“One thing that’s so nice about open-air sculpture installations,” says Sarah Bachelier, curator of this year’s Kingston Sculpture Biennial, “is that it reminds people that artists are interested in engaging with the community, not just in making works to show in galleries and in their own circles. People that don’t go to galleries get to see things that they wouldn’t experience otherwise.”
Sixteen artists, many of them local, were invited to interpret the theme “Texture of Place” for this year’s Biennial. Twenty of their works will be placed all along lower Broadway and the Rondout waterfront beginning Saturday, July 6, and an opening reception will be held that day from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Arts Society of Kingston (ASK). The Visitor Center at 308 Clinton Avenue will have maps for a self-guided tour, and Bachelier hopes to have those available soon to print out from the ASK website, too. On the first Saturday of each month through October, a one-hour guided tour will be conducted by Bachelier, in which visitors will have the opportunity to ask questions. The Biennial will remain on view through October 31.
Mounting an outdoor exhibition always involves some consideration of what the elements will do to the art and what the landscape allows in terms of viewing the dimensionality of the works. Bachelier says that some of the artists, like Bennett Wine, have been involved in the Biennial before and had specific locations in mind for their work, even including a siting request in their proposals. Others relied on Bachelier’s judgment as curator to site the piece, such as her placement of Brooklyn artist Amelia Toelke’s Home Sweet Home, a flat work of art resembling gold nameplate necklaces that Bachelier deemed best placed outside the Visitor Center.
This will be the tenth Kingston Sculpture Biennial. The Arts Society of Kingston (ASK) is the force behind the show, which used to have funding from the City of Kingston but does not any longer. The Biennial is not as extensive as it used to be in years past, but the fact that ASK is able to mount it at all is an accomplishment.
Curator Bachelier grew up in the Hudson Valley and earned a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003 and an MA in Curatorial Studies from Bard College in 2008. Bachelier says that her years working at Dia:Beacon, running the education program there, contribute to her interest in making art accessible to the public. She plans to put together a panel discussion at the end of the Biennial with some of the artists participating, and would like to do some programs with nearby schoolchildren as well.
ASK Kingston Sculpture Biennial opening reception, Saturday, July 6, 5-6 p.m., free, 97 Broadway, Kingston; (845) 338-0331, www.askforarts.org.