Hudson River Museum Presents Two Fall Exhibitions That Highlight 150 Years of Work by Women Artists and the Power of Landscape Art

Press images for Women to the Fore and Landscape Art and Virtual Travel available here and here.

Hudson River Museum announces two fall exhibitions that address issues that resonate with the current moment. Women to the Fore, which will be on view from September 18, 2020–January 3, 2021, explores and celebrates the multifaceted and diverse art works by more than forty female-identifying artists over a span of one hundred and fifty years. Landscape Art & Virtual Travel: Highlights From the Collections of the HRM & Art Bridges, on view from August 28, 2020–August 8, 2021, brings together landscape art across mediums at a time when the pandemic has restricted our travel and redefined the way we think about tourism. The exhibitions are organized by the Hudson River Museum.

“We are proud to present two new exhibitions this fall that address the challenges and the opportunities of our current reality,” says Masha Turchinsky, Director and CEO of the Hudson River Museum. “In Women to the Fore, it is especially exciting to share excellent work by contemporary local artists in juxtaposition with the forebears of feminist art. In Landscape Art and Virtual Travel, we take the opportunity to offer the public respite from these tumultuous times with a serene and thought-provoking exhibition that underscores the importance of exploration and journeys to real and imaginary places.”

Laura Vookles, Chair of the Museum’s Curatorial Department and curator of the exhibitions, states: “I welcome the opportunity these exhibitions provide to take a fresh look at our collections and consider the interaction of historical work with today’s artists, both through loans and ongoing acquisitions. We have created juxtapositions visitors might not expect, visual conversations that reward close observation and reflection.”

Women to the Fore
September 18, 2020–January 3, 2021

True to its title, Women to the Fore gives voice and space to more than forty female-identifying artists, spanning one hundred and fifty years. This exhibition—drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection as well as loans from regional artists, galleries, and collectors—focuses on the rich diversity and range of expression in a group of artists working in paintings and drawings, prints and photographs, collage, and sculpture. While some artists are internationally recognized, a strong new contingent is now emerging, whose names and talents warrant being known. The installation will gather and compare works from different eras and media and will include interpretation that stems from the artists’ own words.

Artists on view from the collection include Berenice Abbott, Denise Allen, Hannelore Baron, Isabel Bishop, Harriet Blackstone, Ebony Bolt, Judy Chicago, Rose Clark, Joséphine Douet, Camille Eskell, Audrey Flack, Nancy Graves, Susan Hall, Susan Leopold, Evelyn Longman, Marisol, Ann McCoy, Barbara Morgan, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Merle Perlmutter, Ellen Robbins, Yvonne Thomas, and Susan Wides. Artists represented by loans to the exhibition are Seongmin Ahn, Vinnie Bagwell, Shanequa Benitez, Mary Cassatt, Mary Frank, Mary Frey, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, Judy Giera, Amaryllis De Jesus Moleski, Ola Rondiak, Helen Searle, Tuesday Smillie, Julia Santos Solomon, Jessica Spence, Lilly Martin Spencer, Bessie Potter Vonnoh, Elizabeth Flint Wade, and Anna Walinska.

The Museum commissioned Yonkers-based artists Nancy Mendez, Patricia Santos, and Katori Walker, known for their street murals throughout the city, to paint a collaborative mural, which was supported in part by ArtsWestchester. Entitled The Garden of The Divine Feminine, the mural is inspired by the artists’ own public art practice and expression of identity. During the course of the exhibition, the Museum will provide opportunities in the galleries, in our bucolic Courtyard, and online to welcome public participation and to ensure that many perspectives are presented for consideration.

In 2020, many people and institutions are taking stock of the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment. At the HRM, we celebrate those important strides, while simultaneously recognizing where that amendment notably failed to offer equal voting rights for all American women. Women are still fighting for freedom, and art is a powerful tool to help us see the complexity of their lives and ideas. Female-identifying artists have distinguished themselves by working persistently within an oppressive patriarchal system and by rebelling against this status quo. With each succeeding generation, they have created work that raises awareness of interdependent systems of discrimination and how to make productive change. Today, feminist art history has expanded to embrace intersectionality: the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender.

While no single exhibition can cover such a multifaceted story, the artists in Women to the Fore challenge the dominant textbook history of American art and expand our definition of feminist art history by advocating for diversity, inclusion, and gender equity in museums, the art world, and beyond. In the nineteenth century, still life was one of the only subjects considered “appropriate” for women. Since then, artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Ebony Bolt, and Joséphine Douet have expanded the boundaries of that genre to become shepherds and observers of nature, urban environs, and cycles of life. Redefining women’s roles as nurturers, caregivers, and community advocates motivates Vinnie Bagwell, Tuesday Smillie, and Jessica Spence, who look to their own experiences to express a broad range of personal connections. A number of artists champion women as agents of exploration into the interrelation of sex, gender, race, and ethnicity in modern society, including Judy Chicago, Judy Giera, Marisol, and Shanequa Benitez. Reflection upon homelands and movement across borders is a major concern of Seongmin Ahn, Julia Santos Solomon, and Ola Rondiak. Across the spectrum of these themes, in many cases, the art is political, in ways both overt and subversive.

The exhibition is co-curated by Laura Vookles, Chair of the HRM’s Curatorial Department, and Victoria McKenna-Ratjen, Curatorial Assistant.

The exhibition will be featured on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #WomenToTheFore.

Landscape Art and Virtual Travel: Highlights From the Collections of the HRM and Art Bridges
August 28, 2020–August 8, 2021

At a time when the pandemic has forced us to redefine tourism, Landscape Art and Virtual Travel celebrates artists’ striking ability to transport us to real and imaginary places. Experiencing nature—including through images—benefits us emotionally and physically, demonstrating just one of the ways in which art has a uniquely beneficial impact on our lives. The exhibition also demonstrates some of the ways in which Native Americans, African Americans, and other marginalized people have successfully and potently staked their claim in the face of historic denial of ownership and connection to American soil.

American landscape paintings have always been intertwined with explorations of the great outdoors. In the mid-nineteenth century, many artists meditated on the sublimity of nature, whether gazing at the Hudson River’s Palisades or embarking on a far-ranging tour. Landscape painters brought distant places into the homes of their patrons and, popularized in books and prints, landscape art inspired a growing middle class to travel to these destinations. Artists continue to bring the world to us and send us out on our own adventures to this day. As a city-based museum overlooking the magnificent scenery of the lower Hudson River, we use our unique location as a lens to look more closely at people and their environments.

Landscape Art and Virtual Travel features two new loans from Art Bridges: Cynthia Daignault’s Light Atlas and David Hockney’s 15 Canvas Study of the Grand Canyon. Daignault’s epic Light Atlas, 2016, began as a drawing. The artist traced the route she would take on a road map, snaking a thin pencil along the outside border of the continental United States. Then she drove the loop, on blue highways and backroads, avoiding interstates and stopping every few miles to get out of the car—look, paint, walk, or just sit. Traveling over 30,000 miles, across forests, deserts, mountains, and fields, she followed the road for a year. The result is Daignault’s most ambitious work to date: 360 paintings, one for each degree of the circle she traveled. Light Atlas chronicles the view every 25 miles around the country. Humanist and non-hierarchical, no single canvas stands above any other and significance rises only from the meaningful whole.

The work was inspired by the artist’s realization that she could name 100 men who roamed the country to create canonical works that have defined America, yet she could not name one such woman. At a moment when inequity is at the center of the American public discourse, Daignault wanted to assert her own rights to agency and opinion—to move freely through the country and to voice a comprehensive thesis on its identity. “Not just a room of one’s own anymore,” she explains, “but a whole world.”

British artist David Hockney, whose work, 15 Canvas Study of the Grand Canyon, shows the artist’s fascination with the idea of space and how we perceive it. This fascination was, in part, what led him to follow in the footsteps of artists such as Hudson River School painter Thomas Moran, whose work is also featured in the exhibition. In the late 1990s, Hockney traveled to the American West to paint the Grand Canyon, leaving out himself and other visitors to let the viewer of his artwork connect with the vast unpopulated landform he depicted.

The exhibition ushers in the third year of our partnership with Art Bridges, which facilitates the sharing of outstanding works of American art and supports partner institutions in expanding and deepening their connection with audiences. These important loans offer rich potential for dialogue with nineteenth- to twenty-first-century paintings, prints, and sculpture from the Museum’s collection.

The works in the exhibition shed light on the power of art to influence ideas and actions and the process by which these precious lands might be protected and include works by nineteenth century Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, and Marie Louise Brevoort. Several juxtapositions in the exhibition demonstrate the ways in which Native Americans and African Americans have historically been denied ownership and connection to American soil. Contemporary photographer Jeremy Dennis, whose work is on loan to the Museum, documents scenic places on Long Island that are culturally important to him and the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

Works created by artists during the twentieth century represent modern takes on landscape. In Map of the Frenglish Kingdom of Novum Eboracum (New York) (We All Got To Have a Place We Call Home), Frohawk Two Feathers imagines an alternative colonial history of the Hudson Valley, which reminds us that the underlying message of many Hudson River School landscapes was a sense of White ownership. And incorporating materials found in nature as her canvas, Alison Moritsugu prompts us to explore the precarious relationship between humans and the environment. Richard Mayhew describes his paintings as “Moodscapes,” which do not represent actual locations, but are deeply informed by a sense of natural spaces and history born of Mayhew’s African American and Native American ancestry. The watercolor paintings by both Don Nice, Mt. Hook, and James McElhinney, Yonkers From State Line Park, reflect the artists’ deeply personal experiences of the Hudson River Valley. And Jordan Matter’s exuberant Vista updates the classic element of Hudson River School paintings of a figure on a journey, or paused in admiration of surrounding scenery, to transport us to the present spot on which his subject stands.

The exhibition will be featured on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #HRMVirtualTravel.

Support provided by Art Bridges.

Related Programs

Wednesday, September 30, 5pm
Teen Art Project LIVE: Rework, Remix, Renew
Learn about contemporary Dominican artist Julia Santos Solomon, featured in the exhibition Women to the Fore, as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. In this virtual workshop, hear about Julia’s creative practice, and incorporate her method of taking inspiration from past artists and artworks to create deeply personal works and new narratives of your own. All you need is a paper and pencil, and your ideas about your favorite artists or works of art. Recommended for ages 12+. Registration required.

Saturday, October 3, 1:30pm (Rain date October 10)
Salsa Takes You There!
Here in New York, Salsa has its roots in the Cuban and American jazz dance styles of the 1950s, with a distinctly Puerto Rican sound blended with Latin Hustle. It can be practiced with or without a partner. Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and tune in to a special HRM lesson with Dariusz Horvath-Krol of “Dancing with Dariusz,” a highly skilled practitioner of international dance styles, who has been dancing and competing for 20 years, performed and worked with Dancing With The Stars professionals, and received multiple Top Pro and Top Teacher awards. Every journey begins with a single step, and the energetic footwork of Salsa will take you there in a hurry!

Wednesday, October 7, 1:30pm
A Virtual Tour of Landscape Art & Virtual Travel
Join Curator Laura Vookles and artist Marcia Clark, whose work Butterville Road Intersection is featured in the exhibition Landscape Art & Virtual Travel: Highlights from the Collections of the HRM & Art Bridges, as they walk us through select objects in the exhibition—from the point of view of a curator and of an artist deeply immersed in the depiction of landscape and its spatial aspects.

Sunday, October 11, 1:30pm
Virtual Tour of Women to the Fore: Women Depicting Themselves
This tour will explore intersecting themes and reflections of Women to the Fore, ranging from the representation of still life, nature, and life cycles, to portraiture and the ways that female-identifying artists have depicted their experiences and their bodies. Join Laura Vookles, Chair of the HRM’s Curatorial Department, for an introduction to these themes as we look through the lens—or at the mirror—of how some of the artists choose to represent themselves and the world around them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2pm, (Rain date: October 21, 2pm)
American Soundscapes: River to Canyon
A concert celebrating nature and a diverse group of female American composers, including Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, and Amy Beach, that transports us through the landscape, presented by the HRM and the Yonkers Chaminade Club, featuring Metropolitan Opera Soprano Korliss Uecker, with Jerry Grossman on cello, Christopher Oldfather on keyboard, and principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera, Anton Rist. The concert will take place in the HRM Courtyard, overlooking the majestic Hudson River and the Palisades. Please bring your own chair or blanket, to be set up at socially distanced intervals; Masks are required. Sponsored by Yonkers Chaminade Club.

Sunday, October 18, 2pm
The Gilded Age Grand Tours of Feminist Artist Eliza Pratt Greatorex
Join Dr. Katherine Manthorne, author of Restless Enterprise: The Life and Art of Eliza Pratt Greatorex (University of California Press, 2020), in this virtual tour as she traces the travels of a woman who was considered to be among “the greatest American women in history,” but has long been forgotten. Once described as “the first artist of her sex,” the enterprising Greatorex emigrated from Ireland, became a leader in the American women’s movement of the 19th century, and went on to document her time in New York, Munich, Paris, Britain, Ireland, Morocco, Colorado, and France through her landscape paintings, drawings, and prints.

 

Image: Julia Santos Solomon (American, b. Dominican Republic, 1956). Caribbean Thoughts Mashup, 2019. Digital print on metal. Courtesy of the artist.

 

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Hudson River Museum (hrm.org) 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’s mission is to engage, inspire, and connect diverse communities through the power of the arts, sciences, and history.

The Museum offers engaging experiences for nearly 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; 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.

Hours and Admission: Hudson River Museum is open Thursday–Sunday, 12–5pm. Advanced tickets recommended: Timed-entry tickets and advance reservations are encouraged for admission to the Museum. We are strictly limiting capacity to 40 visitors at a time, and will be requiring visitors and staff to wear face masks, adhere to social-distancing guidelines, use hand sanitizer upon entry to the Museum, and follow a set, one-way route. Learn more about the new protocols and precautions and purchase tickets at hrm.org/visit.

General Admission: Adults $8; Youth (3–18) $4; Seniors (62+) $5; Students (with valid ID) $5; Veterans $5; Children (under 3) FREE; Members FREE. The Museum is accessible by Metro-North (Hudson Line—Yonkers and Glenview stations), 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.