Upcoming Exhibitions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lily Cox-Richard: Possessing Powers
May 10 - September 14, 2014

The Stand
Lily Cox-Richard. The Stand: Possessing Powers, 2013   Photo: Sharad Patel, 2013


      
It started with an apple and a serpent. Then the tempting began.
      Eve Disconsolate, the masterpiece by Hiram Powers, America’s best-known neoclassical sculptor now in the collection of the Hudson River Museum, shows a distressed Eve about to be banished from the Garden of Eden. Eve, and other works by the 19th-century artist, inspired contemporary sculptor Lily Cox-Richard to make fresh sculptural forms, elements that she selects, edits, and re-recreates from Powers’ earlier works. Her six sculptures − The Stand (Possessing Powers) − are faithful to the sculptural traditions of Powers’ originals but Cox-Richard’s sculptures contain a striking omission − the figures themselves, figures that broke new ground when Powers’ made them − idealized nudes and noble savages.
      Powers carved the original Eve Disconsolate into marble in 1871 and it was gifted to the Hudson River Museum in 1951, after standing for years as a garden sculpture in a Tarrytown garden. Always on view at the Museum, it will be joined by The Stand sculptures, completed in 2013, in the Museum’s galleries, May 10 to September 14 in the exhibition Lily Cox-Richard: Possessing Powers.
The Stand sculptures could serve as structural support for the absent marble figures but under Cox-Richard they play an even stronger role as narrative support to the stories Powers tells through his two “Eves” − Eve Tempted (modeled 1839-42) and Eve Disconsolate (modeled 1855-1861); The Greek Slave (modeled 1841-43); California (modeled 1850–55); Fisher Boy (modeled 1841-44), and The Last of the Tribes (modeled 1867-72). 
      Cox-Richard, intrigued by the contact between the figure and its base, looks to the base for the story. “My sculpture grapples with charging empty spaces, revealing invisible systems, and reaffirming exhausted objects,” she said. In The Stand’s Eve, as in the original by Powers’, a serpent encircles a tree trunk, the base on which Eve’s foot is poised. Leafy branches barely cloak the snake’s prideful gloating over its successful and, as it was to prove, tragic tempting of the Mother of Mankind. The story, though, belongs to both the tempted and the tempter, seen from two different vantages by two different artists, employing differing processes. Powers, always concerned with detail in his sculpture, had a real rattlesnake sent from America to his Florence studio for a model. Cox-Richard recreating the snake makes its scales by pressing fishnet stockings into the wet plaster. “I look for new materials and techniques suited to the project at hand, even as it is grounded in an historical work,” she said.
      Cox-Richard, like many artists today seeks direction for America’s sculpture and she looks back to its 19th-century beginnings, a high point for the United States and its newly flourishing national identity. She explores, too, that time’s artistic product and its moral and social messages, and comes up with questions about gender stereotypes and the oversimplified allegories from the nation’s history.  In The Last of the Tribes a tree trunk once again enables Cox-Richard to break a Powers’ sculpture into its elements. A Native American woman runs from civilization, her skirt brushing across the trunk of a tree.  The stump/skirt is the site of action that charges the sculpture but Cox-Richard cannot tease the figure and its support apart. Instead, in her recreation the woman’s skirt rests on and emerges from the stump, stressing the moment of the connection, the only moment that shows the figure moving. Cox Richard: “Reduced to their structural supports, my carved plaster sculptures are both originals and copies, homage and critique, familiar and strange, created in an attempt to see what new content might be revealed when the figure is removed, and how this work can be transformed when it is reimagined through a contemporary sculpture practice.”
      The exhibition, The Stand, also includes Cox-Richard’s cast plaster objects drawn from the Powers’ sculptures – the manacles from the Greek Slave, the shell from Fisher Boy, among them and photographs of the hand, from her exhibition and small documentary book The Thicket. Powers was deeply interested in the form of the hand and sculpted many for clients as well as those for his figures. He held Swedenborgian religious beliefs that taught that touch was crucial to both motherly and conjugal love.
      Hiram Powers (1805-1873), often called the Father of American Sculpture, lived in Florence close to Italy’s good marble and craftsmen as did other American sculptors at that time. His technique, though, distinguished him from his contemporaries – his marble surfaces are matte and porous, not highly polished, which Cox-Richard’s plaster sculptures echo.
      Lily Cox-Richard has exhibited at Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, the Poor Farm in Manawa, Wisconsin, and Kompact Living Space in Berlin. Among the fellowships she has been awarded are a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan's Society of Fellows, and residencies at the CORE Program at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. While a teacher in residence at Houston, she became familiar with Powers’ The Last of the Tribes and began The Stand. Her attention to process moved her to expand her education learning to carve stone in a quarry near Salzburg Austria. “It ended up not being about learning to carve marble, but more about trying to figure out what a stone carver is thinking about.”
       Organized by the Hudson River Museum in cooperation with the artist and Hirschl & Adler Galleries, 2014.

 
Hiram Powers
Eve Disconsolate, 1871
Marble, 77 inches high
Collection of the Hudson River Museum
  Lily Cox-Richard
The Stand: Eve Disconsolate, 2013
Carved plaster, 60 x 26 x 26 inches


Mandy Greer: The Ecstatic Moment
June 7 – September 14, 2014


Mandy Greer. The Ruby Heart  archival ink jet photograph, 2011

      Seattle-based artist Mandy Greer installs a fantasy world awash in color, laced with glittering chandeliers, and alive with sumptuous birds and enigmatic figures draped in costume in her first New York solo exhibition.
      In The Ecstatic Moment at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, June 7 to September 14, 2014, she draws her inspiration from ancient myths and fairy tales and from the mundane and magical  moments of everyday life.
      The sewing machine and the crochet hook are her tools. Fabric and objects from the natural world her medium.
      Last summer Greer visited Glenview, the Museum’s Victorian river home, and saw the stillness of afternoon light slanting through its windows. Captivated by the home’s ability to spur reverie, she returns to the Museum in 2014 with a site-specific installation, her poetic response to a way of life in a world gone by.
      Ecstatic Moment encompasses sculpture, photography, fabric wall panels, video, and performance. Greer includes decorative elements from Glenview drawn from nature – its birds under glass and its patterns and colors. She turns the Museum’s galleries into a composition of color, each evoking emotion and, possibly, recollection. Enter Greer’s wild wilderness of dark trees, stark mountains, bottomless waters, and mystifying creatures and you sense Nature’s deep unknown.
      The Vermillion section contains a 12-foot red chandelier, turkey vultures, magpies, and one of the installation’s four costumed mannequins − the Vermillion Poppy Goddess. Greer recognizes the archetypes of femininity just as she rejects and embraces them, situating her glamorous women in geologic settings. “Much of what I’m after in my work is to capture a rapturous moment, when a river of our inner life spills out of us like blood, milk or every-growing hair,” she said. She created the theme for this section, “Blood Lines, especially for the Hudson River Museum.
      In the centerpiece of the show, Lava and Flesh section, a circle of carrion birds are feathered in the silver and peach colors taken from Glenview’s parlor. The Cobalt and Turquoise section opts for drama. Greer uses 300 feet of fabric to create a dazzling waterfall on the Museum's main staircase that illustrates its theme “River and Ice.” A video shows “Mater Matrix Mother and Medium,” the portrait of a glacial Iceland she shot there on a recent trip t. Two more sections, Gold and Green contain wall sculpture, a honey moon, fanciful crocheted art, and photographs.
      Ecstatic Moment’s final experience Dark, Celestial tells an inescapable truth – our identities change as we live and we give up a part of ourselves as each moment passes. Greer comingles human identity with a responsive environment in the sky and on land. A volcano symbolizes a moment’s love and a family quarrel is etched deeply in rifts on Earth’s surface. Creatures like the black “Bird of Solitude” and Hecate, the Greek goddess who possesses knowledge about the moon and magic, illustrate archetyple truths we sense before we know them.
       Greer not only blends family life, the environment, and myths into her work, she also organizes crocheting workshops and weaves stitching from the community into her installations. As she prepares for her upcoming installation at the Hudson River Museum, Mandy Greer is hosting community crochet events in the Northwest.  Her passage overland from Seattle to Yonkers will be a ‘residency on the road’ that she chronicles with her camera.  The Museum’s social media arm reports as she makes new work for the exhibition en route.
        Most recently Greer showed her creations in Paris in Every Moment Is Lost Forever for the international fiber installation MINIARTEXTI, following her spring 2013 multi-media performance for the Seattle Art Museum and she has created performance projects and films with the internationally recognized Degenerate Art Ensemble. Among her many awards is one from the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy, 2011, for her installation in the exhibition American Dreamers.

The Ecstatic Moment was organized by the Hudson River Museum and curated by Bartholomew F. Bland, Director of Curatorial Affairs.

 

Strut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art
October 11, 2014 - January 18, 2015


Robert Henri. Ruth St. Denis in the Peacock Dance (detail), 1919. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

 

 

      Strut: The Peacock and Beauty in Art explores our fascination for this most glamorous of birds, the epitome of the beautiful in art.
      Strutting in its sapphire-blue and emerald-green feathers, the peacock, symbolized all things vain and beautiful in centuries of painting, sculpture, in books and in myth, and on clothes that swirl and shine like the iridescent bird itself.
       Intrigued by the exotic art of Asia that prized and portrayed the peacock that trails an emblazoned train of “eyed” feathers, the ocelli, spread “like the heavens strewed with stars”, Western artists and craftsmen chose the peacock motif for designs on canvas and for objets in the home.
       The image of the peacock was as popular as the luxury it stood for from the Gilded Age to the 1920s Art Nouveau and Art Deco Movements but Modernism’s ethos of “less is more” caused the bird a brief decline. As the contemporary art world re-embraces beauty in a new “Gilded Age”, the peacock, today, is strutting its way back into the art world.
     
Bartholomew F. Bland, director of curatorial affairs, and Laura L. Vookles, chief curator of collections, are co-curators for the exhibition and essayists for the accompanying fully illustrated 200-page catalogue. Other essayists are: Kirsten M. Jensen, Director, John F. Folinsbee Catalogue Raisonné; Melissa J. Martens, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Museum of Jewish Heritage; and, Ellen E. Roberts, Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art, the Norton Museum of Art . The catalog is co-published by Fordham University Press and distributed nationally by Oxford University Press.