Upstate Art Weekend 2021, Bigger and Better

Installation view of Hiba Schahbaz: Garden at STONELEAF RETREAT in Kingston, all photos by Paul Laster

By PAUL LASTER, September 2021

After making a splash with a selection of fascinating art events that pulled us out of lockdown and got us back on the road last summer, Upstate Art Weekend came back even bigger and better this year. Founded by Helen Toomer of Stoneleaf Retreat in 2020, the three-day event was organized to celebrate the cultural vibrancy of Upstate New York. This summer 61 sculpture parks, museums, galleries, artists’ studios, residencies, public artworks and creative projects situated on both side of the Hudson River between Garrison and Chatham participated in the energetic event. 

Journeying Upstate on Thursday morning before the kick-off of Upstate Art Weekend’s programmed events, independent curator Renée Riccardo and I picked up a rental car in White Plains and headed north to the Hessel Museum of Art, where we caught two lively group exhibitions, “With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985” and “Closer to Life: Drawings and Works on Paper in the Marieluise Hessel Collection,” before traveling on to Kingston, where we had rented a stylish apartment from two local artists for a four-day stay.

Rising early on Friday morning, we toured south to Dia Beacon to catch the recently opened Imi Knoebel and Charlotte Posenenske installations and revisit other favorite works in the institution’s outstanding collection. The next stop was the Beacon galleries, where Fridman Gallery was showing Milford Graves, Basil Kincaid and Sahana Ramakrishnan in the group show “Beyond Binaries;” Mother Gallery paired Carl D'Alvia with Marcy Hermansader in “Thinking of Things Inside;” and Ethan Cohen Gallery was presenting “Africa on my Mind” along with a solo by Basmat Levin and other solo and group exhibitions at the KuBe Art Center, a combination of studios and exhibition spaces in a former school.

From Beacon we crossed over the Hudson River to the new Barns Art Center, where the food-themed exhibition “Tasting Menu” was having its opening reception and launching Upstate Art Weekend, and then crossed back to the western side of the river to view installations of paintings, sculptures and digital works by Jeila Gueramian, Kristen Schiele and Maryann Strandell at ArtPort Kingston and Dike Blair and Arlene Shechet at Airfield. The last stop of the day was Stoneleaf Retreat, where Hiba Schahbaz, Christopher Thomas Campbell and others created site-specific installations in the artist residency’s pastoral realm.

After shopping at the Kingston Farmers Market on Saturday morning, we drove to Catskill for NADA x Foreland’s dynamic exhibition of works by more than 100 artists presented by 81 exhibitors and the Rachel Uffner Gallery and Mrs. spirited takeover of Foreland’s ground floor space before crossing the river again to Kinderhook, where we caught the colorful, Helen Molesworth-curated “Feedback” exhibition at The School and made a studio visit with friend and artist Donna Moylan. Heading into Hudson, we saw solo and two-person shows by Brenda Goodman, David Humphrey, Julie Evans and Katia Santibañez and James Siena at Pamela Salisbury Gallery; Reginald Madison at September; and Christopher Fitzwater and Arnie Zimmerman at Tanja Grunert. Not quite done for the day, we headed to Chatham for “The Subject is The Line,” curated by Moylan at Thompson-Giroux Gallery, and Germantown for “Subliminal Horizons: Part 2,” curated by Alvin Hall, at Alexander Gray Associates, before settling down to dinner at The Corner, the farm-to-table restaurant at Brice and Helen Marden’s Hotel Tivoli.

Traveling further north on Sunday, we visited artist Jenny Kemp’s studio in Troy before seeing three sensational solo shows at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs—"Ellsworth Kelly: Postcards,” “Sarah Cain: Enter the Center” and “Nicole Cherubini: Shaking the Trees.” On our way back to Kingston to relax, prior to a Monday morning return to White Plains and then on to Brooklyn, we caught outdoor installations by Jean Shin and Portia Munson at Olana, the former home and studio of painter Frederic Church, whose Hudson Valley landscapes helped turn the area into a hotbed for artists—one which it certainly continues to be today. WM

Kim MacConnel in With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 at the Hessel Museum of Art in Annandale-on-Hudson

Al Loving in With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 at the Hessel Museum of Art in Annandale-on-Hudson

Betty Woodman and Ree Morton in the exhibition With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 at the Hessel Museum of Art in Annandale-on-Hudson

Cady Noland in Closer to Life: Drawings and Works on Paper in the Marieluise Hessel Collection at the Hessel Museum of Art in Annandale-on-Hudson

Imi Knoebel at Dia Beacon

Installation view of Charlotte Posenenske at Dia Beacon

Basil Kincaid and Sahana Ramakrishnan in Beyond Binaries at Fridman Gallery in Beacon

Carl D’Alvia at Mother Gallery in Beacon

Installation view of Total Immersion: Basmat Levin at Ethan Cohen Gallery at The KuBe Art Center in Beacon

Installation view of Africa on my Mind at Ethan Cohen Gallery at The KuBe Art Center in Beacon

Installation view of Africa on my Mind at Ethan Cohen Gallery at The KuBe Art Center in Beacon

Installation view of Tasting Menu at The Barns Art Center in Hopewell Junction

Installation view of Tasting Menu at The Barns Art Center in Hopewell Junction

Installation view of Kristen Schiele: Little Devils at ArtPort Kingston

Installation by Jeila Gueramian at ArtPort Kingston

Installation view of Maryann Strandell: Breezeway at ArtPort Kingston

Installation view of Dike Blair and Arlene Shechet at Airfield in Kingston

Installation view of Hiba Schahbaz: Garden at STONELEAF RETREAT in Kingston

Christopher Thomas Campbell, presented by Practice in Paradise, at STONELEAF RETREAT in Kingston

Meghan Brady and Bianca Beck presented by Rachel Uffner Gallery and Mrs. at Foreland in Catskill

Roberto Visani, presented by Geary Contemporary, and Nurya Chana, presented at HiLo Art, at NADA x Foreland in Catskill

Robert Thiele, presented by Emerson Dorsch Gallery, and Daniel Giordano, presented by Will Aballe Art Projects, at NADA x Foreland in Catskill

Hugo Montoya, presented by Camp Eternal Hell Chamber, at NADA x Foreland in Catskill

Keith Simpson, presented by Fort Makers, at NADA x Foreland in Catskill

Fernand Leger, presented by The School, in front of the Kinderhook Reformed Dutch Church

Tyler Mitchell in Feedback, curated by Helen Molesworth, at The School in Kinderhook

Karon Davis and Lauren Halsey in Feedback, curated by Helen Molesworth, at The School in Kinderhook

Sanford Biggers in Feedback, curated by Helen Molesworth, at The School in Kinderhook

Kerry James Marshall in Feedback, curated by Helen Molesworth, at The School in Kinderhook

Kohshin Finley, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and Kerry James Marshall in Feedback, curated by Helen Molesworth, at The School in Kinderhook

Donna Moylan’s studio in Kinderhook

Reginald Madison: Homegrown at September in Hudson

Katia Santibañez at Pamela Salisbury Gallery in Hudson

James Siena at Pamela Salisbury Gallery in Hudson

 David Humphrey at Pamela Salisbury Gallery in Hudson

Julie Evans at Pamela Salisbury Gallery in Hudson

Brenda Goodman at Pamela Salisbury Gallery in Hudson

Christopher Fitzwater at Tanja Grunert in Hudson

Arnie Zimmerman at Tanja Grunert in Hudson

 Michael Scott and Tamara Zahaykevich in The Subject is The Line, curated by Donna Moylan, at Thompson-Giroux Gallery in Chatham 

Kianja Strobert in Subliminal Horizons: Part 2, curated by Alvin Hall, at Alexander Gray Associates in Germantown 

Helen Marden and Francesco Clemente at Hotel Tivoli 

Jenny Kemp’s studio in Troy

Installation view of Ellsworth Kelly: Postcards at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs 

Ellsworth Kelly: Postcards at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs 

Installation view of Sarah Cain: Enter the Center at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs 

Installation view of Nicole Cherubini: Shaking the Trees (with Meg Lipke) at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs 

Portia Munson at Olana in Hudson

Installation view of Jean Shin: Fallen at Olana in Hudson

Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.

 

 

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