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19th century tourists visiting Cooper’s Cave

19th century tourists visiting Cooper’s Cave

Cooper’s Cave: America’s First Roadside Attraction

By Mirror Staff

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

James Fenimore Cooper’s knowledge of the French and Indian War may have been sketchy, but he was interested enough in its history to contemplate  a visit to Lake George, which he finally did with a party of Englishmen in August, 1824.

Lord Edward Stanley,  who would later become the 14th Earl of Derby and  Great Britain’s Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria, was a member of the party. As they crossed the Hudson River at Glens Falls on the return trip to Saratoga, Stanley noted in his journal, “Cooper… was much struck with the scenery which he had not before seen; and exclaimed, ‘I must place one of my old Indians here.”

Cooper, Stanley and the others then climbed down to the rocks to get a closer view of the cave where the novelist would, in fact, set one of the most famous incidents  in  his ‘Last of the Mohicans.’

According to James A. Holden, New York State’s official historian  in the early 1900s, “(Stanley) family legend has it  that the future Lord Derby told Cooper ‘here was the very scene for a romance,’ and the author promised his friend that a book should be written in which these caves would play an important part.”

Holden added that Cooper “affixed to the cave an undying fame, so that for nearly a century it has been a visiting place for European and American travelers. for scientist and layman, for geologist and artist, for seekers after the unusual…”

In fact, the cave could be said to be America’s first roadside attraction.

According to historian Russell Bellico, a set of wooden stairs enabled 19th century visitors to explore the cave.

A concerete spiral stairway was constructed in 1915 and remained in place until 1962.

Until recently, no formal or official access to the cave was allowed. A viewing platform, however, has been constructed by the Village of South Glens Falls and the City of Glens Falls which at least allows visitors  to see the falls and a portion of the cave.

Given the prominence of Cooper’s novel and the popularity of the 1992 film version that starred Daniel Day-Lewis, it’s perhaps surprising that more hasn’t been done to take advantage of the landmark.

Someone who has is Patty Bethel, who grew up near the cave in South Glens Falls.

In 1995, she, her husband Ed and their son Adrian opened Cooper’s Cave Ale Company, a micro-brewery that has grown to include a pub, an ice cream stand and much-in-demand craft soft drinks.

Glens Falls artist imagines the scene from Last of Mohicans

Even its brews’ names are inspired by French and Indian War lore; they include a Pathfinder Porter, a Sagamore Stout, a Radeau Red, Garrison Ale and a Tavern Ale.

“Ed and I had been 18th century re-enactors since the 1970s, and our idea was to educate people about the fact that our local history is a very big deal,” said Patty Bethel.

She added, “I grew up in a family where we had to make do with what we had. Here, we’re surrounded by history. So we’ve utilized that.”

The Bethels secured an industrial building on the edge of Glens Falls that just happens to be on the Old Military Trail, which, in Cooper’s novel, would have been the route taken by Munro’s daughters – Cora and Alice – from Fort Edward to Lake George.

It’s also not far from the site of the historical event that inspired the novel – the massacre of  British and American by France’s Native American allies.

Once a railroad bed, the trail is now more or less coextensive with the Warren County Bike Path, which reached the Bethels’ building in 2000.

With an entirely new customer-base passing their building every day, the Bethels saw an opportunity to create a new revenue-stream; thus the ice cream stand was born. The ice cream stand, in turn, gave rise to a brisk business making and selling ice cream cakes.

The pub opened in 2007 when an adjacent building became available.

“We’re not here to save the universe, just this corner if it,” quips Bethel.

“We work hard,” she acknowledges. “If anyone gets anywhere, it’s because of hard work.”

Cooper’s Cave Ale Company beer, soda and ice cream products are available at its retail store at 2 Sagamore Street. The pub is open for lunch and dinner daily, with the exception of holidays (Super Bowl Sunday included.) For more information, call 792-0007.

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A  scale model of Camp Iris, which was installed at the Hyde in May.

A scale model of Camp Iris, which was installed at the Hyde in May.

The Landscape Re-Imagined

By Anthony F. Hall

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Victoria Palermo’s Outdoor Sculpture Will Change How You See Warren Street

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the artists responsible for Running Fence in California and The Gates in Central Park, without question the most famous outdoor installations in the United States, “re-articulate the landscape, creating works that both contrast with and complement the landscape. Some find it intrusive; I find it poetic,” says Victoria Palermo, the sculptor who happens to live and work in Warren County.

Palermo was at work in her studio in Glens Falls’ Shirt Factory, discussing a show that opened at The Hyde Collection in May: Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection. It’s an exhibition of more than 125 drawings, sculptures, collages, and photographs related to the work of the husband and wife collaborative.

According to Erin Coe, The Hyde’s executive director, “The pieces have both aesthetic and documentary value, because for Christo and Jeanne Claude, the process of making and installing a work, including their battles with governmental bureaucracies, was as important as the final product. The process was the product.”

Victoria Palermo in her studio with the model for Camp Iris.

Nevertheless, Coe felt that the show still needed something more galvanizing than sketches and notes to convey the power of the work, which is ephemeral and experiential, much like a performance.

“It’s not as though we can wrap The Hyde in fabric, like they did the Reichstag in Berlin,” quipped Coe.

To create a similar effect in Glens Falls, Coe approached an artist whose own large scale and site specific installations have acquired an international renown of their own – Palermo herself.

To complement the exhibition of work by Christo and Jeanne Claude in the Charles R. Wood gallery, The Hyde unveiled Palermo’s Camp Iris, a set of three, eight foot high triangular structures made from multi-colored plexiglass and native wood.

They will rest on The Hyde’s lawns throughout the summer before being dis-assembled and removed, leaving no trace of their brief existence.

“This summer will be the first time The Hyde has mounted an outdoor exhibition of art since 1964, the year sculptor David Smith created a show of his own work here,” said Coe.

“Outdoor installations are not something The Hyde has embraced, but that’s changing, and Camp Iris is a first step,” Coe continued, adding, “This is also a first step toward a greater engagement with local artists like Victoria Palermo.”

According to Palermo, the invitation to create an outdoor installation at The Hyde emerged after years of conversations with Coe about the possibility of a collaboration of some sort.

“They began when Erin was The Hyde’s curator and they resumed when she returned as its director. She was familiar with my site specific projects and when The Hyde decided to exhibit the Christo material, the timing seemed right,” said Palermo.

Palermo said she meant the shapes of the structures to refer to architecture associated with the Adirondacks, such as tents or A-frames.

“For the framing, I used white cedar, milled near Saranac Lake. I felt it was important to use wood from the Adirondacks for this project, since Adirondack forests served as the financial source that built The Hyde,” said Palermo.

The three structures could also be said to be allusions to the three houses on the Hyde campus, each one built for one of the three daughters of Samuel Pruyn, who co- founded the Finch Pruyn forest products business in 1865, said Erin Coe.

The installation was constructed with help from architect Gary McCoola and art fabricator Nicholas Warner.

“And,” said Coe, “the reference in the piece’s title to Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow, is especially appropriate for an installation at The Hyde. Greek mythology, the classical tradition, the history of art – these all inform The Hyde and its collections.”

Coe continued, “the allusions to the region’s recreational architecture, to the culture of the museum, to the three houses, all re-enforce the site specific character of the piece.”

As drivers or pedestrians approach The Hyde, the structures will first appear as colorful abstractions: startling, incongruous erratics in Warren Street’s commercial and industrial terrain.

According to Coe, that’s one reason why Camp Iris is in the spirit of Christo and Jeanne Claude.

“The landscape from the viewers’ perspective, the experience and the expectations of the viewers – that is all now altered,” Coe said.

Victoria Palermo will discuss Camp Iris and other site specific works of hers such as Bus Stand, commissioned by MassMOCA for North Adams and up and down,  which she created for the Albany International Airport, on Thursday,  August 4 at 7pm at The Hyde. Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection will remain on view at The Hyde through June 26. The Hyde is located at 161 Warren Street in downtown Glens Falls. Call 792-1761 for information.

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Bill Belcher

Bill Belcher

Hyde’s Belcher Combines Day Job With Novelist’s Career

By Anthony F. Hall

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bill Belcher’s Playlist for Lay Down Your Weary Tune


It’s entirely coincidental, but not without interest, that of the several exhibitions William Belcher has been asked to promote since he joined The Hyde Collection in November as its director of external affairs, two relate to the 1960s.

“60 from the 60s: Selections from the George Eastman Museum,” an exhibition of work by ten of the most important photographers of the decade, opens on January 24.

A week earlier, a show organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, “Norman Rockwell in the 1960s,” comes to the Hoopes Gallery.

The coincidence is of interest because Belcher’s first novel, “Lay Down Your Weary Tune,” which has just been published to unusual, so-far unanimous acclaim, is rooted in that decade’s folk music revival.

“Belcher brings the folk music scene to life, but best of all is his ability to craft a cast of memorable characters,” writes Publishers Weekly.

Set in a town very much like Greenwich, New York, where Belcher lives with his wife and two children, the novel’s most compelling character is inspired by aspects of the lives and careers of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and The Band’s Levon Helm. It’s narrated by a neo-folkie who, for mysterious reasons, has been selected to ghost write the legendary singer-songwriter’s autobiography and who moves in with him to write the book. Far from being tangential to the novel, the narrator’s obsession with the music of an earlier generation is an integral part of the story.

Peter Max, ‘Untitled (Bob Dylan)’ 1967, offset lithograph. Collections, Museum of Modern Art

“I loved that music; the way it played a role in generational change and the way that its appeal crossed generations,” said Belcher.

Growing up in western Massachusetts, Belcher saw its spirit embodied in near neighbors like Arlo Guthrie and his daughter Sarah Lee Guthrie, who attended his high school, as well as in the musicians attracted by Guthrie’s presence: Dave Van Ronk, Richie Havens and others.

Belcher began writing the novel eight years ago, rising early every morning as he built a dual career in arts administration, most notably at MASS MoCA in North Adams.

Within that period of time, and for reasons inexplicable to all but sociologists, random forces coalesced to rediscover and resurrect the American Folk Music Revival. Martin Scorcese made “No Direction Home,” a documentary about Dylan; the Coen Brothers made “Inside Llewelyn Davies,” a dark comedy about a folksinger who could have been one of the early Dylan’s less successful peers. Suze Rotolo, the girlfriend who appeared with Dylan on the cover of 1963’s The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan, wrote her autobiography and a collective biography of Mimi and Richard Farina, Joan Baez and Dylan was published under the title, “Positively Fourth Street.” The Museum of the City of New York presented a major exhibition, “Folk City: New York and the American Folk Music Revival.” And Dylan published his own autobiography, “Chronicles.”

Lay Down Your Weary Tune

That volume re-enforced Belcher’s own insights about “how lonely that must be to live behind those masks and that personae,” a major theme of the novel.

Far from detracting from the novel’s appeal, the current interest in the folk music revival should enhance it. If nothing else, readers won’t find it implausible that a famous folksinger might move to rural Washington County, knowing that Woody Guthrie moved to Stockbridge, Pete Seeger to Beacon and Dylan and the Band to Woodstock.

“Lay Down Your Weary Tune” (the title, by the way, of an early Dylan tune that was first recorded by the Byrds) was officially launched in Saratoga on January 26 with a reading at Northshire Bookstore and a reception at Caffe Lena, where Belcher serves on the Board of Directors.

Belcher will also read from the novel on February 23 at The Hyde.

“The Hyde’s staff and trustees have been incredibly supportive” of his career as an author, Belcher said.

Erin Coe, The Hyde’s former curator who returned as its director last summer, has said that her mission is to “invigorate The Hyde, connecting to all visitors and inviting greater community engagement.”

Belcher can surely assist in that mission. How many museums, even those much larger than The Hyde, have on staff a writer who’s spent the last decade thinking about how art speaks to the broader public?

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Strand Interior

Strand Interior

Urban Renewal

By Anthony F. Hall

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hudson Falls Seeks New Life in Art, Parks and Healthy Hearts

On a direct rail line to New York City, Hudson Falls may become the next Hudson.

Or, since it already has its own Maxwell’s, the next Hoboken.

Or, since it has a theater undergoing renovation by the same architects who helped restore the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the next Brooklyn.

“Hudson Falls is an old industrial city that we think can be supported by a new industry: ‘Arts, Parks and Healthy Hearts,’” says Jonathan Newell, the musician who is helping to bring new life to his hometown.

Hudson River Music Hall’s Kathy Carota, Jonathan Newell and Stu Kuby

Hudson River Music Hall’s Kathy Carota, Jonathan Newell and Stu Kuby

Newell and the Hudson River Music Hall have organized a two-day “British Invasion Weekend” that will take place in Lake George Village on August 15 at 16 to benefit what he hopes will be the engine of Hudson Falls’ revival: a restored Strand Theater.

Newell grew up in Hudson Falls; he said he had always known that downtown Hudson Falls had had its own movie palace but was unaware of its location until he happened to be in the Town Hall one afternoon. He asked the Town Clerk if she knew anything about it. Rather than answering his question, she took a key from a drawer and said, “Follow me.”

They walked down the hallway, entered a narrow doorway, climbed a flight of stairs and, lo and behold, they were standing in the balcony of an Art Deco treasure. More than forty years ago, the municipality purchased the building and turned it into a town hall, obscuring but never completely obliterating the theater it once was.
The town has agreed to sell the building to the Hudson River Music Hall, an arts organization co-founded by Newell, and funds are now being raised to restore it as an arts center.

Newell said he and the other activists behind Hudson Falls’ revival “take our cue from Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais; he brings so many events to Lake George Village that he keeps everyone busy, including the working musicians.”

Among other things, Newell and the others have created an outdoor ampitheatre inspired by Lake George Village’s Shepard Park on municipal property. They even hope to connect it to Lake George Village through the nearby bikeway.

It’s Phase One of a plan to build a “Central Park for Hudson Falls” – the ‘parks’ part of Art, Parks and Healthy Hearts – that would include biking and hiking trails – the source of the “Healthy Hearts” part of the triad.
At the center of all this activity is the Hudson River Music Hall, established in 2010 by Newell, Stuart Kuby and Nick Bettino.
A performance space, arts education center, library, art gallery and space for dance, exercise and yoga, it’s currently housed in a former telephone company building.
“Once you let artists know a space is available, they’ll fill it,” said Newell.
Paul Pines, the poet, novelist and Lake George Jazz Festival founder, has a play he’d like to produce in one of the building’s performance spaces.
His wife, the singer Carol Pines, would like to stage a cabaret in another one of the spaces.

The kingsbury Town Hall will be reborn as a theater

The kingsbury Town Hall will be reborn as a theater

Nevertheless, Newell said, “the Hudson River Music Hall is not really about the physical space; we’re concert producers.”

Those concerts may one day be presented in a refurbished Strand Theater, and if Newell has his way, the storefronts, now dark, will be lit and thriving, restaurants will be serving out-of-towner customers and long-vacant apartments and lofts will be renovated and occupied. And people will be wondering where to find – not the next Brooklyn – but the next Hudson Falls.

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The Army of the potomac - A Sharp Shooter.

The Army of the potomac - A Sharp Shooter.

Artists of Modern Life

By James H. Miller

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Winslow Homer and Andy Warhol at The Hyde

At first blush, artists Winslow Homer and Andy Warhol could not be more unalike. Homer (1836-1910), whose art aimed for naturalist precision, painted frothing waves pounding the cragged rocks of coastal Maine, or reclusive woodsmen angling in the Adirondacks. Warhol (1928-1987), the prince of Pop, is the artist who emphatically replaced nature with culture in the visual arts, recycling images of Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup.

But according to Erin Coe, former curator and current director of The Hyde Collection, where two exhibitions, “Homer’s America” and “The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol,” recently opened, there is plenty that unites these American artists.

“I see a lot of parallels between the two because both began their careers as illustrators, and both became very well known and successful because of their illustrations,” Coe said, referring to both Warhol’s early work as a commercial artist, and Homer’s for illustrated magazines, such as Harper’s Weekly. “Even though you might think Homer and Warhol are on opposite ends of the art historical spectrum, there are actually a lot of affinities between the two,” she said.

“Both,” she added, “are looking at modern life.”

 

The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol

 

“The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol” consists of 50 large-scale drawings the artist produced between 1973 and 1987 (the year Warhol died from a heart attack following a routine gallbladder operation). A traveling exhibition that originated at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Coe arranged to have the show visit the Hyde early last summer, and it represents an important first for the museum. “The Hyde Collection has never had a show devoted to Andy Warhol in its 63 year history,” Coe said. Some of the sketches have not been previously displayed before now, and since the Hyde is the first stop for the exhibition, the works are in actual fact debuting in Glens Falls.

For more reasons than one, the Hyde is perhaps a felicitous venue for Warhol. Watching the paper mill directly behind the museum belch out plumes of smoke, you are reminded that Warhol’s childhood was spent in the shadow of Pittsburgh’s steel mills.

Generally, Warhol’s sketches are spare and direct. The artist typically used a curious mishmash of lines: brittle and saw-toothed, wavy and fluid. Those drawings from the late ‘70s and ‘80s in particular refer to an important, if still underemphasized period in Warhol’s career. Racked with doubts at that time, Warhol began to interrogate some fundamental premises of his earlier work. As a result his art became somewhat more personal, abstract and painterly. He returned to drawing with a renewed vigor, a medium that had always been integral for him, but that acquired fresh importance as he allowed his art to become more outwardly expressive.

Jean Cocteau, 1983

Jean Cocteau, 1983

“We think of Warhol as this artist who broke once and for all from the tradition of authorship in art, and establishes the depersonalized mechanical hand of the artist,” Coe said. “But he’s putting his hand back into it.”

As the wild range of subject matter attests, Warhol was a sponge for everyday culture: “The Late Drawings” includes sketches of dollar signs, cats, Beethoven, wig advertisements, a cabbage patch doll, bullets, an Absolut vodka advertisement, and canned tomatoes. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, some of the most distinctive pieces pertain to Warhol’s most successful late works, such as the “Skulls,” the silkscreens of Chairman Mao, and the hammer and sickle series. In the latter drawing, Warhol very simply, and with a splatter of pink color, transforms the hammer and sickle—the Soviet Union’s official symbol and the one that emblazoned its flag—into a homey agrarian still life.

Several drawings depict celebrities, from Grace Kelley and John Lennon to the painter David Hockney. Warhol produced a hoard of society portraits, so many that the art historian Robert Rosenblum once called Warhol the “Court Painter to the Seventies.” For Coe, it is the economy of these drawings that is particularly commendable, such as Warhol’s sketch of the Rolling Stone’s frontman Mick Jagger.

“When you look at that drawing there’s minimal lines in it, minimal contours, and yet it captures the very essence of Mick Jagger: his attitude, his persona, with just a few lines. It’s really remarkable,” she explained.

Other works in the show are gloriously cheeky. The coke drawing, for example, consists of a brown blotch of high fructose corn syrup on paper—a spoof of the kind of painting gesture associated with Abstract Expressionism (which Pop Art reacted against), such as Jackson Pollock’s drips. Here, that mighty and manly personal gesture becomes a mass-produced sugary drink.

 

Homer’s America

 

The Hyde’s in-house summer exhibition, “Homer’s America,” is comprised of some two dozen works—primarily engravings, plus a couple of watercolors and a small oil painting—from its permanent collection, which collectively illustrate Homer’s sharp-eyed record of American life in the 19th Century. Charlotte Hyde, the museum’s founder, collected most of the works in the show in the 1930s, when Homer’s critical reputation was revived. According to Coe, around that time Charlotte Hyde stepped back from the Old Masters to focus on American ones.

The wood engravings point to Homer’s critical work as an illustrator. In 1854, at the age of 18, Homer became an apprentice at a lithographic studio in Boston. He later embarked on a freelance career, submitting drawings to publications, mostly Harper’s Weekly, that became wood engravings. (He produced the final drawing on the woodblock and worked closely with the engraver, but did not personally create the engraving.) Homer mastered the practice. From a French engraver, Charles Damoreau, he learned to draw in a strong linear style that was best suited for the printmaking process.

“Homer is not your garden-variety illustrator. He really wanted to understand the engraver’s art, and the reason he became one of the most successful illustrators of the nineteenth century is because of this understanding,” explained Coe.

The engravings were often produced in tandem with oil paintings, with sometimes slight variations between the two. “Homer’s America” includes the Civil War engraving “The Sharpshooter on Picket Duty” (1863), which ultimately became one of Homer’s first mature oil paintings. According to Coe, Homer communicated with two different audiences, and reserves most of his social commentary for the illustrations. He may have also used the engravings to test the reception of a subject he intended to paint. But Coe stresses that the process was never formulaic (she will deliver a lecture on the topic at the Hyde on July 23).

 

John Lennon, 1895-1986

John Lennon, 1895-1986

That most penetrating observer of American society in the 19th Century, Alexis de Tocqueville once noted of America’s vanishing wildernesses, “One feels proud to be a man, and yet at the same time one experiences I cannot say what bitter regret at the power God has granted us over nature.” Homer’s Adirondack work shares some of this ambivalence. The artist first visited the North Woods in 1870 and returned periodically until his last visit in 1910. In Keene Valley and Minerva, Homer occasionally recorded man’s disfigurement of the land, but without explicit comment.

“Is he celebrating it or is he critiquing it? Is he embracing it or is he repelled by it? I don’t think there’s a clear-cut answer to that,” Coe explained.

Nevertheless, Coe finds less ambivalence in Homer’s Adirondack watercolors, such as the Hyde’s angling scene, “A Good One, Adirondacks” (1889). Homer adopted the medium in 1873. It allowed him to work freely outdoors directly from nature. Coe observes that within Homer’s watercolors, the human figures often recede into the landscape. In “A Good One,” the angler is completely immersed in the wilds, united with the water, the trees, and the mountains, rather than waging battle against them.

“He had to accept that change was coming, hence the need perhaps to capture it on paper, to preserve that sense of oneness with nature,” Coe said of Homer.

Tocqueville registered those same feelings about the vanishing “solitudes of America” when he wrote, “One sees them with a melancholy pleasure; one is in some sort of hurry to admire them.”

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Shoe of the Evening, Beautiful Shoe, ca. 1955.

Shoe of the Evening, Beautiful Shoe, ca. 1955.

Warhol at Williams

By James. H. Miller

Monday, July 13, 2015

Both The Hyde and the Williams College Museum of Art are exhibiting work by Andy Warhol this summer. Here’s what to expect in Williamstown.

While the Hyde Collection examines Andy Warhol’s late drawings this summer, another exhibition at the Williams College Museum of Art considers a related facet of the Pop artist’s career: that is, his books.

The show, “Warhol by the Book,” covers most of the upstairs galleries at the museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and contains some 400 items from both its permanent collection and the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Playfully presented and thrilling on the eye, the show makes an excellent case for the importance of Warhol’s book work, which comprises 80 finished projects plus a number of unfinished ones. While Warhol claimed to never read, the museum is stocked with books from his personal library and outfitted with other ephemera, such as postcards, letters, and photographs. Besides calling attention to this rarely examined material, the exhibition also confirms, with its splashes of sweet pinks and lettuce greens, that Warhol was a tremendous colorist, and as the Hyde also signals, an astute draftsman whose drawings possessed a transfixing immediacy.

Warhol’s work with books dates from 1939. Then, the 11 year-old Warhol, the son of Eastern European immigrants, started filling a scrapbook with Hollywood glamour photographs of people like Henry Fonda and Shirley Temple (the scrapbook is sadly absent from the show). Later, as a student at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he studied pictorial design, Warhol produced illustrations for texts by authors Katherine Anne Porter and Robert Penn Warren. These works contain some early indicators of the artist’s later finesse with line and color, but on the whole remain unremarkable. It is only after his graduation in 1949, when he relocated to New York, that Warhol became an accomplished (and well-paid) commercial artist whose graphic designs had zing.

Portrait of Any Warhol as a young man.25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, 1954.

Portrait of Any Warhol as a young man.25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, 1954.

In this pre-Campbell Soup can period, Warhol illustrated everything imaginable: from brochures and how-to guides, to children’s books, fashion advertisements, and sales catalogues. Warhol’s book cover designs feature prominently in the show, the earliest of which were produced for the avant-garde publisher New Directions. He also illustrated covers for Doubleday’s Dolphin paperback series, such as Stendhal’s “The Red and the Black.” But although Warhol has some recurring trademarks, such as his rascally, blotted line, and his fleshy pink fairies with puffy hair, the artist remains hard to locate in some of the commercial work. Usually he was loyally meeting the demands of his clients and adapting to each assignment’s particulars. But he performed that task very well. In fact, this flair for anonymity perhaps foreshadows the artist’s later, famously cool and impersonal work.

Even better are the collaborative artist books that Warhol produced in small editions and passed out to friends, colleagues, and potential clients. In “25 Cats Name [sic] Sam and One Blue Pussy” (1954), Warhol creates hand-colored lithographs of cats—named Sam. In the waggish “Wild Raspberries” (1959), Warhol and interior decorator Suzie Frankfurt mock extravagant French cuisine recipes (a fad in the ‘50s), while “Horoscopes for the Coc[k]tail Hour” (1959) combines astrological advice and cocktail blends with more illustrations of giddy pink fairies. Then there is the artist’s working children’s book, “So” (1959), which, like many of the books, features the calligraphic scrawl of Warhol’s mother, Julia.

As Warhol once remarked, “An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he—for some reason—thinks it would be a good idea to give them.” What is striking about the artist’s books is this remorseless embrace of frivolity (a frivolity that may, at the same time, recall the work of French artist Henri Matisse). “Here,” Warhol seems to say, “are shoes and strawberries, cats and stars, birds and butterflies. Look, aren’t they just great?”

Warhol’s prime was in the ‘60s and some of the most original book work is from this decade. One of the more unusual pieces in the show, the accordion-style maquette for the “Marilyn Book” (1965) consists of octagonal cutouts from Warhol’s colorful silkscreen portraits of Marilyn Monroe, those he started churning out after the star’s death in 1962. Unfurled within a glass case, snake-like, the book is fascinating as an abstract display of shape and color, and with no accompanying words to boot. The show also includes from this period the startling print portfolio “Flash—November 22, 1963” (1968), color silkscreens that elliptically chronicle the Kennedy assassination. In the adjacent gallery, the museum has projected Warhol’s closely observed film portraits of writers such as John Ashberry and Allen Ginsberg.

 

25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, 1954.

25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, 1954.

Later, Warhol’s work with books could seem more traditional. In the 1970s and ‘80s, the artist was under contract with eight major publishing houses: the kid who had once pasted celebrity faces into a scrapbook had become a Pop Art icon, and the work he produced in this period in part reflected that new status. Take, for example, “Andy Warhol’s Party Book,” co-written with Pat Hackett and published after Warhol’s sudden death in 1987, in which the artist, as the dust jacket explained, “talks about the best parties he went to and why they were so great.” Warhol’s photographs of Manhattan’s burnt-out social scene complemented the text. This was the same period Warhol said that “good business is the best art.” If so, Warhol’s late books are brilliant works of art.

But not all of the late books are so outwardly mercenary. “Vanishing Animals” (1986) is a title about endangered species that Warhol co-produced with Dr. Kurt Benirschke, whose lecture on the same topic had intrigued the artist. Warhol illustrated the book the year before he died. He had been preoccupied with death since writer Valerie Solanas had shot and almost killed him in 1968, so these silkscreen-collages of the vanishing Mongolian Wild Horse and Sumatra’s Rhinoceros are surely colored by his thoughts on mortality. These rare, fading creatures make you think of that other exotic, sickly creature that was Andy Warhol.

“Warhol by the Book” runs through August 16

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Joe Paterson displays the Stanley Cup, won by the Los Angeles Kings, at the Docksider restaurant in Queensbury on July 3

Joe Paterson displays the Stanley Cup, won by the Los Angeles Kings, at the Docksider restaurant in Queensbury on July 3

Two Inducted Into Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame

By Paul Post

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Former Adirondack Red Wing Joe Paterson hung up his skates 23 years ago, but the honors keep coming in.

Last summer, the Glen Lake resident got a Stanley Cup ring from the Los Angeles Kings, the team he scouts for.

On Sunday, March 15, Paterson and long-time off-ice official Doug Neely, of Queensbury, took their places as the newest members of the Adirondack Hockey Hall of Fame.

“Any time you get put in a Hall of Fame it’s special, especially in the Adirondack area,” Paterson said. “A lot of good hockey people have come through here.”

A Toronto native, he bought property in the Lake George region while still playing with the Wings in the early 1980s. “Coming from a large city, this was such a nice area,” Paterson said. “I really enjoy the outdoors. I would always spend summers back here after the season.”

Eventually, he decided to settle in the area year-round.

Paterson spent parts of four years playing for Adirondack including its 1981-82 Calder Cup campaign, but was called up to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and missed most of the AHL playoffs. Later he was a Red Wings assistant coach from 1992-95.

However, one of his most rewarding achievements came in 2010 when he was named head coach of the Adirondack Phantoms. Paterson stepped in at midseason and quickly turned around a demoralized last-place team that had lost 11 straight games, and put it back on a winning track.

“The mindset of the team was used to losing,” Paterson said. “I got them to start taking one shift at a time and not worry about the results; just do things the right way.”

He was the only head coach with a winning record (62-51-12) during the Phantoms’ five seasons in Glens Falls.

“Eventually the end results came,” Paterson said. “It was an enjoyable year actually.”

Neely has been an off-ice official for as long as there’s been pro hockey in Glens Falls. He’s been working games since Day One, when the Adirondack Red Wings began play in Glens Falls in October 1979.

“At the time I was working with the city Rec Department,” Neely said. “We were involved with Ned Harkness when they were building the Civic Center. I wanted to get involved; he said, I’ve got just the job for you.”

Born in Rock Hill, S.C., Neely moved north to Pennsylvania at a young age and quickly become a Philadelphia Flyers fan.

Doug Neely

Doug Neely

That gives Neely and Paterson a connection as new Hall of Famers, as the Phantoms team that Paterson coached was a Flyers affiliate.

“I couldn’t have been more surprised,” an elated Neely said after learning about his election. “I’m completely shocked. I didn’t know about it until someone pointed it out on the message board up there.”

As head off-ice official, Neely oversees a team of 30 workers that handles all kinds of jobs. Some track stats from perches high above the stands, while others serve as goal judges behind the glass at ice level.

“My favorite job is down there in the middle — penalty timekeeper,” Neely said. “But everybody loves being in the penalty box. You get to talk to players. It’s a lot of fun.”

Of course, he’s had quite a few memorable experiences. One night he was working a game when the Civic Center power went off.

“It was the middle of a game and it was suddenly just completely dark, and completely quiet,” Neely said. “For about three or four seconds nobody said a word. It took close to a minute before the emergency lights started to come on.”

He’ll never forget working the Red Wings’ four Calder Cup championships. “The biggest thrill was when we went down and got sprayed with champagne; a lot of fun,” he said. “Good memories.”

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“Mountain Folk Music” with Alex Smith at The Hyde

By Mirror Staff

Monday, February 23, 2015

Alex Smith, the singer-songwriter who  appeared in Bolton Landing last fall at the Adirondack Legends concert, as well as in “Songs to Keep,” a documentary about folklorist Marjorie Lansing Porter,  will present “Mountain Music” at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls on March 15.

The concert, which is sponsored by the Adirondack Museum as part of its “Cabin Fever Sundays” series, starts at 1:30 pm. Free to Adirondack Museum members, a $15 ticket for non-member includes free admission to The Hyde.

Last summer, Smith released his first, full-length album.

Titled ‘Hamilton County,’ the album features eleven original songs about life in the Adirondacks, where Smith was born and raised,  as well as one by Dan Berggren, who appeared on stage with Smith at Adirondack Legends.

“These songs of Alex Smith stretch the expectation of what fresh, new music can say about ancient hills, the communities they hold, and their stories. They ring true because Alex has been studying nature’s soundscape, absorbing the seasonal sharps and flats, and listening to the rhythm of mountain folk all his life,” said Berggren, who has been honored for his efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of the Adirondacks by St. Lawrence University, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Mountain Club, among other organizations.

Smith recorded the album for Wepecket Island Records, a New England-based label that specializes in recording traditional American music by both established and emerging artists.

“Alex is a young and deeply gifted young man whose music embodies the very essence of the receiving and the passing on of the tradition of hand-made music,” said Jack Radcliffe, president of the label and the album’s  producer.

A recent graduate of St. Lawrence University, Smith has toured extensively in the past few years, playing shows throughout the country.

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In Chapman’s “Portrait Stories,” the Nameless Reclaim their Due

By Mirror Staff

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

“Portrait Stories,” the new exhibition at the Chapman Museum that opened on October 5, features portraits and the life stories of some of the area’s more distinguished citizens.

But it also includes the portraits of some individuals whose identities will never be known, and their stories, or at least their likely or plausible stories, have been supplied by local writers.

According to Tim Weidner, the Chapman’s director, the idea for a more socially textured “Portrait Stories” emerged from this past summer’s exhibition, “At the Lake.”

“The staff’s curiosity was piqued by a photo of the Ranger family, in which every individual pictured was identified by name.  Interestingly, for one woman, only her first name, Bridget, was provided,” said Weidner.

Further research turned up nothing about the woman, said Weidner.

“We can assume from her name that she was Irish, and from her clothing that she was a maid. As a servant for the Ranger family that summer, she would have prepared and served meals, cleaned the cottage and cared for the young children.  But then her story ends.  Perhaps she married or moved on to another location; we simply don’t know,” said Weidner.

According to Weidner, the gaps in the staff’s knowledge about “Bridget” led the museum to reconsider hundreds of portraits in the collection of unknown people.

“But for every one of them, we can assume there is a story,” he said. 

For “Portrait Stories,” approximately twenty portraits of people whose identities are unknown were chosen for a collaborative project with a group of Glens Falls area writers, who were invited to create stories about the subjects.

“Prompted by the imagery of a particular portrait, each writer used his or her imagination to produce a vignette about the subject,” said Weidner.

The writers include: Kim Andrews; Debbie Austin; John Briggs; Sandy Buxton; Kay Hafner; Kim Harvish; Bill Neary; Beatriz Roman; Judy Sullivan; Frieda Toth; and Montana Tracy.  Kay Hafner coordinated the writing project and edited the texts.

The exhibition will remain on view through March 1, 2015.

“Portrait Stories” is funded by grants from the Waldo T. Ross & Ruth S. Ross Charitable Trust Foundation, the City of Glens Falls and the Town of Queensbury.

The Chapman Museum is located at 348 Glen Street, Glens Falls.  Public Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from noon to 4 pm.  For more information call (518) 793-2826.

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Portrait of George Washington, by Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860)

Portrait of George Washington, by Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860)

Through Three Shows, Hyde Will Present a History of American Art

By Mirror Staff

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

From a 1758 portrait by John Singleton Copley through 19th century landscape paintings of the Adirondacks to the late drawings of Andy Warhol, The Hyde Collection will present a year of American Art.

The most wide-ranging survey of American art can be seen in a show that runs through January 4 titled  “Picturing America: Signature Works from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.”

Originating from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, which is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion, the exhibition features 57 paintings and sculptures from the Colonial period to the mid twentieth century.

“The exhibition complements the American art in our collection and adds breadth to it,” said Charles Guerin, The Hyde’s executive director.

Portrait of Helen Gallagher, c. 1928, by Malcolm Parcell

Strawberries and Pitcher, by Austin C. Wooster (1838-1913)

The exhibition includes work by Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Susan MacDowell Eakins, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, George Inness, Paul Manship, John Singer Sargent and Benjamin West as well as Charles Willson Peale and his children Rembrandt, Rubens and Mary Jane.

“Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of George Washington is particularly wonderful,” said Guerin. “It depicts him in his everyday soldiers’ uniform, rather than in the grandiose manner in which he was usually portrayed at the time.”

The painting is Peale’s own version of another portrait of Washington that he painted for the US Capitol.

As the last living artist to have painted Washington from life, Peale once wrote, “the reduplication of my work, by my own hand, should be esteemed the most reliable.”

Once  “Picturing America: Signature Works from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art,” closes, paintings from the permanent collection of the Adirondack Museum will be installed in the galleries.

“Since the Adirondack Museum is closed in the winter and we’re open, we thought we should begin collaborating more frequently,” said Guerin.

The Adirondack Museum’s collection features works depicting the Adirondack landscape over more than two centuries. Paintings, drawings, prints, sketches, and photographs represent artists like Thomas Cole, John Frederick Kensett, William Trost Richards, Seneca Ray Stoddard, Edward Bierstadt, Harold Weston, Eliot Porter, and Nathan Farb. Since the early 1800s, images of the Adirondack landscape have helped shape the American relationship to, and definitions of, “wilderness” and “nature.”

“The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol” arrives in Glens Falls next spring. In the mid-1970s, Warhol began producing paintings and prints prolifically. Bob Colacello, associate and close friend of Warhol, attributes this “incredible outpouring” of work to the new, spacious studio Warhol moved into in 1974.  “Warhol was inspired by the open vastness of the new space. For Andy, space was a void to be filled.”

Warhol often used an overhead projector to trace the source image onto heavy drawing paper. This technique used throughout his lifetime allowed Warhol to produce “machine made” lines that are equally automatic and expressive, impersonal and intimate. Many of the drawings in this exhibition had never been displayed before this travelling exhibition was organized.

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