Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roadtrip...its not what I thought either

I was off to my second ROLFING session yesterday in Gardiner. The plan was for Chris and I to head up state eventually, but he had to be in NYC to do some research for his AP Environmental class. In other words, it looked like I was going to be playing the drive 1/2 way to Albany, drive home just to pick him up, only to drive back game. It seemed like such a waste of time and resources.

 I had Chris take the train to Poughkeepsie. Now, what to do with the rest of my day?

I had been thinking about my column quite a bit after the first article got some positive feedback. I decided that I would write a major article once a month, each one about a poignant topic in the art world. I also decided to do this weekly/biweekly road trip feature where I highlight some of the interesting art venues local to New Yorkers.

Yesterday, while I was trying to solve my transportation problems, I decided to concentrate on the things in and around New Paltz. I was so excited, after rolfing I would go get a quick ski in on the ridge before heading down into town to do some research for my column. I would give me that push to finally formally visit the Dorsky museum. I was even excited about the exhibitions. The coverlets from Huguenot Street were on view, something historical that had its roots in craft rather than fine art. I don't think there should be a distinction except maybe that the craft artist thought about utilitarian needs...don't get me started I might end up with my very next article being written right on the spot. I would then tie it in with some things I think I might do today around the Saratoga area and then a plan for the High Peaks region later in the week.

It was a beautiful day on the ridge and because of that I didn't even mind skiing alone. I decided to ski Monhonk, I figured after the thoughtful well intended brutality of fixing my breathing capacity (sorry Rich) this would be a quite refuge where I didn't have to think about it much, just ski. Though the thought of Minnewaska's challenges did tempt me. I skied for about an hour, just enough to get sweaty and smelly and experience winter temps at there best by taking a baby wipe shower in a composting restroom, as if the cold air wasn't enough. I changed and headed into town, stopping at Starbucks for some tea before heading up to campus. I was pumped to see some art, be studious in the library, research the Huguenots, think creatively...I am trailing off for a reason.

I got out of the car with a giddy step, walked by the new Atrium that was added to the Student Union building, thought about how much this place had changed since I went here, all the while remaining focused about what I had to get done. I practically ran to the front door of the museum only to be stopped dead in my tracks by the sign...The Samuel Dorskey Musuem is open Wed- Sun, 11AM -5 PM. The suggested donation is $5. WHAT??? Now what was I going to do, I had 2 hours before I had to be in Poughkeepsie and despite New Paltz having this HOT Visual Arts program, it has little to offer in the line of galleries in town. UGGGH... Think, think, think...what is in Poukeepsie? Marist, Vassar... they both have galleries. Of course after I crossed the bridge I realized that I could have gone to the Unison Art Center or even to Huguenot Street.  I used my (stupid) smart phone to gather the information I needed, spent an hour trying to find the art building on the Vassar campus, with almost no one, including the security guy I talked to knew where it was (thank you Nerd guy, you have redeemed your institution of higher learning). Back to the phone, had the campus map been able to be viewed without pixelating at a larger size I would have seen that Marist has a highway called route 9 running through the campus. I thought the campus was only on the river side of the street. I finally found the Steel Plant Studios building, and a place to park without the threat of getting towed as signs warned. The building, by the way, is nicely located on route 9 with BIG BOLD LETTERS on the side of the building. Who pays attention to those kind of clues?

The exhibition I saw was interesting, worth the look, even more so when I read the artist statement. I felt though that one of the two artists could have edited his choices a bit more. This is a really large exhibition space and someone like me who works small might have a hard time with the overwhelming space, however, I think its still the responsibility of the maker to edit accordingly. It seemed like he through things in at the last minute that may not have had anything to do with his original intent? Exhibitions are not just about the artwork but about the space as well. How well can they work in concert. In this case, there was a hiccup, which was a shame considering how strong the work was.

OK, you are probably thinking that this was because the curator set it up poorly? That wasn't the feeling one got from the show. The curator actually did a wonderful job of composing. It appeared that the artist just threw in one to many similar items of varying quality, taking away from the strong statement by showing too much of the weaker work.

I managed to fetch Chris shortly after, which went off without a hitch. We took the liberty of driving to Albany on Route 9, a beautiful drive, took care of a few errands and then headed to the Public House for dinner.

I will update you on the rest of the story later, when I finally put my review of the actual artwork, venues and space into a proper perspective. Right now I am off to help my mom with her PET Scan.

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