little Birds, and Beauty and the Beast We may not recognize the names of all the characters that Broom shows us in her photographs but some of the faces in her portraits are straight from today’s media — such as the Firestone Sisters, Mary and Lucy, travelers and lifestyle enablers, who, here, are the Black and White Bride, from the Grimm fairy tale, or, Chef Mario Batali, as King, ever present benevolent or not ruler in the fairy tale. Broom also creates three-dimensional Storytelling in a Box “stage sets”: the first, the Dwarf’s Cottage where Snow White is protected and tempted; second, the dressing room of Cinderella’s envious step-sisters.
Adrien Broom lives and works in Brooklyn and is an artist with a penchant for the bizarre and beautiful. She took a degree in computer animation from Northeastern University and studied fine art in Florence and art history in London. Broom's photographs have been featured in numerous exhibitions in Connecticut and New York City, as well as in the American Dreamers exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi, Florence in 2012. The exhibion Envy is organized by the Hudson River Museum and curated by Bartholomew Bland, the Museum’s Deputy Director.
Envy: One Sin, Seven Stories at the Hudson River Museum is part of The Seven Deadly Sins, the inaugural exhibition of the Fairfield/Westchester Museum Alliance (FWMA), a cultural collaboration begun in 2009. Each member organization presents one of the seven deadly sins, from spring to fall, 2015. Sin, the favorite subject of poets and painters, also provides grist for FWMA’s provocative summer programming, which is offered to the public and FREE to the members of FWMA organizations.
Carla Gannis: The Garden of Emoji Delights June 6 – September 26, 2015
Carla Gannis. The Garden of Emoji Delights. Archival digital print, 2014
It’s visual. It’s vernacular. It’s emoji art.
New media artist Carla Gannis uses signs from our everyday speech and images from our everyday experiences to create her modern digital collage —The Garden of Emoji Delights that resonates with the revolutionary triptych —The Garden of Earthly Delights by 16th-artist Hieronymus Bosch. Where Bosch showed the frailty of humans in a space he peopled with the religious symbols of his time, Gannis looks to the digital symbols of our own time to critique consumerism. Gannis, who teaches art that moves across digital platforms and enlivens Apps, is at home, too, within Bosch’s triplicate world of Eden, Earth, and Hell. The temptations over the centuries are the same but not the images: Gannis transforms Bosch’s cavorting nude sinners into cuddly, rounded emojis, whose real natures are not perceived as threatening, at first.
Bosch’s high Google profile and appeal to surrealists caught Gannis’s attention, and opened the way for her to use pop pictographs to reconstruct the earlier triptych and its enduring message that the wicked are punished.
Gannis’s adventure into the brave new world of emoticoms, whose seeming simplicity pulls us back to the pictographs of hieroglyphics and even cave paintings, is also a questioning: which signs, symbols, and codes, today, best convey the truths the contemporary artist wants to tell?
Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter October 17, 2015 – January 17, 2016
Jordan Matter. Dancers Among Us (Meghan G. Meehan at the Hudson River Museum, October 2014). Courtesy of the artist
Jordan Matter’s stunning photographs appear at the Hudson River Museum in Fall 2015 in the exhibition Dancers Among Us, the photographer’s first major museum exhibition in the United States. Matter’s photographs, the subject of the New York Times-acclaimed best-selling book of the same name, Dancers Among Us, is “A Celebration of Joy in the Everyday,” just as it highlights the exuberance of the dancers who interpret a day’s moments, big and small, in beautiful movement. Over thirty of Matter’s images, which include photographs from his book, new work, and new images of Westchester scenes, will be presented.
Video - Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter - Making the Shot
Matter photographs dancers off the stage in unexpected places, no computer manipulation allowed. The world is his studio — its streets, libraries, playing fields, coffee shops, and highways. First a portrait photographer, Matter soon focused on the entire human figure and in the spontaneous movement of the dancer for a purpose — to use the dancer’s leaps and movement in everyday settings to capture life’s moments that we all live — joy, love, silence, grief, curiosity.
He titles his photographs with his wit, poetry, and sometimes, quotations from performers to philosophers, from Sammy Davis Jr. to Goethe. We see A Good Catch in a bikinied swimmer playfully tossed in New Rochelle’s waters, A young woman seems to hover in air above a Columbus Circle park bench in Rise Above it All, and illustrates Emily Dickinson’s phrase, “I Dwell in Possibility.” In another New York scene, Opening Night, a dancer points her toes at a starry sky, giving truth to Dante’s verse, “If thou follow thy star, thou canst not fail of a glorious heaven.” Another dancer in Skinny Dip, her muscles gleaming in Chicago’s night lights, bounds close to Lake Michigan’s shoreline, reminding us of the Zen saying, “Leap and the Net Will Appear.”
Matter makes his point with light, color, and a supreme ability to capture a moment in time. Of the dancers so integral to his message, he writes, “Dancers are. . . trained to capture passion with their bodies. They often create a fantasy world or offer us a deeper look into familiar settings.
Weekend programs will feature a wide variety of live dance performances on a stage in the Museum galleries. Dancers Among Us: Jordan Matter is organized by the Hudson River Museum.
Oh Panama! Jonas Lie Paints the Panama Canal February 7 – May 8 2016
Central Wall, Pedro Miguel, 1913
Oil on canvas, 36 x 34 in.
Courtesy of the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy
One hundred years ago the Panama Canal linked east to west, opening for the first time in history a water passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Now the Panama Canal Expansion Project, slated for completion in 2016, will open a new water lane to more and larger ships. Celebrating today’s Panama project, Oh Panama! looks back to the determined and spirited efforts of the architects and crews who accomplished the 1914 canal that was captured in paintings by Jonas Lie from the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy. Lie’s paintings continue today to impress viewers as a sublime and beautiful document of man’s relentless quest to conquer nature and harness its riches.
Heavenly Host, 1913 Oil on canvas,
50 x 60 inches
Courtesy of the West Point Museum Collection, United States Military Academy
Norwegian-born painter Jonas Lie (1880-1940) inspired by a motion picture documentary of the construction of the canal visited the Panama Canal Zone for three months in 1913. He was enthralled by the feats of engineering required to dig the Culebra Cut, as well as the sublime visual qualities of the massive trench being carved across the Isthmus of Panama. Working tirelessly in the intense tropical heat, he produced oil sketches and drawings and took careful notes on the technical aspects of the canal construction.
Recognized by his peers as a scientist and a poet for his depictions of New York City,
Lie’s canvasses were both historical documents of technological progress and dramatic interpretations of the urban environment. The thirty known pictures he made of Panama are lively and colorful, capturing the spirit of that endeavor as well as its heroic quality and monumental scale. Lie recalled the Panama experience as a pivotal moment in his career,
one from which he received national recognition for his work and also developed the aesthetic and technical strategies that influenced his landscape compositions from that point forward.
Panama by Air (Reel 4) (1914)
When Lie returned to New York, he exhibited twenty-eight paintings from the Panama cycle at the Knoedler Gallery; two —The Conquerors and Culebra Cut— were purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts before the exhibition embarked on a national tour in 1914. “… the exhibition embarked on a national tour in 1914. The exhibition was very popular with broad interest in Lie’s paintings fueled by publicity photographs, news reports, and the release of documentary films following the canal’s progress, such as the Edison Company’s The Joining of the Two Oceans, The Panama Canal.