past Exhibitions

2001 – 2003

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BFA/MFA Student Thesis Exhibitions
December 5 – 17, 2003

Alice Neel's Feminist Portraits: Women Artists, Writers, Activists and Intellectuals
October 14 – November 23, 2003

Alice Neel appeared to burst on the scene in the 1970s with her riveting portraits of public figures like her towering image of Bella Abzug (1975). Despite being a regular in New York City's art world in the 1930s, it wasn't until the 1970s that Neel began to gain mainstream visibility when her colorful life story, ebullient personality, and passion about showing her work began to attract the media's attention. The increased attention paid to Neel and her work in the 1970s is attributed commonly to the rise of Second Wave feminism, an association made explicit through Neel's outspoken activism in support of women's rights. In fact, Neel had an ambivalent and rather complex relationship to feminism that is evident in her portraits of leftist women artists, intellectuals, and writers and in the other portraits of women she painted and drew from the 1930s to the 1980s. Neel portrayed some of the most interesting and compelling American women of the twentieth-century. In some of her portraits of ordinary women (whom she met on the street or who were her neighbors and friends), Neel explored such chronic female hardships as domestic violence, child abuse, and poverty. She also frequently explored race and class differences between women and was consistently critical of white privilege, often through the use of parody and humor, in ways that contemporary feminists have only recently begun to explore. By looking closely at Neel's portraits of women as a category of their own, we can uncover this neglected legacy of her work and gain a more complex understanding of Neel's politics and relationship to feminism.

-Adapted from Denise Bauer, "Alice Neel's Feminist and Leftist Portraits of Women," Feminist Studies (Summer 2002), pp. 375-76.

This exhibition is held in association with Women and Social Action, the 2003 Women's Studies conference at the State University of New York, New Paltz.

View the Alice Neel Catalogue *

The Photographs of James Van Der Zee
October 15 – November 23, 2003

For over 60 years, African American photographer James Van Der Zee (1886-1983) worked in obscurity as he made a visual record of life in New York City's Harlem neighborhood. Through his sensitive and moving images, he captured the likes of both the famous and the ordinary residents of this community. His meticulous darkroom techniques allowed him to not only present his community at its best for posterity but to add a psychological and ethereal dimension to many of his everyday images. This exhibition of over 30 of Van Der Zee's photographs will open on October 15 and run through November 23, 2003.

Utopia/Post-Utopia: Conceptual Photography and Video From Cuba
July 12 – August 10, 2003

Nine photographers and video artists on the cutting edge of the Cuban art scene exhibit their work in Utopia/Post-Utopia: Conceptual Photography and Video from Cuba. An illustrated catalogue with essays by guest curator, Helaine Posner and art critic, Eugenio Vald's Figueroa are inlcuded in the publication. The nine artists included are: Tania Bruguera, Ra'l Cordero, Carlos Garaicoa, Luis Gomez, Ernesto Leal, Elsa Mora, Ren' Pe'a, Manuel Pina, and Sandra Ramos.

Out of the Studio: Hudson Valley Artists 2003
June 21 – August 10, 2003

Each summer, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz mounts an exhibition of emerging, mid-career, or under-recognized Hudson Valley artists. This year, several prominent and established artists in the New Paltz area have been asked to recommend an artist who lives and works in the region for exhibition. For this look at contemporary Hudson Valley artists, the painter Jake Berthot of Accord selected the painter Ruth Leonard of Cairo; the photographer Lynn Davis of Hudson chose the photographer Chad Kleitsch of Rhinebeck; the painter Al Held of Boiceville nominated the painter Gene Benson of New Paltz; the painter Al Loving of Kerhonkson picked the painter Ralph Fleming of Kerhonkson; the sculptor Judy Pfaff of Kingston designated the photographer Laura Gail Tyler of Tivoli; and the sculptor Martin Puryear of Accord proposed the sculptor and painter Jonah Meyer of Kingston. The 2003 Hudson Valley Artists exhibition will be on view this summer from June 21 through August 10, 2003, and will re-open during the fall semester from August 27 to September 25, 2003.

Bolton Coit Brown: A Retrospective
April 5 – June 15, 2003

Bolton Coit Brown and the Woodstock Legacy
Bolton Coit Brown (1864–1936) was a remarkable man, driven by a single-minded obsession to excel at and master whatever he undertook to accomplish. This determination and ambition first manifested itself during his undergraduate and graduate studies at Syracuse University, and later in his position administering the art program at Stanford University in California (1891–1902), where, in addition to his fame as a teacher, he earned national recognition as a skilled mountaineer. It was one hundred years ago that, on behalf of Ralph Whitehead, a wealthy Englishman who was seeking to establish a utopian Arts and Crafts community, Bolton Brown left California in search of the perfect location. Poet Hervey White, creating the triumvirate of utopians that would eventually establish the Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony in Woodstock, New York, soon joined Whitehead and Brown.

Bolton Brown

Brown left California in the winter of 1902, and traveled east ultimately arriving in Windham, New York, a small town north of Woodstock. From there he set out, primarily on foot, to explore the Catskill Mountains. After what is described in his journals as a challenging and arduous journey (even for a mountaineer of his experience and skill) he eventually found himself on the north side of Mount Overlook (in Woodstock), which he recognized immediately as the site, he was searching for. It was there that according to Brown "that the story of modern Woodstock really begins."

In 1915, at the age of 50, Brown went to England to learn lithography, which he essentially taught himself. His quest for perfection led him to design and fabricate his own rollers, crayons, and graining techniques, all in service of his demanding artistic vision. He approached his chosen craft with what is best described as a missionary zeal. It was Brown's intention to resurrect in America the long-revered European tradition of expressive printmaking and the central role of the "master printer" in that process. Brown's intense personal investigation into lithography as an artist and a technician led to his authoring two books on the subject, inventing formulas for more than 500 crayons, and developing morel than 50 different techniques to prepare stones, which allowed the artist control over the medium heretofore not available.

It is his unique artistic and technical contributions to American printmaking that has created the impressive legacy that rightfully earns Bolton Coit Brown long overdue recognition. On the occasion of the centenary of the founding of the Byrdcliffe Arts and Crafts Colony, it seems fitting that we honor Bolton Coit Brown and celebrate his long overlooked and under appreciated contributions to American art history, and once again bring his work before the public to be critically addressed, shared, and appreciated. It is Brown's unique and formidable contributions to American printmaking, as well as the seminal role that he played in bringing the arts to Woodstock, that first captured my interest in the artist and which ultimately became the primary impetus for this exhibition.

BFA/MFA Student Thesis Exhibitions
April 26 – May 21, 2003

Museum Open House
Saturday March 8, 2003
2-3 p.m Raoul Hague's Sculptures: A Conversation with David Levi Strauss, Michael Brenson, and Gillian Jagger
3-4 p.m. Prisonation: A gallery talk by painter Sandow Birk
4-5 p.m. Reception to welcome Dr. Karl Willers, curator, to the staff of the SDMA

Faculty Art
February 12 – April 13, 2003

Reanimating Matter: Raoul Hague's Sculptures and Robert Frank's Photographs
January 23 – March 9, 2003

A comprehensive survey exhibition featuring Hague's large-scale abstract sculptures carved from tree trunk., along with photographs of the work and artist by Robert Frank Hague's interaction with the massive trees that were his chosen material resulted in a compelling body of in-the-round sculpture inspired by both nature and the human body.

Sandow Birk: Incarcerated
January 29 – March 9, 2003

Landscape paintings depicting sites of New York State maximum security prisons.

B.F.A./M.F.A. Student Thesis Exhibitions
December 6 – 11, 2002
December 13 – 18, 2002

Group exhibitions of work by students graduating with Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees.

Reading Objects 2002
October 30 – December 22, 2002

An interdisciplinary collection-based exhibition featuring selections from the museum's world study collection accompanied by interpretive label copy created by faculty from departments and schools across the campus. Faculty participants include Elisa D'vila, Simone Federman, Phyllis R. Freeman, Linda Greenow, Susan Ingalls Lewis, Ann Lovett, Douglas C. Maynard, Rose Rudnitski, Kristin Rauch, Jan Zlotnik Schmidt, John Sharp, Stacie Swingel Nunes, Richard J. Reif, Pauline Uchmanowicz, John Vander Lippe, and Sheila Yoshpe.

Andre Ruellan: Selected Drawings
October 12 – December 20, 2002

Drawings done in a variety of media, spanning a creative legacy of almost 50 years (1920-1970), by the Woodstock-based painter.

Complexity: Art and Complex Systems *
September 14 – November 24, 2002
A group exhibition organized by Ellen K. Levy and Philip Galanter

Complexity is the second major museum exhibition about complex systems. It creates bridges across many branches of science and also offers a revolutionary intellectual vector that has ramifications for other disciplines such as art and philosophy.

Included are prescient early works by Hans Haacke and Steina Vasulka that anticipated current science, plus contemporary works by Mauro Annunziato, Manuel Baez, Jonathan Callan, Remo Campopiano, Guy Marsden & Jonathan Schull, Nancy Chunn, Janet Cohen, Philip Galanter, Frank Gillette, David Goldes, Paul Hertz, Ellen K. Levy, Brian Lytel, Daro Montag, Jack Ox, Daniel Reynolds, Marianne Selsjord, John Simon Jr., Karl Sims, Nell Tenhaaf, and Leo Villareal.

Past to Present: Recent Acquisitions, Promised Gifts, and Selected Loans 1998 – 2002
June 22 – September 20, 2002

In Defense of America: Photographs by David Graham
June 22 – September 20, 2002

A haunting, beautiful, and at time humorous photographic portrait of the nuclear test sites at Frenchman and Yucca Flats, Nevada. Graham created the portfolio in 1988 to accompany a congressional report on the relative safety of contemporary nuclear weapons testing techniques in the United States.

Don Porcaro: Oracle
Leslie Wayne: Love In the Afternoon
August 3 – September 20, 2002

A collaborative installation juxtaposing Porcaro's sculpture with Wayne's paintings.

W. Eugene Smith: Selections from the Classic Photographic essays
June 22 – July 27, 2002

Hudson Valley Artists 2002
June 22 – August 23, 2002

The museum's annual regional juried exhibition, featuring the work of emerging and mid-career artists living and working in the mid-Hudson Valley and Catskill region.
Juror: Sydney O. Jenkins, Director, The Galleries at Ramapo College, New Jersey

Center for Photography at Woodstock: 25 Years of Imaging
June 22 – August 23
, 2002

A series of three student curated exhibitions developed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Center for Photography at Woodstock (originally, the Catskill Center for Photography). These thematic exhibitions feature work by regional artists represented in the collection, which came to the SDMA in 1995 through the creation of a community-based partnership with CPW.

BFA/MFA Thesis exhibitions
May 4 – 22, 2002

Leonore Schwarz Neumaier: A Voice Silenced
April 6 – May 18, 2002

This exhibition depicts the life of the Viennese-born Frankfurt opera singer, Leonore Schwarz Neumaier, who was killed by the Nazis at Majdanek concentration camp in Poland in 1942.

The story is told with photographs of Leonore Schwarz in the roles she sang with opera companies in Graz, Nuremberg, Magdeburg, and Frankfurt am Main. The exhibition is augmented with interpretive works, documents, and a collection of family snapshots taken by her son John which reflect the values and experiences of a young Jewish boy growing up in Nazi Germany. There are also opera posters and programs of concerts organized by Jewish groups in the 1930s after the Hitler regime forced the isolation of Jewish artists.

A VOICE SILENCED was created by Diane Leonore Neumaier, professor of art at Rutgers University, in collaboration with her father, Dr. John J. Neumaier, emeritus professor of philosophy and former president of the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Click here for more information.

B.F.A./M.F.A. Student Thesis Exhibitions
April 26 – May 22, 2002

At the end of each semester, students graduating with Bacherlor of Fine Arts or Master of Fine Arts degrees exhibit art work created as part of their thesis projects in the museum's west wing. Exhibitions are designed and installed by the students, under the supervision of the Curator of Exhibitions and the museum Preparator. Works from the following options are included: Ceramics, Graphic Design, Metals, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, as well as multi-media installlations.

Lesley Dill: A Ten Year Survey
March 9 – April 21, 2002

It is impossible to categorize Lesley Dill. She is at once a painter, printmaker, sculptor, photographer, and performance artist. Working both small and large, she shifts with ease from the intimacy of a book to the far more public format of a billboard. But no matter what the size or medium, Dill continues to explore the elusive boundaries between mind, body, and spirit. One of the most identifiable facets of her work is the way she examines the function of language and its relationship to the physical. In 1990 Dill was given a book of Emily Dickinson's poems and, for her, it was like a revelation. Since then, language has played a major role in her artwork. Words, at times legible and at times illegible, spill from mouths, are written across bodies, and cascade from body parts. Language bridges the private world of thought with the public discourse of shared experience, and Dill uses it in combination with image to evoke the spiritual content of human experience. This exhibition, the second in an annual exhibition series that highlights the work of prominent artists who currently live and work in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions, presents important work from the last ten years that demonstrates Dill's depth of subject matter as well as her breadth of creativity.

Read press release of exhibition here.

Markers In Contemporary Metals
January 30 – March 15, 2002

This exhibition, developed from the SDMA's permanent collection and augmented with important loans by notable artists, teachers, and mentors in the field addresses the intellectual and aesthetic influences that formal education has had on the art and craft of metalsmithing. The artists in "Markers" represent a closely-knit group of practitioners whose shared academic experience, while genealogically succinct, reveals an impressive breadth of individual creative expression. For some, the body is the locus for physical, visual and conceptual engagement, whether through jewelry or objects. Others negotiate historical and contemporary concepts related to the nature of utilitarian objects. The exhibition enables the viewer to consider how objects are marked by their associations, by the intent of the artist, and by their existence in a particular time and context.

Faculty Art
January 30 – February 24, 2002

Artists are influenced by a wide variety of sources. In this exhibition SUNY New Paltz studio art faculty will exhibit works of art that they have created, along with objects that have influence and inspired them, enabling viewers to gain insight into the creative process. The exhibition celebrates the rich diversity of vision and the artistic sensibilities that distinguish the art department faculty.

All That Is Glorious Around Us: Paintings from the Hudson River School
October 21, 2001 – December 15, 2001, January 30 – May 18, 2002
East Wing Galleries

The Hudson River began to figure prominently in the artistic consciousness of the nineteenth century when the painter Thomas Cole journeyed up its waters in the summer of 1825. He settled at Catskill on the Hudson and became the model for other American landscape painters, thus launching the Hudson River School and its romantic, idealized vision of the American Landscape. This unique exhibition explores the richness and diversity of nineteenth-century American landscape painting. Drawn from a comprehensive private collection, the exhibition includes important works by artists well-known for their association with the School; Thomas Cole, John F. Kensett, Sanford Gifford, Frederic Church, William Trost Richards, and Worthington Whittredge. Of particular interest is the work of many lesser-known artists including that of women such as Eliza Greatorex, Mrs. A. T. Oakes, Laura Woodward, ; forgotten masters John H. Carmiencke and Regis Gignoux; and the most illustrious African-American artist associated with the school, Robert Duncanson.

Robert Morris
October 6 – November 18, 2001

Robert Morris has been described as one of the most influential artists of the last forty years. This exhibition will include a survey of drawings from the 1960s through the 1990s as well as a video projection of his re-staged early performances. It will be the first in an annual series of one-person exhibitions that will highlight the work of prominent artists who currently live and work in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions.

Presenting work by Robert Morris is an appropriate beginning for this unique series because of his central role in contemporary art history. As a pioneer in early Minimalism, Conceptual Art, and Process Art, he has produced work in a wide range of media including sculpture, performance, earthwork, drawing, and painting. Morris' work over the past few decades has explored such issues as scale, perception, death, time, and the evolution of form. He continues to investigate these same ideas throughout his chosen mediums. According to Thomas Krens, Director of the Guggenheim Museum, Robert Morris' entire oeuvre is a single work. Beginning with his earliest work, such as Box with the Sound of Its Own Making (1961), Morris was grappling with issues relating to the role the of the artist, the process of making art, the physical presence of the material, the laws of nature, infinite regress, actuality, gestalt, and anti-form.

Morris' versatility is his strength. Early in his career he became involved in dance and was inspired by experimental work taking place in New York by dancers such as Yvonne Rainer. In response to the balletic gesture, Rainer studied ordinary movement and improvisation as a means to express a more populist form of communication in direct opposition to what she felt was a private, subjective, highly interpretive and therefore exclusive language. Morris' early performances, like his objects, examined the nature of being, anonymity, and the definition of self.

View selected images from this exhibition:

In Cold Blood: Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence
August 13 – September 23, 2001

Every other year, the School of Fine & Performing Arts at SUNY New Paltz organizes a national Arts Now conference on an issue of contemporary art and culture. The next conference entitled Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence, will take place September 20-22, 2001. The conference will examine and explore the relationship of art to violence including spectacle, witnessing and testimony, sites and memorials of conflict, sanctioned violence, and violence and race, class, and gender, and other topics. This companion exhibition will present work that uses the subject of violence to explore the fine lines that exist between provocation, documentation, celebration, and critique and will further examine the aesthetics of violence. The work included is unsettling because it is suggestive rather than merely graphic and its meaning is not easily discernable. The imagery is not necessarily conclusive and depending upon the viewer's personal perspective interpretation may shift.

With my Profound Reverence for the Victims:
Lithographs and Drawings by George Bellows
August 13 – September 23, 2001

In the spring of 1918, the American painter, George Bellows began a series of lithographs that focused on the atrocities committed by the Germans in Belgium during the First World War. Although Bellows did not witness the crimes of war, he was moved to create this series in response to an article that appeared in the New York Times in 1914 (The Bryce Report, based on morel than twelve hundred eyewitness accounts of the invasion) and a series of articles by Brand Whitlock that appeared in Everybody's Magazine in 1918. Profoundly affected by these detailed reports, Bellows resolved to give visual expression to that which he read. After completing the suite of lithographs and related drawings, the artist also created five large-scale oil paintings derived from the works on paper. The entire war series comprises twenty lithographs, the five oils, and more than thirty related drawings

In an exhibition of the prints held in 1918 at Keppel & Co., Bellows prefaced the works with the following:

In presenting these pictures of the tragedies of war, I wish to disclaim any intention of attacking a race or a people. Guilt is personal not racial. Against that guilty clique and all its tools, who let loose upon innocence every diabolical device and insane instinct, my hatred goes forth, together with my profound reverence for the victims

This exhibition developed from the collection at Morgan Anderson Consulting. (NYC) and the artist's estate includes prints and drawings from the War Series, and six rarely seen lithographs by Bellows that comment strongly on personal and institutionalized violence experienced in the United States in the early twentieth century.

Adapted from an essay by Glenn C. Peck and Gordon K. Allison

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An Autobiography: Paintings by Thomas Nozkowski and Photographs by
Judy Linn

July 21 – September 30, 2001

Between 1992 and 1995, Thomas Nozkowski created a series of autobiographical abstract paintings based on geographic regions along the Hudson River. He writes: "Everything that I hold important to my life has happened along a hundred-mile stretch of the Hudson River valley." For each painting I would try to find visual images from my memories and in the physical reality of the place." The twenty works he created, each one representing a different five-mile increment of the area, will be displayed along with photographs by Judy Linn that interpret the same locations.

Eric Lindbloom: The River That Runs Two Way
July 21 – September 20, 2001

A selection of panoramic photographs of Hudson Valley landscapes, accompanied by poetry by Nancy Willard. The photographs and poems comprise a limited edition book recently published by the Brighton Press, which also will be on exhibition in the museum. To learn more about the history of panoramic photography follow this link

Amazing Art: A Celebration of Consciousness
June 4 – July 20, 2001

Gallery Talk by Bill Richards, July 8, 2001

This exhibition presents artwork made by Bill Richards – Director of the Art Studio Program – and artists from the Northeast Center for Special Care, an inpatient special-care facility designed to serve medically-complex and multiply-impaired individuals with brain injury, neurological diseases, neurobehavioral challenges, complex medical recovery, and ventilator dependency. The majority of the Center's artists have Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Spinal cord Injury, both of which are disorders of major public health significance often having lifelong impairment of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning.

This exhibition is a powerful demonstration of art utilized, not as a tool of commerce, but as a vehicle for meaningful creative explorations. Richards believes that creativity is the flip side of tragedy and that meaning can be restored to the disabled through the accomplishment of creating art. Art produced by these individuals achieves a high level of accomplishment by manifesting profound experience into amazing visual expressions.

» View pictures from the opening reception.

Engaging Pictures: Aesthetic Choices from the Center for Photography at Woodstock
March 31 – July 8, 2001

Building for Art: Tradition, Transition, Vision
March 3 – September 15, 2001

An exhibition surveying approximately sixty years of collecting art at SUNY New Paltz, Building for Art highlights some of the Museum's finest acquisitions. The exhibition traces the significant role that patronage has played in the creation of the permanent collection and the metamorphosis of the College Art Gallery into the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.

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