Hudson River Museum Presents Walks with Artists: The Hudson Valley and Beyond

An exhibition that examines how landscape art has impacted the way we envision nature, with a selection of recently acquired or restored works from the 19th century to today

Press Preview: Thursday, October 5, 2017 10–11am

The Hudson River Museum is delighted to announce its fall exhibition Walks with Artists: The Hudson Valley and Beyond, on view October 7, 2017 through January 21, 2018. For centuries, the Hudson Valley has attracted intrepid artists to explore and depict its natural splendor. These views have then been collected, displayed, and impacted the way we envision nature. In 40 paintings, prints, and photographs from the Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition examines the key role artists play in bringing views of nature indoors—in a domestic or gallery setting—while inspiring our own outdoor itineraries.

The exhibition connects artists and artworks across decades and even centuries and is organized around the elements that artists use to compose landscape paintings—trees and terrain; figures and structures, water and sky. These works, many of which are recent acquisitions on view for the first time, range from the 19th century—featuring Hudson River School artists Thomas Cole and Asher B. Durand, and landscapes by George Inness and Louis Aston Knight—to today, with modern works by Joseph DiGiorgioRalph FasanellaRichard HaasEllen KozakRichard MayhewAlison Moritsugu, and Jack Stuppin and underscore the centrality of landscape in our thought, then as now.

Walks with Artists welcomes visitors to consider their own relationship to nature, both experienced and seen, and how in stunning depictions of rolling rivers, verdant farmlands, and forested mountains, these images encourage us to venture into our surroundings, and even inspire environmental preservation. In the early 20th century, encroaching industrialization and development mobilized environmental concerns and nostalgia for unspoiled countryside. This spurred local preservation movements, including the creation of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, protecting this quintessential element of the Hudson River landscape. As recently as this summer, defenders of the Hudson River stopped a proposal to dock barges of fracked oil along its scenic banks.

The Museum plays its own role as a custodian of the landscape: a dozen paintings have undergone recent conservation treatments and are on display for the first time in Walks with Artists. Chief Curator Laura Vookles, who organized the exhibition, states, “Landscape art is always relevant. Our desire to understand how we relate to nature and why we find meadows, mountains, and rivers beautiful and worth preserving connects us to artists today and back to the Hudson River School. The path from contemplating the land to cultivating and exploiting it is a perilous continuum; looking at art can be a call to action.”

As a component of this exhibition, the Museum will host a photography contest, with the assignment to capture a vista of the local environment rooted in the thematic elements of the exhibition—trees and terrain; figures and structures, water and sky. The winning photographs will be displayed in the Museum Lobby as an entry point into the exhibition, and on HRM’s social media channels, adding an interactive and community-driven element.

In the 19th century, bringing the beauty of the outdoors inside through art was considered restorative, educational, and morally uplifting. Artists would travel up the Hudson River in search of inspiring views. A Hudson River School painting, View of the Hudson Highlands with Woman Painting by John Douglas emphasizes the grandeur of the landscape by including the comparatively tiny figure of the painter in the act of capturing the view. In contrast to this simple contemplation, Thomas Cole draws a young man in a boat through an allegorical landscape symbolizing life’s challenges and bounties, in a print from his series The Voyage of Life. These earlier depictions of people in the landscape provide historical context for Jordan Matter’s 2011 photograph Vista, depicting a dancer in arabesque overlooking the Palisades.

Painted or real, landscape views imply an observer. Elements of the landscapes entice us to experience the virtual outdoors, while structures remind us of our interaction and impact on the land. The rippling surface of the water became Ellen Kozak’s focus in her Hudson River Primer series in the 1990s, when she walked to the edge and started a new painting each summer morning. Jack Stuppin created a sweeping view of Tatashu Farm, Catskills (2016) that reflects our abiding love of the mountains that originally influenced Thomas Cole and other painters of the Hudson River School, while Joseph DiGiorgio immersed us in the trees of the forest floor in his New York State Series (1999). In the 1980s, Joellyn Duesberry painted a peaceful day in the Highlands, but her title reveals a threat to the famous shoreline: Cement Factory, Hudson River. Given the continued development and pollution in our time, we cannot help but enter these paintings with our own concerns as we gain a new understanding of the viewpoints of three centuries of artists.

This exhibition is organized by the Hudson River Museum.
The exhibition is featured on the HRM website, as well as on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter via the hashtags #WalksWithArtists #HRMLandscape

RELATED PROGRAMS
The Hudson River Museum’s fall programs further the connections between the artistic and the scientific in our local environment through lectures, events and activities for a variety of audiences and interests. Unless otherwise noted, all programs are free with Museum admission.

Saturday, October 7, 2pm
Walk & Talk with an Artist
Enjoy a stroll through Walks with Artists: The Hudson Valley and Beyond with professionals from a range of artistic fields—from poets to musicians to visual artists—who will offer interpretations of select works drawing on the perspective of their own practice.
Marcus C. John, Spoken Word Artist

Saturday, November 4, 2pm
Alison Moritsugu, Visual Artist

Saturday, November 25, 2pm
Ann van Buren, Poet

Saturday, December 9, 2pm
Labiba Abdur Rahman, Storyteller

Saturday, December 28, 2pm
Vinnie Bagwell, Sculptor

Saturday, January 13, 2pm
Cleek Schrey, Fiddler

Stroll with the Staff
Join Museum staff on a special tour of our exhibitions.

Sunday, October 8, 1pm
Walk with the Curator: Ted Barrow, Assistant Curator

Sunday, November 19, 1pm
Walk with the Archivist: Giovanna Fiorino-Iannace, PhD, Visiting Associate Curator

Sunday, January 21, 2018
Walk with the Curator: Laura Vookles, Chair, Curatorial Department

Lectures

Sunday, October 8, 2pm
Sunday Scholars
Protecting Our Precious Water:
Global and Local Perspectives with Marcia M. Brewster and Paul Gallay

Marcia M. Brewster, former Senior Officer for Water Resources at the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development, and Paul Gallay, President of Riverkeeper, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the Hudson River, discuss the importance of water resource conservation and protection at both global and local levels.

Wednesday, October 11, 1:30pm, followed by 3pm tour
Arts in the Afternoon
The Aesthetic Landscape and Sublime Nostalgia:
Late 19th-Century Landscapes at the Hudson River Museum

By comparing and contrasting two works on view in Walks with Artists, Assistant Curator Ted Barrow will delineate the shifting expectations for American landscape painting during the second half of the 19th century.

Wednesday, November 8, 1:30pm, followed by 3pm tour
Arts in the Afternoon
Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, George Garland
George Garland, President of the Board of the United Nations Association Southern New York Division, will outline the main ideas behind the Paris climate accord and describe how we can play our part—both in Westchester County and beyond—in rising up to this global challenge.

Sunday, November 12, 2pm
Sunday Scholars
The Sublime and Beyond, Andrea Packard
Stop by and listen to our Teaching Artist-in-Residence, Andrea Packard, discuss the evolution of the sublime in art.

Sunday, December 3, 2pm
Sunday Scholars
Oh Hudson: A Poetic Portrait of the Region, David Gonzalez
David Gonzalez, professional storyteller, poet, and playwright, is a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department. He is the recipient of the International Performing Arts for Youth “Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence,” and was named a Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation. This presentation of Gonzalez’ epic poem “Oh Hudson” will also include stories and music inspired by the river, the valley, and the communities that thrive here.

Wednesday, December 13, 1:30pm, followed by 3pm tour
Arts in the Afternoon
Exploring the Musical Landscape of the Hudson Valley and New York State with Dave Ruch
Musician and teaching artist Dave Ruch tells the stories behind the songs of real-life people who lived among these landscape scenes—rivermen, farmers, domestics, and mountain people—collected through considerable research and interpreted for all to enjoy with mandolin, banjo, guitar, jaw harp, and more.

Wednesday, December 27, 2pm
Public Talk
The Past is Prologue: How Scientists Read the Story of Water with Allegra N. LeGrande
Teaching Scientist in Residence Dr. Allegra N. LeGrande of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, takes visitors on a deep dive into Earth’s water cycle, yesterday, in modern times, and tomorrow. She’ll cover her research, and how changes in the water cycle will affect our society in the future.

Workshops and Programs for Families

Sunday, October 15, 12–5pm
Family Day
Celebrate our current exhibitions with activities for the whole family to enjoy! Face painting, tours, art projects, and a photo booth will be available throughout the day. Plus, master the medium of graphite with artist Leonardo De La Cruz, in a Drop In & Draw sketching workshop in the galleries from 12 to 2pm. Finally, catch a performance by Bash the Trash at 4pm! #HRMFamilies

Saturday, October 21, 2pm
Saturday, November 18, 2pm
Saturday, December 16, 2pm
Kids Explore the Landscape with Zafiro Acevedo
In this hands-on workshop series led by artist Zafiro Acevedo, participants will examine classical landscape elements and create works using natural elements such as pine cones, grass, and leaves in addition to traditional art materials. Recommended for ages 5–10.

Changing Nature—Sunday, October 22, 2–4pm
Landscapes of Experience—Sunday, December 17, 2–4pm
The Fabric of Nature—Sunday, January 7, 2–4pm
Nature and Beyond
This new program, designed by Teaching Artist-in-Residence Andrea Packard, will begin with a guided tour through the Museum’s galleries and end with a hands-on introduction to landscape collage. RSVP: publicprograms@hrm.org

Drop In & Draw
Find your inner artist for informal sketching in the museum galleries inspired by the landscapes on view in our fall exhibitions. Suitable for ages 8 – adult, all levels of expertise; materials will be provided.

Sunday, October 15, 12–2pm
Leonardo De La Cruz: Graphite

Saturday, November 18, 12–2pm
Terry Kessler Schwarz: Graphite, Charcoal, and Soft Pastel

Sunday, December 17, 12–2pm
Kathleen Gallagher: Graphite and Oil Pastel

Saturday, January 20, 2–4pm
Lee Romero: Graphite and Pen & Ink

Saturday, December 2, 1:30–3:30pm
Saturday, January 6, 1:30–3:30pm
Drawing the Environment: Hudson River Cultures of Climate, Ecology, and Art with Elaine Smollin
Join us in recreating images of the Hudson River Valley surrounding the Museum. On December 2, observe the landscape and draft a series of sketches. On January 6, combine sketches and paint a panorama. Please note, the workshop sessions can be experienced individually or as a continuing series.
Reserve your place: publicprograms@hrm.org
Non-members: $10 (plus admission)
Members: $5 (plus admission)