Dorsky unveils new show & hosts collecting symposium

Creation. Appreciation. Supply and demand. Does an individual artwork ever truly pass into oblivion? Such textual considerations, and many more, will arise as part of a November 12 symposium on “Curating and Collecting Art in the Hudson Valley” at SUNY-New Paltz, which will feature panels of local experts in each field – most with deep ties to the Woodstock arts scene, both past and present.

Furthermore, the weight of art’s life beyond its origins will also be at play in a new exhibit, “Reading Objects 2011: Responses to the Museum Collection,” opening at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on the same campus, the previous evening. Set to run from Friday, November 11 through July 12, 2012 (with a holiday break from December 12 to February 11), “Reading Objects” is the latest in a series of shows that use SUNY’s ever-growing collection of works of various ages to comment on the ways in which we see and judge art and culture.

This year, for the first time, the implied valuation and exegesis behind individual choices will be by members of the SUNY student body, as well as the school’s faculty and staff. Combined with such recent outside-curated shows as last year’s “Illustrious Mr. X” and “Body, Line, Motion” selections from the permanent collections, and earlier exhibits such as “Analog Catalogue,” “Re-Viewing the Museum” and “Museum, Mission and Meaning,” the “Reading Objects” concept is to exemplify the Dorsky’s role as a teaching museum, as well as our culture’s use of objects to impart deeper lessons about human understanding on all levels.

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The Sunday symposia on curating and collecting work similarly, albeit on a more specified basis. For the session on what’s involved in putting exhibits together, “The Role of the Curator,” SUNY Art History assistant professor Kerry Carso will moderate a discussion among artist and independent curator (KMoCA et cetera) Michael Asbill; Woodstock Artists’ Association and Museum (WAAM) executive director and curator Josephine Bloodgood; Patricia Phagan, the Prints and Drawings curator at Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center; and Ariel Shanberg, executive director and curator at the Center for Photography at Woodstock. For “The Role of the Collector,” moderated by SUNY professor emeritus William Rhoads, panelists will include Hudson Valley art collector Arthur Anderson, vice president of the Dorsky Museum advisory board and co-chair of WAAM; Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild president emeritus Doug James, who has worked for 30 years building numerous Woodstock-based institutional art collections; contemporary collector and former WAAM board president Lee Sider; and Jean Young, an artist, author and collector of 20th-century American art, with a focus on artists from the Woodstock art colony.

Author and curator Linda Weintraub, founder of Artnow Publications, will kick off the Saturday-afternoon panel at 2 p.m. following a 1 p.m. gallery tour of “Reading Objects,” with a keynote address in the Coykendall Science Building’s main lecture hall.

Why the concentration on Woodstock, some might ask? It has to do with the colony’s long, illustrious history, as well as the current community’s continuing organizational strength, given the number of healthy arts entities still active and thriving there, as well as the place’s role as a haven for collectors. That doesn’t mean that discussion won’t wander away from its borders, or that the symposium idea won’t pull on other regional sources and sites in the future.

All events, including the November 11 opening reception for “Reading Objects” from 5 to 7 p.m., and a reception following the “Curating and Collecting” symposium, are free to the public, and part of this autumn’s tenth anniversary of the Dorsky Museum. For more information call (845) 257-3844 or visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum.

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