The Hudson River Museum Presents The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art

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YONKERS, NY, December 20, 2018 — The Hudson River Museum is kicking off a year of Centennial celebrations with the first major exhibition of 2019, The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art, which will be on view from February 8 through May 12, 2019. More than 60 paintings and works on paper—along with programs that range from film and music to cultural history and art workshops—illuminate our eternal fascination with the moon and the long and enduring relationship between art and lunar science. The exhibition, featuring loans from museums and private collections throughout the U.S., coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission when American astronauts traveled across the skies to step onto the pitted surface of the moon in July, 1969, as well as the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the Museum’s Planetarium. Following its run at the Hudson River Museum, The Color of the Moon will open in June 2019 at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, which is partnering with the Hudson River Museum to organize the exhibition.

The Color of the Moon traces the positions, places, and phases of the moon across more than 150 years of art, and explores the romanticism of our relationship with the moon. The display is presented in three broad groupings: Popular Moon from Myth to Destination, ranging from mythological scenes of the goddess Diana by Samuel F. B. Morse to the Apollo 11 blast-off, painted by Jamie Wyeth as part of NASA’s art program; The Romantic Moon from the Hudson River School to 20th-Century Modernists, featuring moonlit towers by Thomas Cole and a shimmering abstraction by Arthur Dove; and The Moody Moon from Forest Glades to the Open Sea, with paintings by Edward Bannister, Ralph Blakelock, and George Inness revealing the deep preoccupation with spirituality and moonlight at the end of the nineteenth century.

Featured artists include: Susie M. Barstow, Albert Bierstadt, Oscar Bluemner, Charles Burchfield, Frederic Edwin Church, Joseph Cornell, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Arthur Dove, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, George Inness, Roy Lichtenstein, Norman Rockwell, Edward Steichen, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Marguerite Thompson Zorach.

The exhibition was co-curated by Laura Vookles, Chair of the Hudson River Museum’s Curatorial Department, and Bartholomew F. Bland, Executive Director, Lehman College Art Gallery, The City University of New York. Laura Vookles states, “The prevalence of the moon in American art speaks to its universal appeal; it is something that unites us across the globe. This attraction was explored by generations of artists who gazed upon the moon and later reaffirmed by astronauts looking back upon the fragile earth from space. Visitors will be awestruck by these views and by the beautiful paintings on display.”

Director Masha Turchinsky asserts, “As we celebrate our centennial, the Hudson River Museum embraces this special opportunity to share revelations about the moon in American art, illuminating the bond between art, science, and community that has been core to our mission from our inception in 1919. We are proud to partner with our wonderful colleagues at the James A. Michener Art Museum, who share our commitment to exploring a variety of artistic expressions across creative disciplines, on this momentous endeavor.”

Among the lenders to the exhibition are: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Francis Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, Montclair Art Museum, National Academy Museum, Museum of the City of New York, National Gallery of Art, Norman Rockwell Museum, New-York Historical Society, Olana State Historic Site, Palmer Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Williams College Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, along with works from private collections, as well as several works from the HRM’s permanent collection.

Major sponsorship is made possible by a generous grant from The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts.

Related Exhibition

The HRM has the only public planetarium in Westchester County, offering shows to the public every Saturday and Sunday, and to school children Tuesday through Friday. In the Oliver J. Troster Gallery surrounding the Planetarium, the Museum will exhibit A Century of Lunar Photography and Beyond, which brings together a selection of lunar photographs from NASA, the Hastings Historical Society, the Lick Observatory Archive, and private collections. Items range from nineteenth-century astronomers John and Henry Draper’s earliest experiments—some never before seen in museums—to massive NASA mapping surveys, to high-definition digital photography from lunar orbit. This exhibition will be on view from February 8–December 15, 2019.


The Museum will co-publish a fully-illustrated, 200-page catalog with Fordham University Press and the James A. Michener Art Museum featuring five essays that explore the range of artistic responses to the moon. Authors include co-curators Laura Vookles and Bartholomew F. Bland; as well as Theodore W. Barrow, HRM Assistant Curator; Stella Paul, author of Chromaphilia: The Story of Color in Art; and Melissa Martens Yaverbaum, Executive Director, Council of American Jewish Museums. Essays will include an introduction on our fascination with the appearance of the moon and its depiction, followed by Mapping the Colors of the Moon by Paul; Romancing the Moon: The Allure of the Hudson River School Nocturne by Bland; The Moody Moon of the Gilded Age by Barrow; The Modernist Moon: Painting in Poetry and Prose by Vookles; and Imagining a Trip to the Moon by Yaverbaum.

Teaching Artist-in-Residence

Seongmin Ahn is the Teaching Artist-in-Residence for Spring 2019. During her residency, Ahn will focus on connecting Asian aesthetic traditions with contemporary expression through the universally shared experience of the moon. She will lead workshops for schools and the public in creating works of art inspired by lunar images in mediums as varied as Sumi ink painting, folded paper collage, 3-D spherical sculpture, Korean mask-making, and pencil. Participants can explore formal elements of art like texture, positive and negative space, and color contrast through traditional Asian techniques while they engage in creating unique and sometimes functional artworks.

Ahn received her B.F.A. and M.F.A. in Asian traditional painting from Seoul National University in Seoul Korea, earning her second M.F.A from Mount Royal, Maryland Institute College of Art. Ahn’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including solo shows at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE; Queens College Art Center, Flushing, NY; and the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. She has taught art classes and workshops at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the School of Visual Arts, the Queens Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Asia Society.

Related Programs

The exhibition was conceived with interdisciplinary connections in mind, from astronomy programs in the Museum’s Planetarium to film, literature, and music experiences in the galleries. Programming will include a Film Series with Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers, including screenings of Georges Melies’ A Trip to the Moon (1902), Apollo 13 (1995), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), An American Werewolf in London (1981), For All Mankind (1989), Moon (2009). The Museum will also host its first Lunar New Year event on February 24, a multicultural celebration of Year of the Pig, and will produce the premiere of a live radio play “The Flying Cloud and the Star-Filled Sky” in the Planetarium.

Tours & Talks

Saturday, February 9, 2pm
Curator’s Tour of The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art
Join Laura Vookles, Chair of the Curatorial Department, for a look at the myriad ways in which the Romantic idea of the moon has held an inexorable pull for American artists.

Sunday, February 10, 3:30pm
Sunday Scholars—Sex, Birth, Death, and the Moon: The Paradox of Female Power in Ancient Greek and Roman Myths
The moon has exerted a dynamic pull on the human imagination for millennia. After a lunar viewing under the Planetarium dome, Dr. Emily Anhalt, Professor of Classics at Sarah Lawrence College, discusses the personification of the moon in ancient Greek and Roman mythology, as well as the ways in which ancient attitudes toward girls and women are still prevalent today.

Wednesday, February 20, 3pm
Teen Talk: The Moon and Our Place in the World
Discuss and reflect on themes, topics, and philosophical questions addressed in the current exhibition The Color of the Moon, with HRM Junior Docents, then see a free Planetarium show.

Sunday, March 3, 2pm
Curator’s Tour of The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art
Look through the curatorial lens at The Color of the Moon with Bartholomew Bland, Executive Director, Lehman College Art Gallery, The City University of New York.

Sunday, March 10, 2pm
Sunday Scholars—Norman Rockwell: To the Moon and Back
Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum will discuss how, in the 1960’s, American illustrator Norman Rockwell left behind his beloved story-telling scenes for a new genre—the documentation of social issues. He had always wanted to make a difference through his art, and as a highly marketable illustrator, he had the opportunity to do so. Humor and pathos—traits that made his Saturday Evening Post covers successful—were adapted to a more direct, reportorial style that told the story of life in 1960s America.

Sunday, March 31, 2pm
Sunday Scholars—Image of the Invisible: Light and Faith in George Inness’ Moonrise Paintings
The American landscape painter George Inness (1825–1894) believed that the role of art was not to represent that which is visible to the eye but, instead, to capture the essence of nature’s invisible forces, what he called “the living motion” of nature. In this lecture, Dr. Adrienne Baxter Bell, Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College and author of George Inness and the Visionary Landscape, will explore some of the artist’s finest moonrise paintings in the context of his desire to convey the inner, spiritual forces in nature through art. These paintings help us to see that reflected light from the sun, which illuminates the moon, also alludes to the power of the invisible—in short, the power of faith.

Sunday, April 28, 2pm
Sunday Scholars—From Moonbeams to Mudflats: Thinking about Color and Art
Stella Paul, art historian, museum educator, and author of Chromaphilia: The Story of Color in Art, as well as a catalog contributor to the exhibition, will take the moon’s fluid color-shifts as a trajectory for exploring the ways we find and use color in art. Colors’ deep histories provoke passions, technologies, and mysteries.


Thursday, February 14, 6pm reception, 7pm planetarium show
Valentine’s Day Under the Stars
Make it a date to remember! Join us for a sparkling toast and light hors d’oeuvres, followed by cosmic travels in the Planetarium, revealing the many stories of love and devotion that grace our skies. Plus, moon viewing through our refracting telescope! Tickets $30; Members $25.

Friday, February 22, 7pm
Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon
Join us after hours for this classic laser show in the Planetarium. Featuring such hits as “The Great Gig in the Sky” and “Us and Them.” Running time 45 minutes. Happy hour drinks available for purchase before the show. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets: $20; Members $15.

Sunday, February 24, 12–5pm
Lunar New Year Festival
Celebrate the Year of the Pig with traditional Asian art, crafts, demonstrations, and food! The festival kicks off in dramatic fashion with Kwan’s Kung Fu of Peekskill performing the traditional Lion Dance (12pm). Then, tour The Color of the Moon exhibition with a docent (2pm), and enjoy a live performance of Balinese dance and Gamelan Gender Wayang (3pm). From 1–4pm, take part in Korean Mask Making and Lucky Pouch Folding workshops, led by Teaching Artist-in-Residence Seongmin Ahn. In addition, watch cooking demonstrations and enjoy tastings by the Korean Community Center of Tenafly, NJ, and participate in a hands-on arts and crafts workshop and learn about the social advocacy achievements and efforts of the Westchester & Hudson Valley Chapter of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates.

Sunday, March 24, 12–5 pm
Steampunk Sunday: Lunar Tendencies
An all-day festival to celebrate the moon, Steampunk style! Dolly and Birdie of Hudson Valley Steampunk return to emcee a Lunar Tendencies costume contest and will host their (in)famous Tea Dueling Battle. Denny Daniel will show off objects from his traveling Museum of Interesting Things, including a real repair crew member’s jumpsuit from the space shuttle program; music by The Professor and The Baron of Eternal Frontier; a “Steampunk Scandals” tour with Assistant Curator Ted Barrow; and Explorers Club member Justin Fornal will give a lecture on “Moonlore” with a Steampunk twist.

Friday, April 12, 7–10 pm
Yuri’s Night
Celebrate the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin, at our World Space Party! April 12 is the birthday of Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, the first person to venture into orbit. On this day we’ll be putting on a Yuri’s Night event—a celebration of humanity’s past, present, and future in space. Yuri’s Night events are held around the world on April 12, from the South Pole to the Scandinavian Arctic. At the HRM, we’ll have Planetarium shows, projects for all ages, a Vostok capsule photo op, moon-themed food, space karaoke, and more!. Tickets: $15; Members $12. Cash bar for visitors 21+.

Saturday, April 20, 12–5pm
Sky & Earth Day
Celebrate the Earth and the Sky with activities for the whole family including art & science workshops; viewings of the sun through our solar telescope (weather permitting); Habitat Earth Planetarium show (12:30 & 3:30pm), and The Sky Tonight (2pm), a live show that will focus on the difference between earth and other planets and what is needed to support life as we know it. Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University, and one of the world’s preeminent climate modeling experts, will present a lecture at 2pm on the state of climate science. What do we know about the roles of the many drivers of climate change, including solar irradiance, atmospheric chemistry, aerosols, and greenhouse gases? What does the science suggest we should do to address the changes coming our way?

Workshops & Performances

Saturday, February 9, 2–4pm
Family Art Class
Explore the many changing phases of the moon in a hands-on printmaking workshop with artist Joliana Hunter-Ellin. Design your own stamps and create striking prints of the moon. Recommended for ages 5–10.

Friday, February 15, 5–7pm
Teen Studio: Paint Night
Join artist Teresa Pereira to paint your own beautiful moon and star-filled sky. Whether you are new to painting or looking to fine tune your skills, you will learn to paint step-by-step and bring home a personal work of art. Refreshments will be included. Tickets: $5 (includes museum admission).

Saturday, March 23, 3pm
Music and Moonlight with Yolanda F. Johnson
Join one of Westchester’s favorite sopranos, Yolanda F. Johnson, for an afternoon of song inspired by the beauty and mystique of the moon. The program will include classic favorites, among them Moon River and Fly Me to the Moon, and operatic masterpieces, such as Song to the Moon from the opera Rusalka.

Sunday, April 7, 3:30pm
Mandolin on the Moon
The Chaminade Music Club presents a Mandolin Quartet chamber music concert under the dome in the Planetarium. Hear musicians from the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra on mandolin, violin, viola, and cello, led by Joyce Balint. The program features the world premiere of Mandolin on the Moon, composed by Pamela Sklar, celebrating the first manned moon landing.

For more information about our programs, visit our calendar.

Hudson River Museum Centennial

The Hudson River Museum is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019 with a series of Centennial exhibitions, programs, special events, and community outreach and invitations to commemorate this momentous occasion. Throughout the year, we will be publishing “100 Moments” from the Museum’s rich history, sharing archival images,stories, and crowd-sourced memories about the HRM on the website and social media, as well as a rotating display in the Museum Lobby.

About the Hudson River Museum

The Hudson River Museum is a preeminent cultural institution in Westchester County and the New York metropolitan area. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in Yonkers, New York, the HRM is a place where diverse communities come together and experience the power of art, science, and history.

The Museum offers engaging experiences for every age and interest, with an ever-growing collection of American art; dynamic exhibitions that range from notable nineteenth-century paintings to contemporary art installations; Glenview, an 1877 house on the National Register of Historic Places; a state-of-the-art Planetarium; an environmental teaching gallery, Hudson Riverama; and an outdoor Amphitheater. Accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM), the Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting these multidisciplinary offerings, which are complemented by an array of public programs that encourage creative expression, collaboration, and artistic and scientific discovery.

The Hudson River Museum’s general operations are supported in part by Westchester County, the City of Yonkers, the Yonkers Board of Education, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Westchester Delegation of the New York State Assembly and Senate.

Hours and Admission: The Hudson River Museum is open Wednesday–Sunday, 12–5pm. Museum Admission: Adults $8; Youth (3–18) $4; Seniors (62+) $5; Students (with valid ID) $5; Veterans $5; Children (under 3) FREE; Members FREE. Planetarium Tickets: Adults $5; Youth (3–18) $3; Seniors (62+) $4; Students (with valid ID) $4; Veterans $4; Children (under 3) FREE; Members FREE. The Museum is accessible by Metro-North, by Bee-Line Bus Route #1, by car, and by bike. Make your visit a One-Day Getaway, and buy a combined rail and admission discount ticket. Learn more about Metro-North Deals & Getaways.

About the James A. Michener Art Museum

The James A. Michener Art Museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits American art, and promotes the work of nationally and internationally known Delaware Valley artists of all eras and creative disciplines. The museum presents exhibitions that explore a variety of artistic expressions and offers diverse educational programs that develop a lifelong involvement in the arts. Throughout the year, the Michener Art Museum hosts a wide range of programs open to the public, including lectures, artists conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance performances, jazz and other musical performances, family-themed activities, and other events. The museum also offers a diverse selection of art classes for children and adults, which include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs for the public, schools, and teachers designed to support arts and STEAM education. The James A. Michener Art Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

The Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine St., Doylestown, PA. The Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday noon – 5:00 pm. For more information, visit or call (215) 340-9800.