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Susan Jennings • River (excerpt), 2003
DVD, 60 min. Collection of the artist


Imaging the River

Celebrates the Hudson River as an inspiration for artists in the 19th, 20th a
nd 21st centuries. The works in the exhibition reflect the dramatic transformation in the way we view the river historically, culturally and aesthetically, documenting our on-going relationship with the Hudson. In the 19th century, the Hudson River School painters proposed an idealistic vision of man and nature living harmoniously in a landscape of unparalled virgin beauty. This became one of the central myths about the infinite promise of an expanding America, myths that artists helped to create and perpetuate.

In the last 50 years artists have taken a more critical and nuanced view of the River. While some continue to find it a source of contemplative beauty that stirs the imagination, many contemporary artists have reconceived the river, not as the ideal image of beauty, but as the cautionary image of the conflict between industrial society and nature.

The exhibition will first examine the romantic notion of the river, using paintings, drawings, and postcards from the museum's permanent collection. Contemporary works including installations, photography, painting, sculpture and video capture the sense of the river in today's culture. They reflect how the river has changed and how it continues to change. They capture both the degradation of the river and some of its more recent reclamation due to a better understanding of the impact of industry and development.

Many of the contemporary artists featured in this exhibition will draw upon the museum's permanent collection and its location on the banks of the river to make new work. Imaging the River will project the Hudson's presence as both a natural wonder and grand vehicle for artistic expression.

Colin Barclay Alison Moritsugu
Bob Braine Raquel Rabinovich
Jaime Davidovich Renata Rainer
Dan Ford Aviva Rahmani
Larry Frankel Alexis Rockman
Sandy Gellis Ann Rosenthal and
Janice Gordon Steffi Domike
Helen and Newton Harrison Rosalind Schneider
Maxine Henryson Buster Simpson
Basia Irland Roy Staab
Susan Jennings Jason Walz
Alan Michelson Timothy White



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