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I WANT Candy: The Sweet Stuff in American Art

Exhibition Dates: June 16 – September 2, 2007

YONKERS, NY. February 20, 2007, Americans hunger for sweet things and twentieth-century mass marketing has turned American artists’ attention to candy, the “forbidden fruit” in the exhibition I WANT Candy: The Sweet Stuff in American Art at the Hudson River Museum from June 16 through September 2, 2007. Organized by the Hudson River Museum, I WANT Candy examines the attractions and the tempting representations of a sweet tableau.

In her famous quote about the aesthetic joys of colored sugar, Simone de Beauvoir speaks to the enduring appeal of the food of decadence, frivolity, and abandonment:

  I would stand transfixed before the windows of the confectioners' shops, fascinated by the luminous sparkle of candied fruits, the cloudy lustre of jellies, the kaleidoscope inflorescence of acidulated fruit drops -- red, green, orange, violet: I coveted the colors themselves as much as the pleasure they promised me.

That desire so inherent in Beauvoir’s longing vision of sweets runs through most of the contemporary artworks in this exhibition. American artists’ fascination with the seductive lure of candy has increased dramatically since the 1960s when Pop Art began to challenge the severity of Modernism. Many of the works on view represent a return to figurative work and are indebted to Pop’s embrace of kitsch. In Will Cotton’s Candy Curls, 2005, a modern-day Marie Antoinette’s headdress is literally transformed into a cornucopia of spiraling peppermint sticks topped by an ice-cream cone hat.

This easygoing decadence has not always pervaded American art. Perhaps uncomfortable with the sensual visual and gustatory pleasures of sugar, candy appears infrequently in 19 th-century still life. A few artists such as Raphaelle Peale and Joseph Decker incorporate the beauty of sugar into their work but always in keeping with their restrained aesthetic style, which does not suggest careless abundance to a somewhat puritanical American audience.

The menu has changed and so have artists’ perceptions. In paintings, watercolor and sculpture, I WANT Candy explores their work through the themes of Sweet Tableau: The Still Life Tradition; Candyland: The Innocence of Childhood; Sugar: The Food of Desire, Too Sweet: The Cavity of Consumerism and The Witch’s Abode: Candy as Canvas.

Contemporary artists in the exhibition include:Becca Albee, Julie Allen, Peter Anton, John Baeder, Barton Lidice Benes, Mindy Best, Morgan Bulkeley, Neil Christensen, Orly Cogan, Sharon Core, Will Cotton, Cindy Craig, James Del Grosso, Marylyn Dintenfass, Dan Douke, Travis Conrad Erion, Emily Eveleth Janet Fish, Audrey Flack, Cara Wood Ginder, Ralph Goings, Susan Graham, Red Grooms, Kirsten Hassenfeld, Bruce Helander, Richard Hickam, Ruth Grace Jervis, Zane Lewis, Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand, Melissa Martens, Kim Mendenhall, Don Nice, Patricia Nix,Brendan O’  Connell,  John Salvest, Masaaki Sato, Jessica Schwind, Beverly Shipko, Tjalf Sparnaay, Wayne Thiebaud, and Stephanie Jaffe Werner.

The exhibition is organized at the Hudson River Museum by Bartholomew F. Bland, Exhibitions Curator.

I WANT Candy: The Sweet Stuff in American Art has been made possible by a givve from Domino Sugar.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog published by the Hudson River Museum and will be available in the Hudson River Museum Gift Shop.

The largest oldest and largest museum in Westchester County, the Hudson River Museum is a multi-disciplinary cultural complex that draws its identity from its site on the banks of the Hudson River, and seeks to broaden the cultural horizons of all its visitors. It engages in the presentation of exhibitions, programs, teaching initiatives, research, collection, preservation, and conservation – a wide range of activities that interpret its collections, interests and communities.

The Hudson River Museum is located at 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers NY. minutes from the Saw Mill River Parkway, exit 9, north or southbound
Information and directions: 914.963.4550 and
Museum admission: Adults $5; Seniors 62 & older and children 5-16  $3. Fridays 5 to 8 pm to galleries and the planetarium free




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