“The Dorsky at 20” opens September 11, celebrating museum’s history & donors

Aaron Siskind, Boy’s Head, Harlem, 1932, printed 1981, gift of Howard Greenberg, 2020.006.002.

With the coming of autumn, among the treats traditionally in store are the openings of not one, but three new exhibitions at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on the campus of SUNY New Paltz. This year, with bans on public gatherings (hopefully) behind us, art-lovers can see the new shows beginning on Saturday, September 11, with a joint opening reception scheduled for Sunday, September 12 from 12 to 4 p.m.

Grace Bakst Wapner, Scholar’s Garden XI (fleshly oriental tree with flower heads), 2004, gift of artist.


The three fall exhibitions are “Life after the Revolution: Kate Millett’s Art Colony for Women,” curated by Anna Conlan, in the Morgan Anderson Gallery and Howard Greenberg Family Gallery; “Follies and Picturesque Tourism,” curated by Kerry Dean Carso, in the Seminar Room Gallery; and a birthday/anniversary celebration for the museum itself, “The Dorsky at 20: Reflections at a Milestone,” in the Sara Bedrick Gallery.

On October 20, 2001, a dream held by Samuel Dorsky, Neil Trager and many others came to fruition when SUNY New Paltz and the larger Hudson Valley community celebrated the opening of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on campus. Over those two decades, the museum’s holdings have grown to more than 6,000 objects, ranging from ancient Chinese ceramics to Hudson River School paintings and 20th-century photography. “Our permanent collection depends on the generosity of others,” explained Wayne Lempka, who is co-curating “The Dorsky at 20” with Amy Fredrickson. “With this show, we are honoring people who are making gifts to us, whether promised or in the future.”

The artworks to be displayed represent many media, including paintings, prints, photographs, ceramic sculpture and glasswork, according to Lempka. None will need to be dug out or dusted off: Created in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, all were “either gifted in honor of this anniversary or promised to us by lenders. They’re all-new,” he said. “It’s a celebratory exhibition honoring our 20 years as a museum – not only a leading force on campus, but in the Hudson Valley and beyond.”

Among the art donors being honored are Arthur A. Anderson, Osi Audu, Julie Cash, Lesley Dill, the family of John Driscoll, Howard Greenberg, Mr. & Mrs. Richard F. Lease, Sarah Greer Mecklem & Merrill Mecklem Piera, Floyd Lattin & Ward Mintz, the estate of Marcuse Pfeifer, Ken Ratner and Grace Bakst Wapner.

“This exhibition will be the first rendition of a two-part series where we reflect on our history, plan for our future, and honor all those who have helped to shape the Dorsky Museum into what it is today,” says the college’s press release.

This exhibition will be on view through December 12. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; it is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, holidays and during school intersessions. Fredrickson and Lempka will discuss “The Dorsky at 20: Reflections at a Milestone” in a virtual curator talk on Wednesday, September 22 at 2 p.m. For information on how to attend, or to learn more about the exhibition, visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum/exhibitions/dorsky-at-20.