Press Releases

AND THE BEAT GOES ON…Three Shows – Three Openings – One Night


NEW PALTZ -- Save the last Saturday in March for the opening of three special exhibitions at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Beat and Beyond: Photographs by Allen Ginsberg, A Discerning Vision: Photographs from the Collection of Howard Greenberg; and [b]Reading Objects 2008 will all open with a reception on March 29th from 4 – 6:00 p.m.

Allen Ginsberg, Heroic Portrait of Jack Kerouac with R. R. Brakeman's Manuel in Pocket, gelatin silver print

Beat and Beyond: Photographs by Allen Ginsberg

In an age without heroes, artists in the 20th century turned increasingly to everyday life for their inspiration. Allen Ginsberg (1926 – 1997), American poet and
leading apostle of the Beat Generation photographed his friends, family and self, marrying the conventions of 19th century portrait photography with the frank and honest documentation that was being practiced by many 20th century street photographers at that time. This revealing group of images, selected from the museum’s permanent collection, reveals the gutsy and raw approach to recording his life, one intertwined with a generation of writers who formed the core of a new American sub-culture. Created between 1953 and 1995, the images document Ginsberg and his friends including Jack Kerouac, Herbert Huncke, NealCassady, Dr. Timothy Leary and others.

Beginning in the 1980s Ginsberg had his original snapshots enlarged so that he could record on then, in his own handwriting, the events he remembered occurring at the time the images were created. A number of these annotated images are in this exhibition, as well as expanded labels that include additional commentary taken from other photographic versions.

Wayne Lempka, art collections manager at the SDMA and organizer of this exceptional exhibition, reflects on Ginsberg’s work…”While Ginsberg was the first Beat writer to gain popular notice after he gave a thundering performance of his poem Howl at the now-legendary Six Gallery in October 1955, his photographic escapades unfortunately were overshadowed by his subsequent success as one of America’s new breed of poets and writers. Yet, as one views this important collection of photographic images in retrospect, it is apparent that Ginsberg was also subconsciously laying the groundwork for a new generationof American photographers who increasingly have turned their attention to photographing their lives in a less formal, more snapshot-like manner.”

Beat and Beyond will be on view through July 6, 2008.

Lewis Wickes Hine, Powerhouse Mechanic, gelatin silver print

[b]A Discerning Vision: Photographs from the Collection of Howard Greenberg comprises iconic images by artists such as W. Eugene Smith and his powerful documentation of Welsh Coal Miners and Ruth Orkin and her universally beloved, American Girl in Italy. Additionally, the show highlights other works by Bruce Davidson, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Sid Grossman, Julia Margaret Cameron, Dorothea Lange, Lewis Wickes Hine, Roman Vishniac, Robert Frank and others.

Seen as a whole, the photographs in this exhibition serve as a memoir; each image traces a chapter in Greenberg’s life as a collector. Although not all of the photographs would be considered obvious choices, they are connected, explains Greenberg, by …”a unity of craft and vision as well as by their compelling personal meaning.”

Howard Greenberg began his professional life as a photographer and founded the Center for Photography in Woodstock, New York in 1976. He opened his first gallery, Photofind in 1982 where he exhibited…”what I really cared about, regardless of the implication for sales.” [Greenberg]. But the photographs he showed did sell and as the market for photography took off, so did Greenberg’s career as a dealer and lover of the photographic image. He opened a gallery in New York’s Soho in 1986 and in 2003, relocated to 57th Street where the gallery remains today.

A Discerning Vision will be on view through June 22.

Tatanua Caterpilllar Mask, Asmat people, New Ireland, New Guinea; wood, vegetable fiber, pigment

Reading Objects 2008 is an ongoing project initially developed in 2001 as an experiment to engage employees in the SUNY New Paltz community with the broad range of objects in the SDMA collection. Faculty and staff from different disciplines, backgrounds, heritage and interests are invited to breathe new life and meaning into the works exhibited by submitting a personally written document about a work of art that has inspired them.

This exhibition is much larger than past years having 21 objects accompanied by two written perspectives by faculty and staff from the campus community. The objects which drew interest are prints, paintings, photographs, and sculpture including works by Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Jerome Liebling and others.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition which includes images of the artworks selected and the writings about each piece.

Reading Objects 2008
will be on view through September 28, 2008.

About the Museum

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is dedicated to collecting, researching, interpreting, and exhibiting works of art from diverse cultures. The permanent collection spans a period of almost 4,000 years. Areas of specialization include 20th century paintings and works on paper, Asian and Pre-Columbian art and artifacts, metals and photographs. SDMA has a special commitment to collecting and exhibiting important works of art created by artists who have lived and worked in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. The Museum is a major cultural resource in the Hudson Valley serving a broad-based constituency from both on and beyond the New Paltz campus.

Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
(845) 257-3844
Admission is free

The State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 7,800 undergraduate and graduate students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley between New York City and Albany. New Paltz was named "Hottest Small State School" in the 2008 Kaplan/Newsweek How To Get Into College Guide, which identifies America's 25 Hottest Schools. The guide features schools that all offer top academic programs,
and are making their mark in the competitive world of higher education.

The college was also recently ranked 7th among the best public universities and 38th among public and private universities in the North that offer bachelor's and master's degree programs, according to the U.S. News & World Report's rankings for America's Best Colleges 2008.

Degrees are offered in the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, healthcare, business and engineering.

If you are a person with a disability who will require special accommodations please contact Amy Pickering at 845.257.3844
no later than one week before the event.