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Moving Stars and Vanishing Houses —
Two Exhibitions Open in February at the Hudson River Museum

January 7, 2003. YONKERS, N.Y.—Opening in February at the Hudson River Museum are exhibitions featuring the motion of the stars in the heavens and the evolution of houses in Yonkers.

Raphael Vargas-Suarez Universal - Proper Motion “Pictures” February 8 - May 18

Vargas-Suarez investigates High Proper Motion of the stars and constellations with murals and drawings for the exhibition Proper Motion “Pictures.” On view from February 8 through May 18, 2003 Proper Motion “Pictures” includes circular wall drawings of the Northern and Southern hemispheres and a radial-symmetry mural of High Proper Motion covering the curvilinear wall outside the museum’s Andrus Planetarium. Vargas-Suarez installs the murals from January 13 to February 3 and the public is welcome to view the installation progress.

High Proper Motion is the movement of distant stars and constellations over millions of years. The stars move in relation to one another in three-dimensional space. Using star charts, software, graphite and acrylic, and incorporating architectural references and collaborative sound pieces, Vargas-Suarez creates an abstract, yet familiar presentation of the stars we know.

Born in Mexico City, Vargas-Suarez studied astronomy and art history at the University of Texas at Austin. He has exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States and Europe, including El Museo del Barrio, The Queens Museum of Art, Thomas Erben Gallery and galleries in Berlin and Paris. Vargas-Suarez lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

José A. Betancourt • The Lost Houses of Yonkers • February 8 - May 18

The Lost Houses of Yonkers, on view from February 8 to May 18, 2003, co-mingles nineteenth-century photographs from the Hudson River museum’s extensive collection of Yonkers homes and estates with new photographs by José A. Betancourt.

The museum’s historic images capture the splendor of Yonkers when it was emerging as a community of estates outside New York City. From these images Betancourt selected homes and then going to the homes photographed them. Some of these homes are now in ruins or altered for redevelopment, others have been restored by owners or cultural organizations. Until Betancourt arrived at a chosen home, he was unfamiliar with what it now looked like, thereby adding an element of chance to his selections. Yonkers homes in this exhibition include photographer Rudolf Eickemeyer’s, the Flagg Mansion, Alder Manor, Untermyer Park and Robin Lawn.

Betancourt photographs with an Olympus Pen FT “half-frame” camera, which doubles the number of exposures in a typical roll of 36-exposure film. The artist uses the camera’s unique properties to shoot a panoramic view by making a series of continuous shots of a site. The panoramic shots include a subtle shifting of the lens, evoking a familiar but disjointed landscape, which he calls “half seen,” because the landscape is altered by the shooting and printing process. Betancourt makes the “Half Seen” process visible for the viewer by printing the panoramic images directly from the strip of negative onto five-foot paper mounted on panels.

Born in Cuba, José Betancourt studied photography at the University of South Florida and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Hunter College of The City of New York. He has exhibited his photographs at The High Museum of Art, PS 122, The Brooklyn Anchorage and the Helsinki Subway System, Finland. Living and working in New York City, Betancourt teaches photography at The Cooper Union.




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