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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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Harold Weston (1894-1972), Giant, 1922

Harold Weston (1894-1972), Giant, 1922

Adirondack Masterpieces at The Hyde

By Mirror Staff

Monday, January 26, 2015

If The Hyde Collection had ever hoped to mount an exhibition of the art of the Adirondacks, the result could not have been more comprehensive than the show that the Glens Falls museum will present from January 18 through April 12.

“Wild Nature: Masterworks from the Adirondack Museum,” as the title signifies, is composed solely of works within the permanent collection of the Adirondack Museum.

Jonas Lie (1880-1940), Main Camp, Kamp Kill Kare, 1930.

Jonas Lie (1880-1940), Main Camp, Kamp Kill Kare, 1930.

For those who have never visited the museum in Blue Mountain Lake, “Wild Nature” is an introduction both to master works of American art depicting the landscape of the Adirondacks and to the museum itself, which is closed in the off-season.

The show is composed of sixty-two works dating from 1821 to 2001, and includes photographs and prints as well as paintings.

Works of the 19th century Hudson River School, by painters such as Thomas Cole, Sanford Robinson Gifford, John Frederick Kensett, Homer Dodge Martin, and Williams Trost Richards, are featured prominently.

The show also includes works by 20th century artists such as Rockwell Kent, Harold Weston, John Marin, Jonas Lie, Dorothy Dehner and David Smith.

Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897), Mountain View on the Saranac, 1868.

Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897), Mountain View on the Saranac, 1868.

“The 19thcentury works reveal how images of the Adirondack landscape shaped American perceptions of the wilderness landscape, and how these expectations, in turn, created wilderness as a national icon,” stated the show’s curators, Erin Coe, formerly of The Hyde, Laura Rice, chief curator of the Adirondack Museum and Caroline Welsh, senior art historian and director emeritus.

The selection of works from the 20th century, they stated, “explores how themes of wilderness persist in the work of these modern artists while their abstract or realist approach, combined with their own personal expression, reflects changing attitudes toward the natural environment.”

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"Shadow Dance," by Martin Lewis, 1930.

"Shadow Dance," by Martin Lewis, 1930.

Light and Shadows at The Hyde

By Genevieve VanVoorhis

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Two Exhibitions Explore “The Shadow Aesthetic”

A voice wafts through the gallery, but as I turn to the left, the face that greets me is that of Che Guevara. Next to him is Mao Tse Dong. The sound emanates from a small screen playing a video of Larry Kagan, whose one-man show, “Lying Shadows,” is now on view at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls.

Nathan and Thaddeus Kellstadt listen to the documentary. They’ve come here to see the Hopper exhibition in the Hoopes Gallery, but it is contemporary artist Larry Kagan who captured their attention first.

“Any art that can show you the trick at the same time as mesmerizing you is a winner” says Thaddeus, an artist himself.

There are only three of us in the gallery, but Kagan’s presence is everywhere. Quotations from the artist hang next to each piece, allowing the viewer a glimpse of his thought process and enriching the narrative feel of the exhibition.

The steel sculptures alone appear to be tangled abstract clumps. On the ceiling above them are lighting fixtures as careful and intricate as the sculptures themselves. By shining through the sculptures, they introduce a third medium: shadow. The shadows around the room depict a number of different images with an almost cartoonish clarity. A shoe, a chair, the face of George Washington. The piece “Hoop I” uses an elaborate mass of curling, twisted wire to cast the shadow of a simple ring. Inspired by a shadow in Kagan’s studio, he says it was “interesting to create an image of a shadow casting a shadow.”

“Lying Shadows,” as well as the Hopper exhibition, “Emerging from the Shadows,” were curated by Erin Coe, chief curator at the Hyde.

"Checkerboard (Under the Elevated)," by Louis Lozowick, ca. 1927-1928.

"Checkerboard (Under the Elevated)," by Louis Lozowick, ca. 1927-1928.

Coe has been with the Hyde for almost fifteen years, and her work has earned national recognition for the Hyde.

“As someone who frequently hikes in the Adirondacks, I was always coming up here to go hiking and enjoy the natural beauty” she says, explaining how she came to work at the Hyde. “It wasn’t really the exhibition program that drew me here at the time; it was the caliber of the collection and its reputation. Since I’ve been here I’ve been very interested in developing the exhibition program. A big part of my job is developing the exhibition schedule. I clearly enjoy the work.”

Starting in 2012, Coe came up with a system for building the audience at the Hyde, while simultaneously introducing new contemporary art.

“We did a show of contemporary artist Stephen Knapp, who does light paintings, similar to Kagan,” Coe explains of the 2012 exhibitions. “We had Knapp in the Wood gallery, and he’s not a household name. So how do you get people to come in and see a contemporary artist? You need a big name. So I came up with the idea to do “A Summer of Light.” In the Hoopes Gallery we did an exhibition of Tiffany glass. Tiffany glass brought people in. That kind of launched the idea of having our summer shows more thematically paired to help build an audience base and attract people to the Hyde.”

Coe says that the Kagan exhibition was decided upon first, and she chose Edward Hopper in order to continue using “the shadow aesthetic.”

“It’s really through Hopper’s manipulation of light and shadow that he was able to instill what we would describe as being rather ordinary scenes with the extraordinary, and that, to me, is his genius.”

Both Kagan and Coe are Hopper fans. Their favorite in particular is “Night Shadows.”

“We both agreed if we were going to take one home, it would be that one. It was just iconic,” she said.

“Night Shadows” an etching, is relatively small when compared to three watercolors on the left wall of the Hoopes Gallery.

The watercolors are on loan from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Connecticut, but “Night Shadows” and most of the other pieces in “Emerging from the Shadows” are on loan from private collectors.

For Coe, the greatest challenge to curating the Hopper exhibition was “making sure these other artists were represented. I had to have Night Shadows. I had to have John Sloan. I had to have George Bellows. The Bellows was a bit of a challenge, but it worked out in the end with Thomas French who represents the Bellows estate in Ohio.” Other artists in the exhibition include Martin Lewis, Albert Flanagan, Louis Lozowick, Armin Landeck, and Isabel Bishop.

While putting together the exhibition, Coe says she’s gained a new appreciation for Martin Lewis. “He is not as well known as he should be. He taught Hopper etching and then Hopper gained all the fame and Lewis fell out of favor. His compositions are so cinematic and imbued with a sense of drama impending change. You have to admire the technique and skill that went into creating the piece.”

The Kellstadt brothers file out of the Wood Gallery to explore the Hopper exhibition they’ve been wondering about. I glance at the visitor’s book by the door to the gallery. The exhibition has only been open for two days, but already dozens of pages are filled with grateful notes from guests, thanking the Hyde Collection for bringing this art to the area. As I step from the air-conditioned lobby into the sun, I can’t resist making a shadow puppet of my own on the museum lawn.

“Lying in Shadows” and “Emerging from the Shadows” will be at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls until September 14, 2014.

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Ansel Adams:Trees and Snow, 1933

Ansel Adams:Trees and Snow, 1933

Masterworks of 20th Century Photography at The Hyde

By Mirror Staff

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Exhibitions featuring the work of the greatest photographers of the 20th century opened at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls on January 25.

“Ansel Adams: Early Works” and “Photo-Secession: Painterly Masterworks of Turn-of-the-Century Photography,” are both derived from the private collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg and both will be displayed in the Wood Gallery.

Ansel Adams: Roaring River Falls, ca. 1925

Ansel Adams: Roaring River Falls, ca. 1925

“Ansel Adams: Early Works,” offers a fresh look at key images by Adams from the 1920s through the 1950s.

“Photo-Secession: Painterly Masterworks of Turn – of – the – Century Photography” features masterworks from an international circle of painterly photographers known as the Photo-Secession. The American ‘triumvirate’ of Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Paul Strand are represented along with other key figures in pictorialist photography from both sides of the Atlantic, including Clarence White, Gertrude Käsebier, Alvin Langdon Coburn, and Frederick Evans.

“Ansel Adams and the photographers from the Photo-Secession represent a philosophical turning point in the history of photography,” said Charles Guerin, director of The Hyde. “These photographers considered themselves artists first; artists who used the camera as a tool of creative expression rather than simply as an instrument of documentation.  They transformed the complex and expressive medium of photography, and pushed it to a level of sophistication and perfection, both technically and esthetically, that its acceptance as an art form was assured.  As works of art, many of the photographs in these two exhibitions are as well known as any masterpiece of the 20th Century.”

The Hyde Collection is located at 161 Warren Street. Call 792-1761 for more information.

Karl Struss:Flatiron Building, Twighlight, ca. 1915

Karl Struss:Flatiron Building, Twighlight, ca. 1915

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