Items tagged with 'art'

Hyperplace Troy

hyperplace Troy logoThis could be interestingly weird or weirdly interesting: Hyperplace Troy, a series of events this weekend. Blurbage:

Our contemporary notions of place have shifted and expanded as technology and mobility touches the lives of local and global communities. Virtual environments, GPS signals, gentrification, psycho-geography, local ecology, and urban decay are some of the themes artists traverse while navigating their relationships with Place. ...
Hyperplace Troy's program will feature media and visual artists, readings, performances, workshops, and discussions. Hyperplace Troy seeks to bring together artists and audiences from various backgrounds and to foster engagement, sparking new discoveries and conversations.

The events this Friday and Saturday include iParade ("a locative film experience" through downtown Troy), a discussion panel at the Rensselaer County Historical Society, and a performance at the Troy Music Hall ($15).

Rose refreshed

warehouse district rose mural refreshed 2015-08-27

We noticed this week that the prominent rose mural gracing the side of an office building on Broadway in Albany's Warehouse District was looking a bit brighter. And it turns out the mural recently got a refresh. (Here's how it looked last year.)

In one of those coincidences of fate, the artist who painted the mural almost two decades ago was Casiano del Peral -- the father of Nine Pin Cider Works founder Alejandro del Peral. As you know, the cidery opened a few years back in a building right below the mural. And Casiano was the one back on the scaffolding to refresh the rose.

Nine Pin advertises on AOA.

Seeing Double at the Albany Institute

egas anaglyph albany institute

Opening this weekend at the Albany Institute of History and Art: Seeing Double: The Anaglyphs of Eric Egas.

Anaglyph? They're stereoscopic images that appear to be 3D when viewed with through special glasses.

Exhibit blurbage:

In this experiential exhibition, Egas engulfs viewers in situational modalities through the selection and placement of anaglyphs that explore human relationships with nature, the meaning of the absurd, human aggression, and aesthetic impulses. Thirty-five prints, ranging in size of about four square feet, show the range of Egas' career experimenting with the medium. Visitors will explore the exhibition with anaglyph viewers which will allow them to experience the depth and contrast of the photographs.

And, yep, 3D glasses will be provided.

The exhibit opens this Saturday (August 15) and runs through October 25.

Egas, who spends part of the year in Greenville, will be at the Albany Institute September 3 for a talk about his work. And because that's a Thursday, admission to event is free.

Opalka Gallery 2015 fall season

Here's the slate of events for this fall at Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus. One of the things that caught our eye about the lineup is that it includes a bunch of events about video games.

Without any further ado....

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Pasties, Pencils, and Pints 3rd anniversary

pasties pencils and pints 2015 JulySassy drink 'n draw Pasties, Pencils, and Pints returns to The Hangar in Troy July 16 after taking a few local months off. It's the 3rd anniversary of the series.

The model for this month's session is Miss Couple. There will be a cash bar, and music from DJ Heat Machine. And it's BYODS -- Bring Your Own Drawing Supplies. (There will also be coloring books available.)

So, what's the motivation behind these drink 'n draw nights? We talked with organizer Emily Armstrong about it almost two years ago:

It needs to be sassy. And it's like, the model is supposed to be sexy and everybody's encouraged to cheer for them. The model's working their sex appeal -- whatever that means for for him and her. And people are supportive of it and people cheer, no matter if that's somebody that they'd be attracted to. That's irrelevant, they're there and they're participating and doing an encouraging, fun thing.

The event starts at 8:30 pm on Thursday, July 16. It's $10.

The Making of the Hudson River School -- online

A View of the Great Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River by Pownall

"A View of the Great Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River," Thomas Pownall (1722-1805), engraved by Paul Sandby (1725-1809), etching on laid paper, c. 1761-1768 - Albany Institute of History and Art, Bequest of Ledyard Cogswell, Jr.

The Albany Institute of History and Art has put together an online version of its The Making of the Hudson River School exhibit, which ran in 2013. Blurbage:

[T]his exhibition reveals that much more went into the making of the Hudson River School, such as the influence of European traditions and cultural movements, as well as America's natural environment and commercial spirit. The Hudson River School also emerged alongside the new medium of photography, the new science of geology, and new technologies that transformed travel and inaugurated an industrial revolution. The Hudson River School ultimately helped shape an American identity.

The online exhibit is nicely designed, taking you a series of themes and developments that set the stage for, and then exemplified, the Hudson River School. And it's packed with works of art -- many of them depicting local scenes -- that you can click on to get better view.

One work that caught our eye today in the "Topographical Tradition" section was this above drawing of the Cohoes Falls by a British official Thomas Pownall in the late 1700s. From the description that accompanies the work:

Pownall visited the falls twice, but it was during his second visit, when the river was high, that he encountered its sensational splendor and made his sketch. He recounted "I went a second Time to view these Falls; they were then a most tremendous Object. The Torrent, which came over, filled the whole Space from Side to Side; before it reached the Edge of the Fall it had acquired a Velocity which the Eye could scarce follow; and although at the Fall the Stream tumbled in one great Cataract: yet it did not appear like a Sheet of Water; it was a tumultuous Conglomeration of Waves foaming, and at Intervals bursting into Clouds of Vapour, which fly off in rolling Eddies like the Smoak of great Guns."

The Albany Institute has been steadily expanding its online collections, which are full of maps, drawings, and objects related to Albany-area history and beyond.

The Albany Institute advertises on AOA.

Capital Region project wins national public art challenge

breathing lights project rendering

A rendering showing how Breathing Lights might look.

A joint Albany-Schenectady-Troy project has been selected as one of four winners of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, and is now in line for up to $1 million in funding from the org.

The local project is called "Breathing Lights" and aims to make use of vacant properties in the three cities.

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"The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol" at The Hyde Collection

wigs andy warholAn exhibit of drawings by Andy Warhol -- The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol: 1973 - 1987 -- opens this weekend at The Hyde Collection. Blurbage (link added):

More than any other medium, drawing was essential to Andy Warhol's creative output. This exhibition, organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, offers works created during on of the most prolific periods of his life employing a confident and fluid contour line to depict some of the same motifs of his iconic paintings: celebrity portraits, flowers, and ads. Many of the drawings in this exhibition are on view to the public for the first time.

Opening night for the exhibit is this Saturday, June 20 from 6:30-8 pm. It's $30 per person and includes hors d'oeurves, wine, and beer.

The exhibit will be open as part of general museum admission on Sunday. It will be on display through September 27.

image: Andy Warhol, Wigs $8.95, ca. 1983. ©AWF

Winslow Homer
Also opening Sunday: Homer's America: Selections from the Permanent Collection, "a selection of approximately two dozen works, including engravings, etchings, and paintings that focus on the artist's chronicling of American life."

Earlier on AOA:
+ Day trip: Glens Falls and The Hyde Collection
+ Eating in Glens Falls: 5-10-15-20

Who hasn't been inspired by the "Let's Have a Party, Albany" video?

drawing up central 2015 winner

You know that Washington Park Moses is going to keep it festive and chill. / photo courtesy of Central Avenue BID

Here's the winning entry from the Drawing Up Central sidewalk art contest this past Saturday in Albany.

The winning entry, a play on Albany's coat of arms, was created by Sam Wickstrom, who told the Central Ave BID her panel was also inspired by the "Let's Have A Party, Albany" music video from 1986. Heh.

Here are more photos from the contest.

AOA was a media sponsor of Drawing Up Central.

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef

rutabaga comic composite with author

By Lauren Hittinger

When you think of adventures in mysterious lands with dragons, kings, and barbarians, you probably don't think of chefs.

But that's exactly how local artist and graphic novelist Eric Colossal imagined Rutabaga, the main character in his recently released comic Rutabaga, the Adventure Chef. This tenacious and scrappy chef seems to always cook his way out of the troubles he invariably finds himself in.

I chatted with Eric Colossal about the story behind Rutabaga, and his experiences becoming a full-time artist working on published books.

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GameFest 2015

rpi gamefest 2015 posterReturning to EMPAC this weekend: GameFest. What is GameFest? Blurbage:

GameFest at Rensselaer is an annual celebration of creativity and innovation in digital games, with a student showcase and competition, music performances, and presentations from veteran game designers, critics, scholars, and indie developers.
Since 2003, GameFest has grown into a regional event that brings together game design students from schools throughout the Northeast, with a competition judged by industry experts. Talks and panels include topics from serious games and entrepreneurship to deep design questions and the democratization of independent game development. Music performances range from music made with repurposed game consoles to an orchestra performing classical arrangements of music from games.

This year's event, which runs Friday evening through Saturday, includes:

+ A discussion about games for purposes beyond entertainment.

+ A concert featuring "game music, chiptunes, livecoding, circuitbending, beats, and interactive visuals from this eclectic collective of DJ's, musicians, and video artists."

+ The game design showcase with work from students from eight colleges and universities.

+ A keynote by James Portnow, "a game designer and consultant known for his theories on socially positive design."

Here's the full schedule. It's free and open to the public.

The Seahawks didn't run the ball and The Clark ended up with this painting

Albert Bierstadt Puget Sound

This work -- Albert Bierstadt's "Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast" -- arrived at the Clark Friday on loan as part of the museum's Super Bowl bet with the Seattle Art Museum. (The Clark had put up one of its Winslow Homer paintings for the bet.)

The painting will be on display at The Clark for the next three months.

By the way: You still have a month to catch the Machine Age Modernism exhibit at the Clark.

Earlier on AOA: Day trip: Williamstown and The Clark

image: "Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast" by Albert Bierstadt, The Seattle Art Museum -- via Wikipedia

Drawing Up Central 2015

Drawing Up Central 2014 winner koi pondThe Drawing Up Central sidewalk art contest is back May 9. The grand prize for this year's contest is $500 cash.

Contest blurbage:

This community-wide event, which is part of the City of Albany's 67th Annual Tulip Festival, will feature artists from all over the region, competing for cash and prizes in a sidewalk chalk art contest. Join individuals, families, students, and organizations, and create your masterpiece, right on Central Avenue's sidewalks. Every participant will receive chalk and other materials as part of their registration. "Drawing Up Central" will be staffed by young people from Equinox's Youth Outreach Center. Providing youth at risk with opportunities to perform community service within their community and support local businesses is one of the positive development objectives of the center.
This year's contest will take place on Central Avenue, between N. Lake and Quail Street, in the heart of Albany's Midtown Grid. ...

The photo on the right is last year's grand prize-winning entry.

The contest is organized by the Central Avenue BID. Registration is $10 and available online at the link above.

photo: Central Avenue BID Twitter

Electric City Couture 2015

Electric City Couture 2015 promo

The Electric City Couture Fashion Show will be back at Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs April 25. Tickets are $15 and for sale online now.

Blurbage for this year's show:

The evening will showcase Signature Collections of 5 Regional Designers including Schenectady based special guest 'MA+CH (f. Marika Charles),' an international fashion brand and for the first time ever, a full mens line by Saratoga based 'frittelli and LOCKWOOD' supported by upcycled footwear designer Schenectady based 'The Last Gentleman Co.' The show will have roughly 55 male and female models on the runway. Targeted proceeds from this years show will go to the ongoing restoration work of Historic Universal Preservation Hall. ...
The Electric City Couture mission is to provide a platform to increase awareness for regional fashion designers and fashion support industries to stimulate a regional fashion based economy.

The show starts at 8 pm on Saturday, April 25. It's general seating, first come, first sit, with standing-room overflow.

photo: Lea Sophie Foto

Capital District project is a finalist for national public art prize

bloomberg public art project finalists map

A map of cities that submitted proposals. / map: Bloomberg Philanthropies

A joint submission by Albany-Schenectady-Troy to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge has made it to the final round, the org announced today. The competition will award at least three cities as much as $1 million for their proposed projects.

And what did the Capital District cities end up proposing? Blurbage:

Albany, Schenectady and Troy, NY - Breathing Lights
Illuminating the Need for Community Revitalization

The City of Albany, in partnership with its neighboring cities of Schenectady and Troy, proposes to illuminate up to 500 vacant homes nightly over two months. Working with artist Adam Frelin and more than 25 community and private sector partners, including the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, this multi-site installation aims to regenerate interest in once-vibrant neighborhoods that currently have high vacancy rates. This consortium proposes to culminate the project with a regional summit on vacant homes and abandoned buildings to engage local residents, prospective buyers and investors, and policy makers.

Bloomberg Philanthropies says 237 cities submitted projects.

The other finalists: Albuquerque; Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Des Moines; Gary, Indiana; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Hartford; Los Angeles; Maplewood, Minnesota; and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Earlier on AOA: Public Art Challenge

Made in Troy: The Iris Lamp

Check it out: A Troy-based company called Lightexture is making these adjustable "iris" lamps that create a range of light patterns. The company is raising money on Kickstarter -- it's already raised $31k, more than double its goal -- with 18 days to go.

The video above shows the lamps in action. There are also a few photos after the jump.

The people behind Lightexture are artists/designers Yael Erel and Avner Ben Natan. You might recognize Erel's work from the "Subliminal Transcriptions" light exhibit at the Arts Center of the Capital Region a few years back.

Oh, and if you're thinking the lamps look like vegetable steamers, there's a reason -- a metal steamer was used as an early prototype.

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Machine Age Modernism at The Clark

sledgehammers Sybil Andrews

"Sledgehammers" by Sybil Andrews / Daniel Cowin Collection

This looks interesting: The Clark is opening an exhibit called Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection this Saturday (February 28). It includes prints from a handful of early 20th century British printmakers. Exhibit blurbage:

The first three decades of the twentieth century in Britain were a time of great civic and cultural change, ones that witnessed social and economic growth followed by depression, political turmoil, and vast technological advancement. Today known as the Machine Age, this was an era when industry and mechanization were embraced both economically and visually. New modes of communication and transportation--radios, trains, automobiles, airplanes--along with the rise of new building types such as the skyscraper transformed the landscape of the country. Amid the mass consumerism that emerged at this time, the fascination with all things mechanized ultimately gave rise to its seeming opposite: a desire for a return to craft and the hand-made.

The exhibit includes 13 works by Sybil Andrews, as well as works by Edward Wadsworth (image search) and C. R. W. Nevinson (image search).

There's an exhibit opening talk with curator Jay Clarke this Sunday, March 1 at 3 pm.

Machine Age Modernism is at the Clark through May 17.

Earlier on AOA: Day trip: Williamstown and The Clark

Day trip: Glens Falls

glens falls day trip composite

By Lauren Hittinger

As the winter drags on, I'm continuing to look for accessible day trips to keep away cabin fever. I recently visited Glens Falls, which was a perfect spot for a little adventure and exploration.

Glens Falls is far enough away that it's not a regular destination for me, but close enough for an impulse day trip.

Plus, the town is filled with arts and culture.

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Day trip: Williamstown and The Clark

The Clark Clark Center exterior 2015 January

The new building at The Clark.

By Lauren Hittinger

Normally I am a very active person, but the cold weather makes me an unhappy shut-in. This winter I want to change all of that. I'm going to be highlighting some great day trips and activities that work well in the winter, by either celebrating the snowy weather... or by staying mostly indoors.

Our first destination is Williamstown, which is great for art lovers. I started out the day at the newly renovated Clark museum, and spent the rest of my time enjoying this old Western Massachusetts town.

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The Poestenkill Lion

The artwork above -- known as "The Poestenkill Lion" -- is now on display at the Rensselaer County Historical Society. It's a sharp turn of fate for artwork -- it was almost firewood a few years back.

From an RCHS press release:

The lion first came to RCHS in 2011, when long-time RCHS supporters Hughes and Eva Gemmill donated this delightful painting. The painting, which dates to c.1840 and is by an unknown artist, is done on four wide boards, thinly painted with milk paint on unfinished wood.
Discovered a number of years ago during the demolition of a summer kitchen in a house in Poestenkill, the lion was almost lost to history. The dismantled wood was slated to be used as firewood. Thankfully, before these four boards were burnt, the Gemmills noticed a bit of color peeking out from underneath layers of plaster and wallpaper. After some careful removal of the plaster and wallpaper, the complete image of the lion appeared.
The Gemmills did find evidence of at least one other animal. RCHS also has in its collection the small fragments of wood that depict another animal, possibly a leopard, which came from the same space. It is possible that there were more animal figures on other boards that did not survive.
Once the Gemmills had the complete painting of the lion, they hung the four boards over their bed, until they decided to donate the painting to RCHS.

RCHS says the lion is probably based on an illustration from a Bible or maybe the work of Edward Hicks. The artist is unknown.

The historical society got a $2,500 grant this year to restore the work, and sent it to O'Connor Art Conservation in the Berkshires for cleaning and repair.

image: Rensselaer County Historical Society

Public Art Challenge

sculpture_in_the_streets_pearl.jpgThere's still time to submit ideas for the Public Art Challenge, a local effort to land as much as $1 million for a public art project in the Capital Region. Blurbage:

The cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy are jointly soliciting submissions for public art projects, as part of a collaborative response to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge. The challenge invites mayors of cities with populations of greater than 30,000 residents to collaborate with artists and arts organizations in developing innovative projects that engage residents and attract visitors.

A committee made up of the mayors' offices and Regional Alliance for a Creative Economy will review the submissions and select one to jointly submit to the Bloomberg competition.

Here's a FAQ -- it says collaboration among people is encouraged, and you don't have to be an artist to submit an idea.

The deadline for local submissions is November 17.

By the way: The Capital Region Creative Economy Regional Summit is this Thursday, November 13 at Proctors. It's free and open to the public (registration required).

East Coast Screen Print Biennial in Troy

screen print biennial 2014 composite

Clips from pieces from some of the artists whose work will be on display (clockwise from top left): "They Said Stones" by Shawn Bitters; "Canopy" by Taryn McMahon; "Demos Onoiroi" by Mark Hosford; "Laugh Riot" by Midwest Pressed (Tim Dooley and Aaron Wilson).

By Lauren Hittinger

This September the first East Coast Screen Print Biennial is coming to the Capital Region, and it's a pretty big deal.

Screen printing as an art form has been around since the early 1900s, tracing its roots to industrial printing. And most of us have screen printed items in our houses, probably in clothing and other textiles. Even so, there hasn't been a recent large scale exhibition in the United States to showcase the art form.

Local artist and RPI faculty member Nathan Meltz decided to change that. So he organized the biennial at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy to celebrate the artistic side of the medium and showcase many of the different paths this artform can take.

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Submissions for BUILT 2014

HAF BUILT logoHistoric Albany Foundation's annual BUILT event is just a few months away, which means the deadline for submitting pieces of art for the art-inspired-by-Albany-architecture auction. About what HAF is looking for:

Historic Albany Foundation invites artists of all ages and skill levels to submit work. All submitted artwork should speak to the buildings of Albany's past, present, & future and their impact on Albany's built and social environments.
In addition to photography and traditional artwork, Historic Albany is encouraging and opening its "window" to a broader range of media; including items constructed from salvage, textiles, metalworking, graphic media, etc.

Artists split the proceeds on each piece 50-50 with HAF. There's also a $400 best in show prize, and $350 in other prizes. It's $30 to submit a work.

The deadline is submit is September 8.

HAF advertises on AOA.

Under the bridge... IT'S TROYBOT!

TroyBot mural

Check it out: There's a new mural under the Green Island Bridge depicting TroyBot.

The mural is on the wall of the Troy-side bridge overpass. It's based on a design by Ben Karis-Nix from Troy Cloth and Paper. A group of volunteers, including RPI and Sage students, helped paint the piece last week.

The TroyBot character is an imagined version of the Green Island Bridge that can transform into a giant robot. The mural depicts TroyBot helping the city after a storm.

Here are a handful of large-format pics.

Hudson River School stamps

USPS Hudson River School stamps

The US Postal Service is releasing a set of Hudson River School forever stamps on Thursday. The set includes four paintings:

+ Distant View of Niagara Falls (1830) by Thomas Cole, from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
+ Summer Afternoon (1865) by Asher B. Durand, from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
+ Sunset (1856) by Frederic Edwin Church, from the collection of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute
+ Grand Canyon (1912) by Thomas Moran, from the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Oddly enough (well, it's odd to us), none of the four stamps in the Hudson River School set appear to depict a Hudson River location. (The Frederic Edwin Church is apparently thought to perhaps be depicting a scene from New Hampshire.) Sure, "Hudson River School" doesn't necessarily mean "Hudson River," but, you know, the USPS could have done the river valley a philatelic favor.

As you know, the Albany Institute collection includes more than 60 paintings, along with many other materials, from painters associated with the school.

Harvey Milk: The USPS issued a stamp honoring Harvey Milk earlier this year. As you also know, the activist and politician was a UAlbany graduate -- class of 1951.

Paper artist Niki Haynes


Niki Haynes at work

By Lauren Hittinger

Niki Haynes says she's "living the analog" dream. Haynes and her husband, Steve Rein are artists who came to Troy 14 years ago, from San Francisco. And a field where many are forced to do unrelated jobs to pay the bills, Haynes and Rein are thriving as full time exhibiting artists, working in spacious studios in their downtown Troy home, operating with multiple etsy shops, turning old objects, and paper, into new art.

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Directions in sculpture

Art break: Check out this short film about Albany artist Abe Ferraro and his LEGO/erector set-like shipping box sculptures.

The video is part of "Albany my Albany," series by Juan Luis Lopez Fons profiling local artists and entertainers. There are six episodes in the current season.

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Basilica Soundscape 2014

tim hecker corn field

Tim Hecker is among the artists lined for this year's Basilica Soundscape.

The Basilica Hudson is bringing back the two-day music and art festival Basilica Soundscape on September 12 and 13. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $35 per day / $60 for both days.

The blurbage calls the fest "a carefully curated two-day program ... featuring a wide range of music, visual art, and literature that aims for specific connections and overlaps instead of 'festival'-style overload. ... The weekend will also include visual arts, performance art, readings, farm to table food and more."

The lineup, so far, includes: Swans, Tim Hecker, Julia Holter, Richard Reed Parry (from Arcade Fire), White Lung, Meredith Graves (from Perfect Pussy), Guardian Alien, Greg Fox, and Emily Reo.

Visual artist Sterling Ruby will be creating works for the fest, and once again there will be food from Alimentary Kitchen.

Basilica Soudscape is a collaboration between Basilica creative directors Melissa Auf Der Maur and Tony Stone, Pitchfork senior editor/director of events Brandon Stosuy, and Brian De Ran of music management company Leg Up. Over at Pitchfork there are pics from last year's event. And Sasha Frere-Jones wrote about it for The New Yorker.

The Basilica itself is a former 19th century factory in Hudson located near the train station there. It's a cool space.

photo courtesy of Tim Hecker

Mingle mural

mingle mural samson contompasis

Here's a larger photo.

We took a minute this week to stop by Mingle on Delaware Ave in Albany to gawk at the new mural on the side of the restaurant building.

The mural is the work of local artist/gallery owner Samson Contompasis, and is based on imagery from Prohibition-era Albany. (Contompasis also recently decorated one of the pianos in the "Play Me, I'm Yours" Sculpture in the Streets installation.)

We hear another mural is in the works for the opposite side of the building.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Interesting in 2011: Samson Contompasis
+ Sculpture in the Streets 2014
+ Sprinting across the wall on Central Ave

Mingle advertises on AOA.

Sculpture in the Streets 2014

play me i'm yours suny admin

This year's Sculpture in the Streets in downtown Albany officially opens Friday -- there's a garden party then to celebrate the opening -- but the pieces were in place Thursday, so we took a few minutes to check them out.

This year's installation is "Play Me I'm Yours," a series of actual, playable pianos that have been decorated by local artists. The pieces are part of a series created by artist Luke Jerram that's appeared in 45 cities around the world.

There are 13 pianos in the Albany installation. That link includes a map and artist information.

The series is a fun idea. Even in just the few minutes today while we snapped a few photos people were stopping to check out the pianos and play a few notes.

A handful of pics are after the jump.

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The School

the school kinderhook

Still looks like a school from the outside.

How about this: A NYC-based gallerist has turned a 30,000 square foot former elementary school in Kinderhook into a gallery (yes, that Kinderhook). Its name: The School. (Because of course it is.)

From a NYT T Magazine recap of the opening (with slideshow) this past weekend of Jack Shainman Gallery's The School:

The last time artwork adorned the walls of the Martin Van Buren school in Kinderhook, N.Y., it had been commissioned at the request of elementary school teachers. On Saturday, however, both new and retrospective pieces by the artist Nick Cave were installed throughout the newly converted 30,000-square-foot building, while dancers costumed in Cave's idiosyncratic Soundsuits performed outside for a crowd of art-world cognoscenti and local residents. ...
Joining Dia Beacon, Storm King, the much-hyped forthcoming Marina Abramovic Institute and other new galleries that recently cropped up in the area, the reworked 1929 Federal Revival building and its five-acre property -- situated near the main square of the quaint, picturesque village -- offer yet another lure for art seekers heading north from the city.

Or, as Vogue would like you to know: "In case you hadn't heard, upstate New York is the art world's latest hotspot." (There's also video from the opening at that link.)

The School will be open to the public on Saturdays from 11 am-5 pm starting May 31, according to the gallery's website.

Also: The new season at the Art Omi's Fields Sculpture Park in nearby Ghent opens June 14.

(Thanks, Jamie)

photo via Jack Shainman Gallery FB

Visions of a Capital Region after us


From John Bulmer's Reclaimed series.

By Lauren Hittinger

Have you ever wondered what the Capital Region would look like if everyone just disappeared? Whether it was from zombie apocalypse or mass exodus, the landscape would certainly change if we weren't around to mold and maintain it.

Photographer John Bulmer has taken this idea and turned it into two series of remarkable of photo illustrations. His Reclaimed series imagines an abandoned Capital Region landscape after a catastrophic situation. The Dark City series is a little more peaceful, imagining how our region would look at night without artificial light from sources such as buildings and streetlights.

The images in both series are eerily believable.

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"Play Me, I'm Yours" applications

play me I'm yours Times SquareThis year's Sculpture in the Streets project for downtown Albany will be "Play Me, I'm Yours." Blurbage:

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I'm Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. More than 1200 pianos have now been installed in 45 cities across the globe, from Paris to Santiago, bearing the simple invitation Play Me, I'm Yours. The project has already reached more than four million people worldwide.
The Downtown Albany Business District is presenting Play Me, I'm Yours from June 13 until July 27 2014. Ten pianos, decorated by local artists and community groups, will be located in parks, squares and other public spaces in Downtown Albany for anyone to play and enjoy.

The Downtown Albany BID is accepting applications from artists who are interested in decorating one of the pianos. Here's the application. The deadline is this Friday, April 25. (Yep, we should have mentioned this sooner.)

The Downtown Albany BID has advertised on AOA.

Pecha Kucha at the Opalka Gallery

opalka gallery sage perceptions exhibit

The Opalka Gallery

The first official Pecha Kucha event for the Albany area is lined up for this Friday (February 28) at the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus. The event starts at 6:30 pm, with presentations beginning at 7 pm. It's free.

Pecha Kucha? It's a rapid presentation method in which a speaker gives a talk using 20 slides that are displayed for 20 seconds each. The format forces people to just get right to the point. The idea is to keep things fun -- and moving. First started in 2003, there are now Pecha Kucha nights all over the world.

The Opalka event will be connected with the current exhibit Perceptions: Sage College of Albany Art + Design Faculty Show. The presentations have titles such as "Searching While Sleepwalking...and Still Searching," "On Being Creative and Curious," and "My Smart Phone's Photographic Journey Through Albany and Beyond."

The organizers for the local series are Hezzie Johanson from CAC Troy, Laban Coblentz from Tech Valley Center of Gravity, and the Opalka Gallery's Elizabeth Greenberg.

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The Albany Institute, Googled

google art project albany institute screengrab

A screengrab from the Albany Institute's collection on Google Art Project.

Check it out: The Albany Institute of History and Art has been added to Google's Art Project, an online gallery of works from museums around the world.

The Google project, started in 2011, now includes 53 works from the institute, ranging from old images of Albany to the Hudson River School paintings to photos of objects. The interface for browsing the images is nice -- and the works are available is very high resolution. An example: check out this panorama of the Albany waterfront from around the beginning of the 20th century. You can zoom in to see details very clearly.

Google Art Project currently has collections from 314 museums posted online. Of that group, 92 museums are also available in "museum view" -- it's like StreetView, but inside the museum. Example: The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Albany Institute will eventually be joining that group -- the Google camera was there today.

It's good to know that when Google's army of robots eventually over the world, the art might be saved.

Earlier on AOA: Virtually browsing the Albany Institute's collections

The Albany Institute advertises on AOA.

screengrab from Google Art Project

Ansel Adams: Early Works at The Hyde Collection

clearing winter storm ansel adams

"Clearing Winter Storm," by Ansel Adams / The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Opening this weekend at The Hyde Collection: Ansel Adams: Early Works, which include 40 of the famous landscape photographer's works. From the exhibit blurbage:

For much of his early adulthood, Adams was torn between a career as a concert pianist versus one in photography; later, he famously likened the photographic negative to a musical score, and the print to the performance. Yet most museum goers are only familiar with the heroic, high- gloss, high-contrast prints that Adams manufactured to order in the 1970s-80s, coinciding with the emergence of the first retail galleries devoted to photography; as performances, these later prints were akin to "brass bands." Much less familiar are the intimate prints, rich in the middle tones - the "chamber music" - that Adams crafted earlier in his career. The present show focuses on the masterful small-scale prints made by Adams from the 1920s into the 1950s. Already in this time period there is quite an evolution of printing style, from the soft-focus, warm-toned, painterly "Parmelian prints" of the 1920s; through the f/64 school of sharp-focused photography that he co-founded with Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham in the 1930s; and, after the War, towards a cooler, higher-contrast printmaking approach.

The Adams exhibit opens Saturday (January 25) The Hyde Collection and runs through April 20.

A visit to the Hyde + a stop at the new Rare Earth Wine Bar in Glens Falls could be a nice day trip.

(Thanks, Paul.)

Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon the hot dog suspended in beer jello

capital region in aspic by mr dave

Ok, maybe that's not the original quote.

Words fail to truly capture the emotions evoked by the newest work from Mr. Dave, proprietor of The Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York. He calls it "Capital Region in Aspic." (There are more photos at that link, including cross sections. Bonus photo.)

Leaving behind meatloaf and mashed potatoes of his other recent work, Mr. Dave has instead embraced a new collection of media: Knox gelatine, Stewart's Mountain Brew, a Hot Dog Charlie's mini hot dog.

As with any work of art, it's better not to attempt explanation. Meet the work on its own terms. Experience it. Allow your interpretation to flow, as if water, finding its own level.

You will find yourself changed.

photo: The Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York

A tribute to Jerry Jennings in meatloaf and mashed potatoes

mr dave's loafy jennings

Please stop what you're doing and take a moment to view a new work of art. A marking of a historic moment in Albany history as it makes an every-few-decades-or-more transition. A tribute in the media of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Behold: Loafy Jennings.

This masterwork is the creation of the esteemed Mr. Dave, proprietor of the Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York -- where he details the process of creating the meatloaf relief:

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings has been synonymous in my mind with the city at large for the past 20 years. Alas, as all things eventually do, his run as the leader of the city in which I was born has come to an end. One of the dominate traits of my personality is that I do not handle change very well and that I am prone to fits of nostalgia. I am already nostalgic for the Jennings era and it hasn't even come to a close yet. So I was thinking of how, in my own small way, I might offer tribute and in my own nonsensical manner immortalize Mayor Jennings.

All hail Mr. Dave. He has won the local internet today.

photo: The Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York

Advice for buying local art?

framed tulip photoHiggs emails:

Do you know of local stores/galleries from which one can buy art? I'm thinking mostly along the lines of paintings created by local artists, but anything else is great, too.

There are a lot of galleries around the Capital Region, especially if you draw the circle wide enough to include a place such as Hudson. And if you have a favorite local gallery or local artist, please share.

But we're also hoping people will have some advice for Higgs (and everyone else) about the process of buying art. Where to look? What to look for? Buy directly from an artist? Advantages/disadvantages of buying through a gallery? Maybe tips about how to figure out what you like and how to make it work in your house/office/wherever?

So, got a suggestion on any of that... please share!

"The dreams that you have... they're floating dreams"

Check out this nice video piece by the Sanctuary for Independent Media about the creation of the Freedom Square mural in Troy this past summer. Famous Philadelphia-based mosaic artist Isaiah Zager come to town to lead workshops and help coordinate the process.

We like how the video captures a little bit of the joy of creating a new work, something Zagar gets at in this clip:

To see their energy vibrating outwardly, and the joy that comes from feeling that they're accomplishing something. And the accomplishment can be very simple. Somebody walks up and says, "Can I put one tile on?" What is the meaning of that, one tile in there? They placed it, it's going to stay there. They're just ecstatic about something very simple. That it's part of something much bigger. And they understand that. And they feel that. And the the person that works all day -- what do they feel? They feel tired at the end of the day. How lucky it is to feel that they accomplished something. And they're tired. And you go to sleep. And the dreams that you have... they're floating dreams.

This Saturday at Freedom Square is StoryHarvest, a community event with food and music, from 1-5 pm. The event will also serve as the last stop for the Collar City Pre(R)amble, part of an effort to create a trail of sorts through Troy for non-motorized transportation.

Sprinting across the wall on Central Ave

We stopped by the alley next to Earthworld on Central Ave in Albany Friday to check out this excellent new mural. A handful of photos are post jump.

It's the work of the street artist Phlegm, who's painted murals all around the world. He got connected with Albany via photographer Bob Anderson of Art Geek Studios -- Brooklyn Street Art has great photos of the mural by Anderson, along with some backstory.

We get the impression Phlegm's a bit of a mystery man. Low key. Doesn't like having his picture taken. And he created the Central Ave mural in about two days, working from early morning to night, powered by Sovrana's turkey subs. Almost like he's an art superhero.

"I love looking at it," Earthworld owner JC Glindmyer told us today of the mural. "It just brings something different and special. It what's art does ... it moves you."

Glindmyer said Phlegm was quiet, an "awful nice guy." One thing that prompted the artist to react -- Glindmyer mentioning the work reminded him of Edward Gorey meets Terry Gilliam. "He totally beamed at that."

We stopped into Tintstar, an automotive modification shop next door. We'd heard they'd played a role in helping line things up for the mural. Said D, the guy we talked with there: "Seeing the whole process definitely gives you more of an appreciation of it ... He made it look effortless."

And of Phlegm, the guy: "He was just a genuinely good dude."

[via @missstafford]

Earlier on AOA: Living Walls in action

(there's more)

An Armory Show

opalka gallery an armory show

We stopped by the Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus today to check out An Armory Show, an exhibition put together by artists Michael Oatman and Ken Ragsdale. Blurbage:

'An Armory Show' is a multi-discipline project, which pays homage to 'The Armory Show' of 1913, held at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City and presented by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors. The work presented will speak to the dynamic changes that occurred in the art world in general as a result of its occurrence, and to the history of its effect on the artistic life of the Capital Region.
A salon, an exhibition within the installation, will include the work of over 30 artists from the region, including that of RPI faculty Shawn Lawson, Larry Kagan, Nathan Meltz, Paul Miyamoto, and Bill Bergman.

The salon is set up within space created by a drywall facade that resembles a giant tank (complete with turret). It makes the gallery space feel more intimate, and the many of the works of the in the salon -- including illustrations, video, sculpture, collections of small items, one of Heather Dewey-Hagborg's DNA portraits -- prompt you to look closer. It's like of like hanging out inside someone's imagination.

The exhibit just opened this past Friday. It runs through December 15. There's an artists tour with Oatman and Ragsdale October 1 at 5 pm.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Michael Oatman's All Utopia's Fell
+ Peering into Ken Ragsdale's memory

Marina Abramović Institute, kickstarted

Abramović giving a virtual tour of the project in Hudson.

The Marina Abramović Institute in Hudson reached its Kickstarter goal today -- $600,000 raised for the "long-duration performance art" facility. The Kickstarter campaign runs until Sunday afternoon.

The money raised is going toward phase one of the project. MAI says Abramović has put up $1.5 million to this point. So the Kickstarter money will push the total over $2 million. The whole project is projected to cost $20 million.

Looking through the various funding levels, the distribution caught our eye. As you might expect, there were more than 1,000 funders at the $1 level (reward: a hug from Abramović). But there were also 21 people who pledged $10,000 or more.

Abramović is probably the most famous performance artist in the world, thanks in large part to her MoMA exhibit The Artist Is Present. So that fame, plus the out-there ambition of the institute, definitely helped the fundraising campaign. And a naked Lady Gaga probably didn't hurt, either.

Virtually on display at Art Omi

art omi augmented reality tourThis could be kind of interesting: Art Omi in Ghent is hosting augmented reality tours of its Fields sculpture park. From the blurbage for Augmented Reality: Peeling Layers of Space Out of Thin Air:

This 40 minute tour allows viewers to enter a virtual world and see pieces created by 8 architects for Architecture Omi. Using an app installed on your smartphone, these works are viewable in real time as spatial projections onto the landscape - marking a further integration of novel technology in our everyday experience. What we experience here is not fully virtual; what we see on our phone is what we see around us, eerily enhanced by the overlay of digital content.
*This exhibition is only viewable through an iPhone, iPad, or Android. An iPad is provided for shared viewing.

The tours start at dusk (they're aiming for 5:30 pm in August). They're free and open to the public. (Though, as it mentions, you'll need one of those mobile devices -- and it looks you'll need the Layar app, as well.)

It appears Omi has done this before, in 2011. A video clip of the exhibit (installation?) is after the jump.

Augmented reality is one of those things that gets hyped now and then -- and seems like it maybe, could be cool and useful eventually -- but often falls flat. It'd be interesting to see how it plays out in this setting.

(there's more)

Hey, that's Marina Abramović and Lady Gaga and... that's... yep...

lady gaga abramovic

The Kickstarter campaign for the proposed Marina Abramović Institute in Hudson got a burst of attention Thursday after it posted a clip of Lady Gaga practicing the "Abramović Method" -- "a series of exercises designed to heighten participants' awareness of their physical and mental experience in the present moment" -- at a "three-day retreat in upstate New York."

Oh, and Lady Gaga appears naked in the video. (It's probably NSFW -- because of the nakedness -- but it's pretty tame.)

Gaga and Abramović makes sense -- Lady Gaga is probably a performance artist more than anything else.

As of this morning, The MAI Kickstarter had raised a little more than $260k of its $600k goal with 16 days to go. The campaign recently added a new benefit for backers at $1 level: a hug from Abramović herself:

At this event, called THE EMBRACE, Marina will thank everyone who has joined her to create Marina Abramovic Institute with a personal hug.
THE EMBRACE will be held in two undisclosed locations, one in New York City and one in Europe, with exact dates and times to be announced. Founders who are unable to attend will be offered a special reward in lieu of a hug from Marina, to be revealed shortly.

The plan for MAI is to provide a space for "long-duration performance art" at a building in Hudson. A bunch of details about plans for MAI were posted online this past spring -- they're ambitious (the building design includes contributions from Rem Koolhaas) and, depending on your point of view, kind of bonkers (sleeping cocoons and a blood bank).

Picasso Baby: Inspired by Abramović's "The Artist is Present," Jay Z recently performed one of his songs for six straight hours at an art gallery in New York City. It was condensed to a video of about 10 minutes. [NYT] [Vulture]

Earlier on AOA:
+ Marina Abramović Institute Kickstarter
+ A peek at plans for the Marina Abramović Institute

(Thanks, colleen)

screengrab: Marina Abramović Institute Vimeo

Marina Abramović Institute Kickstarter

Marina Abramovic Institute 8-bit video game grabThe Marina Abramović Institute in Hudson -- a facility for "long-duration performance art" created by the famous performance artist -- has a Kickstarter running for the project. And it's a big goal: $600,000, by August 25.

The institute is said to be a $20 million project. So why turn to Kickstarter for some of that? From the project page:

An institute for the benefit of all is best funded not only by a few large donations but also by smaller contributions from the people it hopes to serve. By inviting the broader public to contribute to our early development, Kickstarter helps to affirm and build the engaged community necessary for sustaining MAI into the future. We have designed rewards that encourage backers to engage with time-based and immaterial works. With your contribution, you become a founder of the institute not only financially, but also conceptually, by partaking in the very experiences we hope to create.

It goes on to say that Abramović has already put up $1.5 million toward the project.

Funder awards range from a download of an 8-bit "Digital MAI" game ($5), to a personal session with Abramović via webcam to learn the "Abramovic Method" eye gazing exercise ($1000), to the $10,000 level ("Marina will do nothing. You will do nothing. You will not be publicly acknowledged").

A bunch of details about plans for MAI were posted online this past spring -- they're ambitious (contributions from Rem Koolhaas) and depending on your point of view, kind of bonkers (sleeping cocoons and a blood bank). But the really new and different stuff usually does.

image: MAI / Pippin Barr

Following Stranger Visions

Here's a short TED documentary about the process RPI grad student Heather Dewey-Hagborg uses to create 3-D "portraits" from found DNA. The video is part science talk/part how it's made/park reflection on the near future. Another thing we liked about it is the way it highlights some of the uncertainty in the work, something Dewey-Hagborn readily acknowledges and folds into her thoughts about the project.

[via Colossal)

Earlier on AOA: Stranger Visions

Sidewalk painting from the 2013 River Street Festival

troy river street festival 2013 sidewalk painting

Matthew Ruotolo and his dad, Richard, had side-by-side panels. Matthew's panel (left) is based on a design by Connor Moran, a friend from Wynantskill suffering from Crohn's Disease. Friends of Connor are raising money for his treatment by selling t-shirts with his design.

Our favorite part of the annual River Street Festival in Troy is the sidewalk painting contest. It's fun to the finished panels, but it's even more interesting to watch as the talented artists -- both adults and kids -- carefully create their works with chalk and charcoal.

Here's a big batch of sidewalk panels from the festival this past Saturday...

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Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George at the Hyde Collection

petunias georgia o'keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe's "Petunias" (1925). Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Opening this weekend at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls: Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George, an exhibit of the painter's work during her time staying at Lake George. Blurbage:

The Hyde Collection, in association with the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, is organizing a first-of-its-kind exhibition that will closely examine the extraordinary body of work created by O'Keeffe of and at Lake George. From 1918 until the mid 1930s, O'Keeffe (1887-1986) spent part of the year at Alfred Stieglitz's family estate, a thirty-six acre property situated just north of Lake George village in the southern basin of the lake. The exhibition will present a selection of fifty-eight paintings from both public and private collections.

Stieglitz, himself a famous photographer, organized O'Keeffe's first solo exhibition at a gallery in New York City. Their relationship -- which included a prodigious exchange of letters -- eventually led to marriage. And O'Keeffe became a frequent subject of Stieglitz's photos.

Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George is said to include "full range of works by the artist" -- from "magnified botanical compositions of flowers and vegetables, to a group of remarkable still lifes of apples and pears" to architectural subjects and Lake George panoramas.

The exhibit will be at the Hyde Collection June 15-September 15. The museum is expecting crowds -- so it's offering advance tickets. They're $12.

The Arkell Museum

arkell museum composite

By Casey Normile

Sometimes you don't need a whole day trip, right? It can get tiring, to have the whole long day away from the joy of work and traffic, to just shop and eat and enjoy the day. No, thank you, just a half-day for me. That's all I need.

One destination for a quick half-day trip: the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie.

(there's more)

Philadelphia mosaic muralist leading workshop in Troy

magic gardens philadelphia

From Isaiah Zagar's "Magic Gardens" in Philadelphia.

This could be interesting: Mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar will be at the Sanctuary for Independent Media this weekend for a mosaic mural workshop. Zagar is the creator of the "Magic Gardens" mosaic space in Philadelphia. Event blurbage:

In this two day workshop, we will come together as a community to learn about mosaic construction with recycled materials. Participants will work on a mosaic from conception to completion.
Zagar will teach the arts of breaking tile, cutting mirror, gluing tile, and grouting. While learning the Zagar mosaic-making technique, students participate in the beautification of the local North Troy neighborhood through the completion of a permanent, public mosaic mural at Freedom Square.

The workshop runs 9 am-5 pm both Saturday and Sunday. The org is taking registrations for people who'd like to participate in the full two days. The registration fee is a sliding scale: $1-$350 "depending on what you can contribute." There are also drop-in sessions each day from 1-5 pm ($10 suggested donations / $5 students).

The workshop is part of a year-long "Found Art in North Troy" project and construction of Freedom Square.

photo: Flickr user sashafatcat (cc)

"Subliminal Transcriptions"

subliminal transcriptions by yael erel

We gotta admit when we first read the description for "Subliminal Transcriptions" -- an upcoming light installation at the Arts Center of the Capital Region -- with its mentions of "transcription" and "topography" and "minuscule conditions" we were kind of like... huh? But then we saw the photo above.

Interesting. Beautiful.

"Subliminal Transcriptions" is the creation of Yael Erel, an architect currently in an RPI grad program for architecture and lighting. She's also the co-founder of a lighting design company called lightexture. Here's a short Etsy video about the company from a few years back.

Exhibit blurbage:

Subliminal Transcriptions grew out of a project to understand and control projected reflections from light fixtures, along with the drawings they produce. While working as a luminaire designer, an accidental discovery allowed Erel to realize the complexities evident in the simplest materials and smallest textures. "It all started with a piece of double sided tape" said Erel. When amplified with a reflector, the minuscule and seemingly invisible surface textures were revealed beyond what the naked eye could see.

The opening reception for the installation is June 6 from 5-9 pm. The installation will be on display in the Arts Center's black box theater June 6-8.

Yep, the Arts Center has advertised on AOA.

Stranger Visions

Heather Dewey-Hagborg DNA self-portrait

Heather Dewey-Hagborg and her self portrait. (photo: Dan Phiffer)

Filed under... well, we're not sure: Heather Dewey-Hagborg -- a PhD student in RPI's electronic arts program -- has been creating 3-D "portraits" based on found DNA. From the statement for "Stranger Visions":

In Stranger Visions artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material collected in public places. Working with the traces strangers unwittingly leave behind, Dewey-Hagborg calls attention to the impulse toward genetic determinism and the potential for a culture of genetic surveillance.

A press release from this March explains how she creates the portraits. The process, boiled down: Dewey-Hagborg collects discarded hair, cigarette butts, and chewing gum. She then takes it back to a lab, extracts DNA from the sample, amplifies certain parts of it, then looks for certain segments that are associated with various physical characteristics. The info then goes through a 3-D modeling program and the portrait is printed on a color 3-D printer.

Her website has a bunch of the portraits, along with photos the samples and where they were collected.

(there's more)

Nearing the last word in the Bible

Glazer Phillip In The Willows

Phillip Patterson beneath a willow tree, from 2010. Photo by Laura Glazer.

A few years back Jess wrote about Phillip Patterson, a Columbia County man who was working to handwrite the entire King James bible. From 2010:

Phillip Patterson says he wouldn't necessarily classify himself as a religious person. In fact, some days he veers more toward agnosticism. But he found himself wondering about the bible.
"It's probably one of the most important tomes of Western Civilization," he explains. "We swear on it , we damn people with it, but no one's really read it. We read passages of it, but that's it."
So he decided that the best way for him to really, truly understand this book would be to hand-write it himself, line by line, page by page. He started working on in August 2007, and is now working on the third volume of what he expects will ultimately be 8 or 9 volumes in total.

As Patterson worked on the project, Laura Glazer -- of Hello Pretty City fame -- was documenting his effort through a series of photos.

Well, Patterson is now close to finishing the bible. He'll officially do so at an event at St. Peter's Presbyterian Church in Spencertown on May 11.

The AP's Michael Hill recently talked with both Phillip and Laura about the project now that it's nearing completion. As Phillip told him: "I hadn't counted on the fact that it would end up being beautiful ... Or that it would be so exhilarating. And so long."

A peek at plans for the Marina Abramović Institute

Marina Abramovic Institute interior rendering

The plans include building a "white box" inside a former theater building (that was more recently used for tennis).

There's now a better look at the planned Marina Abramović Institute in Hudson -- a facility for "long-duration performance art" -- thanks to a new website for the project. The eponymous artist is well-known for this sort of this work, most famously for The Artist is Present at MoMA. And the Hudson facility -- which is being designed by an architectural team that includes Rem Koolhaas -- looks ambitious. In a video posted today, Abramović says she hopes it might "change the consciousness of our society today."

The website includes a bunch of renderings and information about the mission of the institute and other long-duration work. But the part that will probably bake your noodle is the presentation on the various aspects of the experience the institute intends to create. Among the parts:

+ A "contract" in which people pledge to spend at least six hours at the institute.

+ Visitors will be asked to leave behind watches, telephones, computers, and cameras -- they'll then be outfitted with lab coats and noise canceling headphones.

+ There will be various chambers: for drinking water, eye gazing, and so on.

+ A "blood bank" aiming to collect "250 drops of blood from the most influential scientists, artists, spiritual leaders, writers, philosophers, and musicians and to preserve a bank of these drops inside MAI."

+ A chamber devoted to Tesla.

+ Sleeping cocoons for people fall asleep during performances.

It all has the feeling of something from science fiction.

MAI is a $15 million project, according to its website. It's aiming to open in 2014.

[via @HudsonMusicFest]

image: OMA

How Phoenix took flight

mass moca xu bing installationOver at the MASS MoCA blog there's an interesting backstory on how Xu Bing's massive Phoenix installation made the long journey from China to the museum. Here's a clip:

The boat ultimately arrived in Philadelphia. It docked there because the crates into which the phoenixes were packed do not conform to containerized standard dimensions. There are very few ports left in the country that can deal with non-containerized sea cargo. Those crates then had to clear customs. MASS MoCA employed a shipping broker to expedite that process. We also hired a trucking company based in New Jersey, which seemed to take its time making its way to MASS MoCA. (I put that as politely as I can.) When something like that--on top of shipping issues and even weather issues--is outside of your control, the frustration really builds up. Once we finally got the art here and started to wrangle with the various components, it was incredibly hard work and a challenge and a test, but that was welcomed after a protracted period of frustration.

The whole story includes a "slow" boat, the Panama Canal, trucks, cranes, huge crates squeezed through doors, chains, and instructions translated from Chinese.

photo: Jane Burns / MASS MoCA

On restoring Albany's ghost signs

Bond Ghost Sign - Chuck Miller.jpg

The Bond Clothing sign the prompted the idea for the project. (From a photoset by Chuck Miller of local ghost signs.)

This year the Downtown Albany BID's Sculpture in the Streets project is titled "All Signs Point to Downtown" -- the BID is aiming to restore a handful of "ghost signs" around downtown. The announcement of the project and its call for artists prompted some interesting discussion about the idea this week, both critical and supportive. And the interest is understandable: this work will be on display for thousands of people all around downtown.

Among the people with a reaction: Samson Contompasis, a mural artist and the organizer of the Living Walls mural project. He reached out to AOA with some strong objections -- both artistic and practical -- and we thought it'd be interesting to share them here. We also talked with the Downtown Albany BID to get its perspective.

First up: Samson...

(there's more)

New spirit for ghost signs

ghost sign state street albany by chuck millerHow about this: For this year's Sculpture in the Streets, the Downtown Albany BID has decided to restore ghost signs. From the info/application form (doc):

This year's exhibit titled: All Signs Point to Downtown will restore old retail signs, also referred to as ghost signs, on the sides of our historic buildings retelling the story of downtown Albany as the commercial hub for the Capital Region prior to the creation of suburban malls.
Now through April 12, 2013, the BID is accepting submissions from artists interested in participating. Painting will take place between mid-April to mid-June and an honorarium will be paid based on the size and complication of the retail sign.

We've converted the doc to a pdf for easy scanning -- it's post jump. It includes info on requirements, guidelines, and other details.

There are at least a handful of preservation efforts around the country aimed at keeping ghost signs from totally fading away -- especially out west, where the signs are apparently still numerous (see Butte, Montana and Fort Collins, Colorado). Interestingly, there are some people who think the signs should be allowed to fade out.

Be sure to check out Chuck's photoset of local ghost signs. He created a book from the set. (That's one of Chuck's photos on the right, from State Street.)

[via Biz Review and @AlbBizMikeD]

Earlier on AOA:
+ Last year's Sculpture in the Streets was the giant Dutch clogs
+ So, how do you create a giant clog sculpture?

photo: Chuck Miller

(there's more)

Currier and Ives exhibit at Albany Institute

Currier and Ives lexington

"Awful Conflagration of the Steam Boat Lexington," a lithograph printed by Nathaniel Currier. The Lexington was a luxury steam ship that caught fire and sunk in 1840.

Opening this Saturday (February 9) at the Albany Institute of History and Art: The Legacy of Currier & Ives, an exhibit that includes 64 prints from the famous 19th century printing and publishing firm. Blurbage:

The exhibition, organized around five themes of Identity, Progress, Home, Success, and Artist, introduces the visitor to the firm of Currier & Ives and illustrates, through interpretive and educational materials, how their imagery became ingrained in the national consciousness. During the seventy-two years that Currier & Ives operated (1834-1907) the firm produced more than 8,000 lithographs. Their colorful prints, which hung in homes and public buildings across America, gave testimony to the events and ideas that shaped national history, its progress, and art. Currier and Ives worked with several prominent artists like Eastman Johnson, Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait, and George Henry Durrie, whose designs are represented in the exhibition along with others.

The story behind the firm Currier and Ives is interesting -- it specialized in identifying images that would be popular and then producing them inexpensively. We bet Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives would have been all over the web if they were operating today (CurrierIvesFeed?).

The Albany Institute exhibit runs through June 15. It could make a pretty good double bill with the also-currently-open Making of the Hudson River School exhibit.

The Albany Institute advertises on AOA.

image: "Awful Conflagration of the Steam Boat Lexington," from the Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts

Uncle Sam, before the makeover

blank uncle sam statues Troy BID

"Sir, you're looking rather pale." "As are you. And you. And you..."

This caught our eye on Monday: the "blank" Uncle Sam statues that the Downtown Troy BID will be placing around the city in the spring. The BID's exec director Elizabeth Young tells us the the photo is from the factory in Maine where the statues are being made. (The company -- Fiberglass Farm -- touts itself as "Your #1 source for street art festival planning.")

Twenty-five artists have been selected to decorate the Sams, much like the horses around downtown Saratoga Springs. The downtown exhibit will officially open at the April Troy Night Out (April 26). It's sponsored by the Louis and Hortense Rubin Community Fellows Program.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Sculpture in the Streets 2012
+ So, how do you create a giant clog sculpture?
+ Horse vandals get treatment they deserve

photo courtesy of the Downtown Troy Business Improvement District

Gordon Parks photos at State Museum


"Street Scene: Two children walking, Harlem, NY, 1943" by Gordon Parks

Opening January 26 at the State Museum: Gordon Parks: 100 Moments, an exhibit of work by the renowned photographer and director. The collection includes one of Parks' most famous photos -- a take on Grant Wood's "American Gothic" (backstory) -- as well as images that weren't previously exhibited.

From a Parks bio at his foundation's website:

Born into poverty and segregation in Kansas in 1912, Parks was drawn to photography as a young man when he saw images of migrant workers published in a magazine. After buying a camera at a pawnshop, he taught himself how to use it and despite his lack of professional training, he found employment with the Farm Security Administration (F.S.A.), which was then chronicling the nation's social conditions. Parks quickly developed a style that would make him one of the most celebrated photographers of his age, allowing him to break the color line in professional photography while creating remarkably expressive images that consistently explored the social and economic impact of racism.

Parks would go on to become Life magazine's first African-American staff photographer, documenting many famous figures of the 20th century.

Also: he directed the movie Shaft.

The exhibit will be on display at the State Museum through May 19.

photo: Gordon Parks, "Street Scene: Two children walking, Harlem, NY, 1943" - Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress LC-USW3-023994-E

"Art or Evidence" at Mandeville Gallery

union college gilles peress

"First snow in Ardoyne, a Nationalist neighborhood, Belfast, Ireland, 1981" by Gilles Peress

Could be worth a look: the just-opened exhibit "Art or Evidence: The Power of Photojournalism" at the Mandeville Gallery at Union College. Blurbage (link added):

This exhibition features the portfolio, Flashpoints, by international photojournalist Gilles Peress, which includes work from the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Iran, Rwanda and Bosnia. Peress sees his work as "gathering evidence for history" rather than art, though the forensic aspect of his photography is a mere fraction of its meaing. Thirteen additional photojournalists are included, whose work ranges from the battlefield to the social sphere of everyday life.

The exhibit will be up through March 10. On February 10 there will be a talk from Alison Morley, chair of the photojournalism department at the International Center of Photography.

The Mandeville Gallery is open 10 am-6 pm Monday-Sunday. It's in the Nott Memorial (which itself is worth seeing). It's free and open to the public.

Jeremy Fish at Spring Street Gallery

jeremy fish spring street gallery show 2012A show from illustrator -- and Saratoga native -- Jeremy Fish opens this weekend at the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs. It's called "Prom King Class of 1992." As Fish explains on his blog:

as far as i know, i am the only person ever to graduate from my high school who won homecoming king, and prom king in the same year. that being said, its my only real claim to fame in my hometown, and therefore the obvious title for my upcoming art show. so, next saturday i will be showing some screen prints just blocks away from the house i grew up in, and the skatepark i worked at. if you are anywhere near upstate NY, and like funny drawings, please show up, enjoy art, and party like its 1992

After his electoral sweep of Saratoga Springs High School, Fish has gone on to show his artwork in galleries all around the world, and even on at least one magazine cover.

The show will be up through December 14th but there is an opening reception this Saturday from 6-9 pm, and Fish will be there (he lives in San Francisco now). Most of the prints go for about $100 or less, and part of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will go to support On Deck.

Comic book artist Alex Ross at the Norman Rockwell Museum

Alex Ross Justice League NRM

The Justice League as depicted by Alex Ross.

An exhibit of work by award-winning comic book artist Alex Ross opens this Saturday at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. And Ross will be at the museum that evening to talk and sign autographs.

From the blurbage for the exhibit, Heroes & Villains:

Heroes & Villains is the first museum exhibition celebrating the artwork of Alex Ross, today's foremost comic book artist. Ross, acclaimed for the photorealism of his work, is often referred to as "the Norman Rockwell of the comics world." Heroes & Villains features over 130 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures from Ross's personal collection. The pieces range from a crayon drawing of Spider-Man that he created at the age of four to paintings from his early career on projects like Marvels and Kingdom Come through to his more recent work on Flash Gordon and Green Hornet. This exhibition outlines Ross's career of redefining comic books and graphic novels for a new generation of followers of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and other classic comic book superheroes.

The reception is from 6:30-8:30 pm. It's $20 / $15 teens and students / children under 10 $10.

The Ross exhibit will be on display through February 24.

Albany Comic Con
Speaking of comics: The Albany Comic Con is this Sunday at the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road, from 10 am-4 pm -- admission is $5. Among the events part of the con: a silent auction of original comic book art to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

image: Alex Ross, "Justice Vol. 1" paperback cover, 2006, courtesy of the artist, ™ & © DC Comics. Used with permission.

American Impressionism at the Albany Institute

in vorhees garden by matilda browne

"In Voorhees’s Garden" by Matilda Browne.

A new exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art -- American Impressions: Paintings from the Florence Griswold Museum -- is now open, and there's a reception today (Thursday) from 5-8 pm. From the blurbage:

It is both history and art. The genre is from the turn of the century, complete with all the Yankee charm of New England. And the art is genuinely American, derived from the classic impressionists of Europe and enhanced with authentic Yankee heritage. You might notice the artists' deft use of shadows to accent shapes and dimension, or you might be in awe of the gifted brush techniques, or you might be amazed at the striking use of color -- but nobody has to know any of that to just plain love these beautiful stories told in images.

The exhibit includes 50 paintings from American Impressionists.

The works are on loan from the Florence Griswold Museum in Olde Lyme, Connecticut -- the town was the site of one of art colonies in which American Impressionism simmered around the turn of the 20th century. The Albany Institute and the Griswold Museum have worked out a trade of sorts -- the institute sent the Griswold an exhibit of Hudson Valley art earlier this year, and the Impressionists exhibit is the Grisdwold's side of the trade. It will be on display until January 6.

William Kennedy: The author will be at the Albany Institute Sunday talking about how "how Albany has changed during his lifetime, including downtown, Capitol Hill, Center Square, the advent of the South Mall, the eradication of the Gut, the changes wrought after the decline of the Dan O'Connell / Erastus Corning machine, the leadership of Mayors Tom Whelan and Jerry Jennings, and the role of Nelson Rockefeller in these changes." The talk is at 2 pm. It's $10 / $8 students.

The Longshoreman and the Snake

A little something to watch this evening*: "The Longshoreman and the Snake," a short animated story by Troy illustrator Ira Marcks. The story is narrated another Troy artist, Jess Fink.

The story is one of Marcks' "Tales from St. Forget," the town in his graphic novel Witch Knots. He funded the project on Kickstarter and published the book this past summer.

*Or morning. Or afternoon. Or whenever you're seeing this.

Iron Pour at Salem Art Works

salem art works iron pour


We when saw the email about this event -- the "Annual Intercollegiate Iron Pour" at Salem Art Works -- we figured it was referring to something metaphorical/philosophical/post-modern. But, no, it's really about pouring molten metal.

From the blurbage:

This annual event provides a platform for college students across the Northeast and Midwest to come together and cast iron in the context of an intensely focused weekend. Spectators may observe thousands of pounds of molten iron poured into artists' prepared molds. Visitors can even choose to participate in the iron pour by creating a scratch block: your very own piece of artwork in iron!

The event is September 22. It includes a keynote by cast iron artist Matt Wicker on "current trends in cast iron and his thoughts on the future of the medium." SAW's other workshops will also be in action, so you can get an idea of what they have going on there.

Salem Art Works is in Washington County (Salem, specifically -- you probably figured that out).

photo courtesy of Salem Art Works

Grants of as much as $5k from the Arts Center

arts center of the capital region logoHeads up: the Arts Center of the Capital Region has started the process for its next round of community arts grants -- individual grants can include as much as $5,000 in funding. During the last round the Arts Center distributed a total of almost $90k.

There are three types of grants. From the blurbage:

Community Arts Grants fund nonprofit organizations that produce high-quality arts and culture programming in the community.
Arts Education Grants fund cultural organizations or teaching artists to support programs that integrate the arts into non-arts curriculum in K-12 public school classrooms.
Individual Artist Commissions provide funds to individual artists to create new works that engage their local community.

Applicants must show up at an information seminar -- there are a bunch of them over the next month-and-a-half. Check the schedule at the link above.

Five grand can go a long way in the right (creative) hands. Maybe those hands are yours.

The deadline for applying is October 5.

Yep, the Arts Center does advertise on AOA.

Han Solo, frozen in LEGO

carbonite han solo lego mass moca

"You're made of LEGO." / "I know."

This made us laugh: it's a (more-or-less) full-size replica of Han Solo frozen in carbonite -- made of LEGO.

We wandered into the Kidspace section of MASS MoCA this weekend, and after gawking at the mammoth skeleton, our eye immediately was drawn to LEGO Han. Both pieces are part of the new "Curiosity" exhibit there.

LEGO Carbonite Han is the creation of Nathan Sawaya -- he's a professional LEGO artist whose work has been exhibited all over the country. His pieces range from re-creations -- like Han -- to works that are more philosophical (a man ripping open his own chest, LEGO bricks spilling out). As Sawaya told Stephen Colbert a few years back, he was working as a lawyer before becoming a full-time LEGO artist.

The Han piece is made of about 10,000 bricks. Larger photos are post jump.

Earlier on AOA:
+ LEGOmania at the Albany Institute
+ Trinity Church, reconstructed

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Restored at Madison and Main

madison and main mural albany

It wouldn't be that neighborhood without it.

We stopped by this week to check out the restored mural on the side of the building at Madison Ave and Main Ave in Albany. The 35-year-old mural is a bit of landmark in the Pine Hills neighborhood -- but it had been looking a little worse for wear (Akum has the backstory). It was restored a few weeks back by a group that included Constance Dwyer Heiden, the original artist, and was coordinated by the Beautify Upper Madison Project.

A stitched-together (crude, distorted) panorama of the mural is after the jump.

By the way: The Beautify Upper Madison Project is having a fundraiser at the Madison Theater August 3 -- a midnight screening of Spaceballs. Tickets are $10.

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Witch Knots

witch knots book ira marcks

Check it out: Troy-based illustrator Ira Marcks recently released a graphic novel called Witch Knots:

Witch Knots chronicles the hardships faced by the residents of St. Forget, a destitute town with a mystical and long-forgotten history. The town itself is in danger of being overrun by a supernatural force embedded in its inhabitant's collective DNA. All of the residents of St. Forget are called upon to play a role in the salvation of their town. As events unfold, questions of what it takes to be a hero are explored, as is the question of why some are drawn to a be antagonists.

witch knots excerpt illustration ira marcksIra funded the project on Kickstarter earlier this year. He explained some of his inspiration for the project then:

WITCH KNOTS is a loving tribute to classic sci-fi, fantasy clichés and the great young adult fiction of the 60s & 70s... All the magical books from my childhood. THINK: an S.E. Hinton coming of age tale, stuck inside a dystopian world of Ray Bradbury's, with a dash of H.P. Lovecraft mythos.

The 170-page, hardcover book is $20 (you can order at the website -- also for sale at Market Block Books in Troy). Ira's been posting the story bit by bit online, where you can get a sense of the book.

Ira will be at the Arts Center of the Capital Region this Friday (it's Troy Night Out) with a live storytelling performance in the center's black box theater that will include live music and projected illustrations. It starts at 6 pm (it's free). And he tells us it's a kid-friendly event.

Fence Select: While you're at the Arts Center, be sure to check out this year's Fence Select exhibition, the opening reception for which is Friday night.

photo and illustration: Ira Marcks

So, how do you create a giant clog sculpture?

giant clog by liz zunon

The clog by Elizabeth Zunon.

It's hard to miss the giant Dutch clogs that now populate downtown Albany as part of this year's Sculpture in the Streets installation. They're fun and kind of whimsical. (We've seen people attempting to "try on" the shoes, which has been funny.)

Curious about how one goes about decorating an enormous replica of a Dutch wooden shoe, we asked talented local illustrator Elizabeth Zunon to share how she created her clog, which sits outside the Olde English on Broadway.

It's interesting to hear about her inspiration for the piece, and some of the other projects she's working on...

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The Billboard Art Project

billboard art project site Fuller Road

The site on Fuller Road.

Interesting: an org called The Billboard Art Project has rented a local electronic billboard so it can use it to display art during July. The billboard is located on Fuller Road between Central Ave and Railroad Ave.

From the blurbage for the project:

The Billboard Art Project is a nonprofit organization that acquires digital billboards normally used for advertising and repurposes them as roadside galleries. Projects are held in cities all over the country and are open to all individuals and groups who are interested in participating.

There's a Flickr stream of previous billboard collections in other cities.

The project's director, David Morrison, tells us in an email that they picked Albany in part because of an invitation from local artist/curator Jennifer Hunold. And about how they picked the spot on Fuller:

The exact location of the billboard was determined by a combination of things. First, we look for a billboard that has the availability so we can book it. The next thing we look for is a place where people can pull over an watch the show. The third thing is it is always great if traffic stops around the billboard for a stop sign, traffic light, whatever. In this case, people stop on Cherry and Dorlyn as they wait to turn onto Fuller. If they are looking both ways as all good drivers should, they might catch a glimpse of some artwork! 18,000 to 20,000 cars pass by each day.

Hunold -- who you might remember from the Be Nice project -- is also a curator at the Collar Works Gallery in Troy. She's collaborated with the Billboard Art Project on a gallery show there of previous billboard art.

The opening for the gallery show is June 29 at Collar Works in Troy (444 River Street) -- Morrison will be there for a short talk and Q&A.

Three of the pieces that will be part of the billboard exhibit are after the jump, along with a press release with more info.

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Sculpture in the Streets 2012

oversized clog near Hudson River Walkway

On Broadway, near the Hudson River Walkway.

The new series of Sculpture in the Streets pieces have been popping up in downtown Albany this week. This year's theme: "Stand in the Sole of Albany." The pieces are all giant Dutch clogs. You know, wooden shoes.

Thirteen artists have decorated the oversized clogs -- some big, some really big -- for this year's series. Photos of a handful of them are after the jump, as is a list of this year's artists.

The clogs are fun. And this afternoon they definitely had people stopping to take a look. A brief "What the heck..." moment was usually followed by a smile. Some people even tried them on (so to speak).

This year's Sculpture in the Streets series will be officially unveiled at a garden party hosted by the Albany Downtown BID Friday evening. Tickets are $50.

Maps of all the sculptures will be available from the BID and downtown merchants starting Monday (June 18). The clogs will be on display until May 2013.

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Food Cycle

Currently up for funding on Kickstarter: Food Cycle, a project aimed at producing and delivery compost around Troy. On bikes. From the blurbage:

Food Cycle, a project of Troy Bike Rescue and Collard City Growers, is a bicycle compost delivery project employing neighborhood youth, while diverting household and restaurant food and yard waste back into the ground on our urban farm all by way of the transportation of the future: The bicycle!
Food Cycle will create a hyper-local compost network that lays the groundwork for a self-sustaining, scalable enterprise. We need the help of financial backers (you!) for initial investment.

Abby Lublin, from Collard City Growers (you might also know her from the Front Parlor story telling series), emails us (link added):

We're really making moves in N. Troy. These pedal-powered haulers will be used for many purposes, in fact, we're doing bike valet, tune-ups, bicycle blending (pedal-powered blender), and possibly delivery at the Farmers Market starting in June (through Tight Knit).

As of this morning, Food Cycle still needed about $7,500 and had 22 days to go.

Other local Kickstarter projects

There are at least nine other local Kickstarter projects looking for funding, ranging from fiber arts to beer to zombies...

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Applications open for street painting competition in Troy, and this year's Fence Show

river street festival 2011 casey aoa entry

Casey's AOA-sponsored entry in last year's competition.

The Troy River Street Festival -- one of our favorite local summer festivals -- is coming up June 16. And that means applications are now open for the annual street painting contest at the festival.

The competition includes space for 75 artists, a range of age-specific categories, to chalk designs on a panel of sidewalk along River Street. And there's $1,000 in prizes.

The entry fee is $15. And the competition does fill up -- so the earlier you apply, the better.

Speaking of arts and downtown Troy... the call for entries is now out for the annual Fence Show at the Arts Center of the Capital Region. The Fence Salon will open June 16. This year's juror, Jim Richard Wilson from the Opalka Gallery at the Sage Colleges, will select works from the salon for inclusion in the Fence Select show that opens July 27.

Yep, the Arts Center advertises on AOA.

More about that Marina Abramović/Rem Koolhaas project in Hudson

Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art in Hudson rendering OMA

The Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art.

OMA, the architecture firm that includes superstar architect Rem Koolhaas, has posted renderings of the project it's designing in Hudson for performance artist Marina Abramović. From OMA's site, about the Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI):

The mission of the MAI is to cultivate new kinds of performance while functioning as a living archive, preserving and hosting performances of historic pieces. Abramovic plans to use the space as a laboratory for exploring time-based and immaterial art - including performance, dance, theater, film, video, opera, and music - through collaboration with practitioners in the realms of science, technology, and education. Working with the local Hudson community as well as schools and institutions from around the world, the MAI will host workshops, public lectures and festivals. As well as training artists, Abramovic also wants to train audiences in the mental and physical disciplines of creating and experiencing long-durational work. ...
The institute will be housed in a former theatre, which later became an indoor tennis court, then an antiques warehouse and market before falling into disrepair. Abramovic bought the theatre in 2007. OMA's design will enhance the existing structure to accommodate both the research and production of performance art. As a venue specifically created for long duration performances, OMA will also develop new types of furniture, lighting and other elements to facilitate the viewing of such works.

There are more renderings and designs on OMA's site (linked above)

The design project is being led by Koolhaas and Shohei Shigematsu, another partner in OMA. Here's a bit more about what Abramović has planned. [Art Info]

The project is expected to cost $15 million and could be open by 2014, though Abramović still has to raise the money. [AP/Washington Post] [WGXC] [NYT]

Earlier on AOA: Rem Koolhaas to design building in Hudson

image: OMA

Brian Dewan: Filmstrips at UAlbany (beep)

Could be both fun and weird, in the good way: Multimedia artist Brian Dewan will be showing a group of his "I-Can-See" filmstrips at UAlbany Friday. Where? In a classroom, of course. (beep)

From Jed Davis, who's helped organized the performance with WCDB and Eschatone Records:

Brian's "I-Can-See" filmstrips are hand-drawn and soundtracked to resemble 20th Century educational filmstrips, complete with "beeps" to indicate a frame advance. Subject matter ranges from over-the-top retellings of Aesop's fables to wry commentary on modern culture. ...
Brian, who lives in Catskill, has presented these filmstrips in New York City at the Whitney Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Galapagos and Pierogi Gallery (which was decorated to resemble a mid-20th-Century classroom for the occasion), in the UK at Modern Art Oxford and the Royal College of Art, in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts, and in Los Angeles at Post Gallery. As far as New York state is concerned, this will be the first time they've been shown north of NYC. (beep)

One of Dewan's hand-drawn film strips is embedded above. It's called "The King of Instruments" -- it's about the organ menace that threatens us all. It's funny. (beep)

Dewan is an artist/musician who's performed, collaborated, or create art for groups ranging from They Might Be Giants to the Blue Man Group to Neutral Milk Hotel. And he and his brother Leon have built a series of electrical musical instruments called, appropriately, Dewanatrons. (beep)

The show starts at 7 pm in Lecture Center 6 on the uptown UAlbany campus. It's free and open to the public.


On Deck Saratoga

saratoga skatepark tshirt jeremy fishThis could be fun: the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga has a show lined up called "On Deck" -- it's a benefit for the Saratoga skate park. It opens this Saturday. From the blurbage:

... over 50 stupendous skateboard decks by 50 amazing artists who have donated their work for silent auction to benefit the newly-reopened Saratoga Skate Park. Works by Jeremy Fish, Daesha Devon Harris, Radical! and more, food and festivities galore! This is an ALL AGES event, auction prices start at just $25.

The opening reception is Saturday from 5-8 pm. The show will be up at the gallery through March 23

That design on the right a t-shirt design by Jeremy Fish -- the shirts will be on sale at the opening.

Earlier on AOA: A concrete vision of skateparks in the Capital Region?

S[around]OUND at The Troy Gasholder Building


Art + architecture+ music+ inflatables + projection = S[around]OUND

This sounds pretty cool. Art and architecture students from RPI's PIP(Production,Installation,Performance) class have collaborated on a performance art project that will be unveiled next month inside the Troy Gasholder building. S[around]OUND (Surround Sound) will combine art, architecture, animation, hybrid violin, computers and lifts to move the audience around inside the space.

We said it sounded cool.

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Conversations with photographers

black birds gray sky justin higginsThis is good: Sebastien has started a series of conversations with local photographers.

The first person up is Justin Higgins, who lives in Schenectady. We don't think we've encountered his work before, but we're glad to know it now. And we enjoyed Sebastien's conversation with Justin about art, technique, and having a personal style.

We're looking forward to reading more.

photo: Justin Higgins

Interesting in 2011: Laura Glazer

Laura Glazer - Interesting 2011.jpg

"I can only really be myself..."

All this week we're highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

Laura Glazer's voice has a breathy, tiny, childlike sweetness about it, but it's not the kind of voice you're used to hearing on the radio. Still, since 2003, she's been introducing the Capital Region to all kinds of fun and interesting music on her radio program Hello Pretty City.

A little over a year ago HPC moved from its morning slot on WRPI to Sunday nights at 8 on WEXT. With that move, Glazer pretty much doubled her audience, and in the last year we've noticed her hosting live shows, appearing with WEXT at shows like Larkfest and curating the music line-up for events like the Local Harvest Festival.

But we were first introduced to Laura through her wonderful photography. For the last few years she's been photographing Phillip Patterson's efforts to transcribe the entire King James Bible by hand -- a project that was featured in the The Wall Street Journal earlier this week.

In addition her fun pins and drawings, Albany wallpaper and other art projects help make the Capital Region a more fun place to live.

Laura came to the Capital Region about ten years ago after having lived in Virginia, New York City, Minneapolis, Texas and a number of other places, but she's made a home in Albany. As she preps for the first Hello Pretty City of 2012, we talked with her about music, art, Albany, pinball and the party at Sponge Bob's house.

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Interesting in 2011: Samson Contompasis

Thumbnail image for samson 2.JPG

Living Walls Albany creator Samson Contompasis

All this week we'll be highlighting some of the interesting people we've gotten to know over the past year.

Drive around the city of Albany these days and you're likely to feel the influence of Samson Contompasis. He's the guy responsible for most of the large scale mural art that's been popping up on walls all over the city. He didn't paint it, but he made it happen.

It's likely you've heard of Samson before -- The Marketplace Gallery founder and operator is pretty well known on the Capital Region arts scene. But this past fall he brought the first Living Walls Conference to Albany. The event attracted internationally-renowned mural artists to Albany, and before they left, they transformed walls all over the city into public art. Some people like the work, others... not so much, but either way, it definitely got people talking. The conference also had workshops on sustainability and lectures, all of which Samson says were meant to create "an open dialogue between the people and city."

We caught up with Samson a few weeks ago while he was curating the mural art at Art Basel, an international art show in Miami.

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LOL art exhibit at ALB composite

Perhaps not ROFLMAO, but definitely smile inducing.

No, the Joe Bruno bust isn't at Albany International right now. But there's other stuff to see -- and funnier.

If you're heading out of town, or delivering/picking someone up to/from ALB over the holidays, take a few minutes to stop up at the 3rd floor gallery to check out the LOL exhibit.

You might even want to just take a trip out to see it -- even if you're not going anywhere -- just for giggles.

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Dark Sky app funded, and other local Kickstarter projects

Dark Sky, the weather-just-ahead app from Troy-based web developers Jackadam (Jack Turner and Adam Grossman), reached its $35,000 goal on Kickstarter over the weekend. Its deadline was the end of this month -- and the project is still accepting funding through then.

Here are a few other local Kickstarter projects that caught our eye that are looking for funding -- or recently met their goal...

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LEGOmania at the Albany Institute

albany institute lego challenge composite 2011

Legos + creativity at the Albany Institute

This weekend, fortified by turkey and stuffing, teams from all over the Capital Region competed in the Albany Institute of History and Art's first LEGO Building Challenge. Teams of LEGO-maniacs faced off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Their mission: create Albany architecture from either the past, present or future.

We got to judge the contest on Sunday afternoon along with David Brickman, Jim Kambrich and Rebecca Angel Maxwell. We saw everything from an awesome model of the 1864 Saratoga Race Course, to a Village People concert at The Egg, to a futuristic hydroelectric power plant...

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John Crispin's Willard suitcase project

This is remarkable: photographer John Crispin is documenting suitcases -- and their contents -- from a long-closed state mental facility that have been preserved at the State Museum. He explains on his Kickstarter page:

In 1995, the New York State Museum was moving items out of the Willard Psychiatric Center in Willard, NY which was being closed by the State Office of Mental Health. It would eventually become a state-run drug rehabilitation center. Craig Williams and his staff became aware of an attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building. The cases were put into storage when their owners were admitted to Willard sometime between 1910 and the 1960s. And since the facility was set up to help people with chronic mental illness, these folks never left. An exhibit of a small selection of the cases was produced by the Museum and was on display in Albany in 2003. It was very moving to read the stories of these people, and to see objects from their lives before they became residents of Willard.
I have been given the incredible opportunity to photograph these cases and their contents. To me, they open a small window into the lives of some of the people who lived at the facility.

He explains more in the video embedded above. His Kickstarter project has already reached its funding goal -- and then some.

Crispin has been posting some of the images from this project on a blog. The collections of items are beautiful in a way.

Crispin says on Kickstarter the State Museum has more than 400 suitcases in its collection. A handful of them were on display at the museum in 2004, and later became a traveling exhibit (exhibit website). There was also a book that came out of the exhibit, The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic . [Village Voice] [USA Today]

(Thanks, Jess!)

Capital Comics Collective

capital comics collective composite

By Emily Rippe

After several attempts at networking with local artists, mostly of the painter and photographer varieties, cartoonist T.J. Kirsch still felt out of the place. The scenes just didn't feel right to him.

So he formed his own.

Fast forward four months and the Capital Comics Collective has not only become a place for local comic artists to meet like minded folks and develop ideas -- they've already managed to publish their first min-comics anthology.

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Small Batch Editions

grossingers indoor pool sebastien barre

"Poolside" by Sebastien Barre, one of the first prints available through Small Batch Editions.

Worth a look: Small Batch Editions, a startup business from local curator Melissa Stafford, which is aiming to put together new art buyers with up-and-coming photographers. As Melissa explained in an email:

The idea is something that has been building in my mind for at least 3 years now. In the course of working at the gallery in Hudson I often met a lot of people who fell in love with a photograph or painting, but were unable to afford it. I also met a lot of artists struggling to sell their work. Considering the economy these days and how limited most budgets are, I wanted to create an opportunity for both artists and buyers to have a meaningful exchange; by publishing special limited edition prints at more affordable prices I hope to grow the market for unrepresented photographers, increasing their visibility. At the same time, we as collectors get to discover new and exciting work and support the artists we love.

The initial lineup of photographers includes some local names you might recognize: Joe Putrock, Sebastien Barre, Holly Northrop.

Small Batch Editions hasn't officially launched yet. Melissa is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cover some of the initial costs. Contributors will be able to pre-order prints and be eligible for other rewards. (And, as with all Kickstarter campaigns, the money is refunded if the goal isn't met.)

You might recognize Melissa's name from Carrie Haddad Photographs in Hudson, where she was the gallery's first director. Here's a little bit more about what prompted her to start Small Batch Editions...

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Wandering through Yaddo

Yaddo exterior.jpg

On Sunday, for only the 5th time in its 111 year history, the mansion and private grounds at Yaddo were open to the public. About 1,400 people wandered the rooms where people such as Langston Hughes, Leonard Bernstein, Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, John Cheever and thousands of other artists gathered, ate, slept, held court and of course, created.

The house is gorgeous and filled with impressive antiques, but what we loved was being able to wander through a place where so many amazing and creative people have lived and worked. If there was ever a place we wished that walls could talk, this was it. We walked through the rooms imagining moments of inspiration, unguarded conversations and wondering what kinds of things might have happened in rooms full of so many creative people.

If you weren't one of the 1,400 who took the tour, here's the quick version...

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Living Walls in action

Spring Street Elk 3.jpg

The Elk is still unnamed, but we're playing with Elke. Too on the nose?

Update: Check out Sebastien's account of getting his wall included. He also has photos from a bunch of other murals.

Last night we got to watch a little of the Living Walls project in action. And it was cool.

We caught muralists Broken Crow in the midst of putting up this giant Elk on the wall of a house on Spring Street in Albany.

The finished product, and some thoughts from Broken Crow, after the jump

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The Living Walls project

living walls livingston

The first completed Living Walls mural was done by Gaia and Nanook. It's on Livingston Avenue between Broadway and North Pearl

By Danielle Furfaro

Cities are living, breathing creatures. Like other living things, they thrive on positive reinforcement, growth and creativity. And sometimes they exhale the slow reek of decay. Samson Contompasis, owner and curator of the Marketplace Gallery, looks around Albany and sees beauty and possibilities everywhere. He wants to take decaying or barren vistas and make new life out of them, turning them into awe-inspiring pieces of art. So he's launched Living Walls, a public art project aimed at making Albany a bit more alive with art.

He's brought together a slew of mural artists, some local and some nationally regarded, to help create works of art around the city. The public art project will be accompanied by a lecture and workshop series that will run September 16 and 17.

You may have already seen the first completed wall, which is at 74 Livingston Avenue between Broadway and North Pearl Street. That one was done by the artistic team of Gaia and Nanook, who came up with the concept for the piece after touring Albany.

Samson loves to talk about the power of art, legal or illegal, massive or fleeting...

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Raising the Albany Barn

St Josephs Academy

The former St. Joseph's Academy, future home of the Albany Barn.

Six years ago Capital Region residents Jeff Mirel and George Kansas decided to help raise money for victims of the tsunami in South Asia. A few weeks later they'd packed 2,000 people into the Palace Theater to see dozens of local artists and musicians, raising nearly $30,000.

Fast forward five years.

That successful Rock2Rebuild concert has spawned another effort: the Albany Barn. Organizers hope the project will be a creativity incubator that helps provide resources for artists, offer arts programming for the region, create educational opportunities for inner city kids, and acts as a catalyst to revitalize neighborhoods.

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"Then & Now" at Albany Center Gallery

thom o'connor printOpening today at Albany Center Gallery: "Then & Now (Small Prints)" by Thom O'Connor.

The artist, a former UAlbany professor, is a photographer and accomplished print maker. From the blurbage (link added):

Thom O'Connor's work has been consistently praised and highly valued for its construction and thoughtfulness throughout his career. O'Connor is recognized internationally as a master of printmaking, and for his innovation and skill with new techniques. In an Albany Times Union article, author William Jaeger explains, "O'Connor's prints survive because they have unusual visual sensitivity, [and] show extraordinary craft. There is an undercurrent of drama that suggests, without delineation, a very human dimension to the works."

The show opens today and runs through September 10. There's a reception on August 12 at 5 pm.

Look for this Friday: "Forgive Our Trespasses," an exhibit opening this Friday at the Albany Barn, of urban exploration photos by Sebastien Barre, Paul Gallo and Darren Ketchum. There's a reception with the artists starting at 5 pm.

image: Thom O'Connor

Marks of Identity

tattoo portrait photo DeMichelleSomething to look for at Troy Night Out: "Marks of Identity" by William DeMichele at the Photo Center Gallery. From the blurbage:

For over 30 years, William DeMichele has been a Capital District professional photographer, and for the last 2 decades he has traveled 5 continents to document the colorful world of tattooing. his approach to photographing tattooed men and women is to use a formal studio setting and to concentrate on the person in front of the lens. "these are portraits of people with tattoos, not tattoos on people", DeMichele proclaims. the result in and intimate look at those who have made a commitment to literally wear their hearts on their sleeve.

The opening reception for is tonight. The exhibit runs through August 21.

photo: Bill DeMichele

"Pulp Fiction Paintings" at the Mandeville Gallery

pulp fiction paintings madeville

Action! Sex! Intrigue!

Now open at the Mandeville Gallery at Union College: "Pulp Fiction Paintings
Selections from the Robert Lesser Collection."
From the blurbage:

This exhibition contains 37 paintings from the Robert Lesser Collection of Pulp Fiction Art and is on loan from the New Britain Museum of American Art. ... The paintings, roughly 30" x 40", were done as covers to the "pulp fiction" genre of the 1930's and 1940's. The subject matter includes adventure, mystery, science fiction, war, and westerns. Tarzan and the Shadow are two protagonists that are well known today. ...
The influence of pulp fiction is vast, seen in the development of later forms of detective and science fiction literature, super heroes, and film noir. The hyper-American imagery was later taken up by the Pop Artists of the Sixties.
After buying his first painting of the Shadow Lesser says, "I began to realize, my God, for these little ten-cent pulps, they had magnificent oil paintings for the cover art. I was amazed how great some of it was, how well trained these artists were."

Here are a few images from the exhibit. Comments from the curator. And a recent review of works from the collection.

"Pulp Fiction Paintings" is on display until September 25. There are a few events associated with the exhibit, including movie marathons and a talk, "Pulp Fiction and the Modern Reader," by Skidmore's Janet Casey (September 15).

The Mandeville Gallery is in the Nott Memorial at Union.

images from the Robert Lesser Collection, via the Mandeville Gallery

Mitch Messmore: from Schenectady to Beirut and, eventually, back

By Danielle Furfaro

mitch messmore with paintingMitch Messmore takes the Capital Region art scene very seriously. The Schenectady native has spent the past several years championing local art and attempting to bolster the arts community through his work with various organizations. In 2007, back when cities started getting the art walk bug, he founded Art Night Schenectady. This was just after he became the chairman of the board of the Capital Region Initiative Supporting the Arts and just before he was named the executive director of the Upper Union Street BID. He's also been involved with Upstate Artists Guild, Existing Artists and the Schenectady Photographic Society, just to name a few.

In November of last year, Messmore moved temporarily to Beirut to be with his wife while she is there working on a SUNY research project. You might think that while he is living in the Middle East, Messmore's penchant for local art would have at least been put on the back burner, but the multi-media artist has remained as active and committed as ever, continuing to run Art Night Schenectady via Skype, email and phone with the help of a posse of volunteers.

Now, Messmore has launched Art Night Beirut as a sister organization to the one in his hometown. His exhibiting his abstract paintings at a Beirut gallery. And he's thinking about how to turn the Capital Region into the cultural hub of the Northeast...

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All Utopias Fell

mass moca all utopias fell oatman

Worth the bout of acrophobia.

We were out at MASS MoCA recently and finally had a chance to check out All Utopias Fell, Michael Oatman's outdoor installation there. We're glad we did. It's fun.

The installation is a collection of three elements. From the MASS MoCA blurbage:

The Shining is a 1970s-era 'satellite' that has crash-landed at MASS MoCA. This beautifully reflective, repurposed Airstream trailer - with large parachutes and active solar panels - is inspired by an earlier era of pulp aeronauts like Buck Rogers, Tom Swift and Tom Corbett: Space Cadet, as well as the works of Giotto, Jules Verne, NASA, and Chris Marker's 1962 film La Jetée. Visitors will be allowed to climb a staircase and enter into the craft where they will encounter The Library of the Sun. Hybridizing a domestic space, a laboratory and a library, it has the feel of a hermitage, where the occupant will 'be right back', only it is 30 years later. ... Once inside the craft, visitors will also be able to view Codex Solis, a massive field of photovoltaic (PVs) or solar panels. At 50kw, the field will generate 7% of the power consumed by MASS MoCA. In addition to this 230-foot long grid, mirrors are interspersed in the middle of the field, and suggest an absent text. The arrangement of mirrors and solar panels is based on a specific quote by an unnamed author, and will not be revealed by the artist; instead the public will be encouraged to spend time with the piece, watch the reflected sky, and solve the riddle as birds and planes, inverted, fly by.

The trailer is great. It's like something from an alternate reality, in which you could have gone camping in space during the 1960s -- and the owner of this particular trailer was a bit on the obsessive side. The inside is a meticulously constructed world, down to the jars of tomatoes.

All Utopias Fell is a seasonal exhibit. It's perched at the top of a few flights of metal stairs outside the old power plant for the factory that preceded the museum at the site. The exhibit is open through October.

After the jump: an interior pic, plus a few bonus pics.

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Canned Art on Delaware Avenue


They're almost too nice to throw trash in -- but you should throw your trash in them.

These new trash cans, which will soon be out in front of businesses on Delaware Ave in Albany, are part of a new collaboration between the Delaware Avenue Merchants Association and the Upstate Artists Guild.

Local artists painted all the cans, and each can has a theme based on the business in front of which it sits. Keith Picard, a Spectrum co-owner and a member of the DAMA, says it's just another way the merchants association is working to bring art to the street.

You can get a closer look at some of the cans after the jump.

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Sculpture in the Streets 2011 is kinetic

sculpture in the streets 2011 composite

Looking for the George Rickey sculptures on the streets of Albany is a little like playing a giant game of Where's Waldo, or trying to find the toaster in the tree. Once you see them, you don't understand how you could have missed them, but at first they're oddly hard to spot.

The five moving metal sculptures are this year's edition of Albany's Sculpture in the Streets project. If something about them seems familiar, think about the Empire State Plaza -- there's been a Rickey sculpture on the ESP for years. There's also one on the RPI campus (where Rickey spent three years teaching in the architecture program), at the Albany Institute of History and Art and on the second floor at Albany International Airport.

Maybe it's the size or steel gray color that makes them blend into the background a bit -- another large metal object in the middle of a city. They kind of disappear into the landscape. But then the wind catches one and you find yourself standing in the street trying to figure out how it does that.

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River Street Festival photos 2011


Thanks, Casey!

That's Casey above -- she created AOA's sponsored entry in the Troy River Street Festival's street painting contest this past weekend. It's a bird sitting on the Egg. Heh.

Thanks to Sebastien for the photo -- here's a set with more of his photos from the festival. And Bennett's posted a lot of good photos of the street painting artists creating their panels.

There are a bunch of other photos from the street painting contest after the jump. There were a lot of good entries this year.

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Jess Fink has created the best book about Victorian robot sex that we've ever read

jess fink chester panels

Admittedly, it's also the first book about Victorian robot sex that we've ever read.

Troy artist Jess Fink is a successful illustrator and t-shirt designer. If imitation is flattery, she's gotten a lot of compliments for her work.

Jess also creates comics. One of those comics -- Chester 5000 XYV -- was recently published in graphic novel form. And it's gotten praise in a bunch of places, among them: Paste, The AV Club, and io9.

So, what's Chester 5000 XYV about? Oh, it's just another Victorian-era tale of a man who creates a sex robot for his wife -- in all its graphic detail.

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A mesmerizing video from where Troy's old city hall will soon no longer be

Rob sent along this clip -- it's a video for a J. Tillman song (he's also part of Fleet Foxes). The video was shot in Troy. You'll recognize the spot when the former city hall arrives in the frame.

The video was shot by Matt Blodgett. It's dreamy and mesmerizing.

About the old city hall: It's on its way out. Demolition started back up again today.

Art on Lark 2011

art on lark 2011In case it has somehow escaped your attention: Art on Lark is this Saturday in Albany. Lined up this year:

+ The Living Walls project will have a group of artists creating a mural on Hudson between Willet and Lark.

+ There will be a pop-up gallery organized by Albany Underground Artists in the former Planned Parenthood building, along with food from the Chefs Consortium (food is $10).

+ The Grand Street Arts' Youth FX program will be screening six short films. (Liz talked with some of the filmmakers in the program earlier this year.)

+ And an outdoor gallery organized by Albany Center Gallery.

Also: a bunch of good local music organized by WEXT. The schedule for that is after the jump.

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Chalk it up, Casey

casey wilkinson chickadee

Hey there, chickadee.

We're happy to announce that we've picked Casey to create the panel for AOA's sponsored entry into the Troy River Street Festival street painting competition.

We really liked Casey's work -- that's one of her prints above (a few more after the jump). And we thought her style would translate well to the sidewalk. Check out her Etsy shop, Lady Sparrowhawk.

Thanks to Pearl, Richard, and Elisa for also sharing your work. We bet you all would have done a good job.

The River Street Festival is June 18 in downtown Troy.

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AOA wants you to draw on the sidewalk

sidewalk art your work here

Chalk it up!

One of our favorite parts of the annual Troy River Street Festival is the street painting competition. So we're sponsoring an entry this year.

One problem: we don't have an artist.

So, we're looking for an artist to participate in this year's competition. We'll cover the entry fee -- you cover the sidewalk.

Sound like fun? Post a comment to this entry with a link to some of your work by noon this Friday -- we'll pick one winner. (If you don't have work online, please email us with an image.)

The street painting competition is organized by the Arts Center of the Capital Region. It's open to everyone, but space is limited. The entry fee is $15.

The River Street Festival is June 18.

Earlier on AOA:
+ River Street Festival sidewalk chalk 2010
+ Sidewalk chalk winners 2009
+ Sidewalk chalk 2008

Photo Regional at Albany Center Gallery

ACG photo regional 2011 posterThe 33rd annual Photo Regional exhibit opens this Friday at the Albany Center Gallery in downtown Albany. There's a reception from 5-9 pm as part of First Friday. From the blurbage:

From nearly 500 submissions―a near record―35 images created by 30 artists comprise the exhibit. Artists selected include Jeffrey Altman, Steven Rolf Kroeger, Mark McCarthy, Jenny McShan, Linda Morrell, Anthony Salamone and Dave Waite.
It was curated by Ian Berry, of the Tang Teaching Museum and Melissa Stafford from Carrie Haddad Photographs Gallery in Hudson. Tim Kane, independent arts journalist, was associate curator.
The Photo Regional remains a mainstay of the local photography scene as a source highlighting the region's diversity in the medium. Started in response to the lack of venues staging exhibitions with photography as fine art, the rotating and yearly survey provides a snapshot on recent activity in the field within a 100-mile radius of Albany.

The exhibit runs through July 16 at ACG. There's also an awards ceremony June 11.

Through a glass, brightly

hinchen joan of arc st peters
Here's something delightful: David Hinchen's photos of stained glass windows from churches in the Capital Region.

The Albany artist's Etsy shop includes a bunch of photos from local churches such as St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Troy, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Albany, and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. The window in the photo to the right, depicting Joan of Arc, is from St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Albany.

Hinchen has captured beautiful illumination of the windows. And it's interesting to be able to look so closely at the details in the scenes.

In addition to photography, Hinchen also does illustrations of buildings and architectural landscapes. Here's a portrait of the Miss Albany Diner that's available through his Etsy shop. A here's a portrait of The Palace. Some of his cityscapes are currently on display at The Stockade Inn in Schenectady (until June 30).

Earlier on AOA:
+ A short tour of Albany's historic stained glass
+ Saints vs. The State for Washington Avenue

thumbnail: David Hinchen

14 hours at Crisan

If you're wandering down to Lark Street for 1st Friday tonight, here's a clip of what you'll see in the window at Crisan. Artist/architect Shadi Khadivi spent 14 hours photographing what goes on in the kitchen at Claudia and Iggy's Lark Street bakery/edible art gallery.

Shadi teaches architecture studios at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, and Parsons the New School for Design in New York City, and owns her own design studio in Albany. She says she's fascinated by the creative process and by bringing what goes on in the background to the foreground. So she edited a full day in the Crisan kitchen down to about 11 minutes. You won't get any secret family recipes, but you will get a feel for what goes on behind the scenes and what goes into the creation of some of those gorgeous pastries. The project, called 6:45-9:00, will be projected on a screen in the front window of Crisan tonight.

Failure, the show

failure exhibit big

By Liz Clancy Lerner

Failure is like a sucker-punch to your self esteem, and something most people don't like to talk about. But it's a topic that Yaminay Chaudhri wants out in the open. "There's a lot of human dignity in learning to keep moving and getting back up," she says.

An architect turned artist, Yaminay is a graduate student in studio art (with a focus in combined media) at UAlbany. She's the curator of Failure -- a show that's taking place tonight at Collar Works in Troy.

It features work from local artists -- videos, journal entries and greeting cards -- all on the topic of failure. It will also have a "wall of shame" -- an invitation for you to contribute.

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Be Nice. Please.

be nice1

The brochure is paper, but all the text was created with embroidery.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

Jen Hunold's a firm believer that you get back what you put out. So much so, in fact, that she created Be Nice. -- a project about basic social courtesies.

Jen's a visual artist who has an MFA from UAlbany. She's used embroidery to create brochures and post-cards that you can download and hand out to kindly remind people that smiles brighten bad days.

It was one of those frustrating bad days that prompted the idea for Be Nice.

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Get the Message at Albany Institute

Graphic Design Exhibit Composite

A few of the images from Graphic Design: Get the Message.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

The Graphic Design: Get the Message exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art is definitely worth a visit for design nerds, it will also be interesting to anyone who's a critical consumer of media -- or just curious about the images we see every day.

Stay a little while and you'll see it's also about world history, innovation, how far we've come as a country, and how we absorb information...

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"Weeds and Wildness" at the Nott

weeds and wilderness nott exhibit space

The Nott Memorial provides a unique exhibition space. (panorama)

By Bennett V Campbell

The Nott Memorial at Union College is itself a work of art. If the dramatic circular structure, slate dome, and large windows letting natural light pour in from all sides aren't enough, the second floor hosts the Mandeville Gallery. And the current exhibition is worth checking out.

"Of Weeds and Wildness: Nature in Black & White" brings together 17 nationally and internationally recognized artists working in a variety of media. Kara Jefts, the gallery's interim director, was kind enough to give me an impromptu tour, fielding a few questions about the exhibit itself and the Nott Memorial in general.

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Post Secret at UAlbany

post secret ualbany four cards

Four of the post cards from the exhibit.

By Akum Norder

"In my dreams, God exists and is not a total bastard, and s/he makes my son well and gives him back to me."

"I found God and I am happy. But I am scared to let others know that."

"Even though I'm a scientist ... I still believe in miracles."

"I hate my parents for raising me in a religion that taught me to hate myself."

"Post Secret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God" -- which opened at UAlbany on Wednesday -- does what good art exhibits should do: give you something to think about.

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EMPAC Spring 2011

empac_concert_hall_ceiling.jpgEMPAC's spring 2011 slate is officially out -- and, as usual, it's full of stuff that looks interesting, challenging, and weird (you know, in the good way.)

Here are a handful of shows/exhibits/performances that caught our eye...

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The artist as metalsmith: John De Rosier's jewelry

De Rosier bracelet

Sterling silver flattened links bracelet.

By Akum Norder

To someone who's really creative, one creative job may not be enough.

John De Rosier is best known for putting a spin on the day's news as the Times Union's editorial cartoonist.

He's also a jeweler.

His jewelry has a rich simplicity about it, echoing both natural and industrial forms. Metals and shapes are the focus here; he uses gemstones rarely. The designs are modern but not sterile, and very eye-catching.

Read on to learn a little about his work and his inspirations.

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iArt: Dan Burkholder's iPhone Artistry

A time-lapse of Dan running through how he creates an image.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

Dan Burkholder is an accomplished photographer and artist. His recent canvas of choice? The iPhone.

Dan has managed to coax the iPhone into creating works with rich textures and sweeping panoramas. He's become so good at it that he wrote a book on the subject that will be out in a few months.

We first heard about Dan's work through an exhibit in Troy last year -- his images were being shown at the Martinez Gallery.

We recently took a trip down to the Catskills to visit Dan in his home studio. He lives there with his wife, Jill (another accomplished photographer), and four cats. He was kind enough to show us how he turns an iPhone snapshot into a work of art.

(Video of how Dan creates an image, plus a handful of his works, after the jump. And the youtube versions can be found here and here)

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Arts Center looking for submissions, curators

arts center call for entriesThe Arts Center of the Capital Region has posted a call for entries:

Submissions will be considered for opportunities including solo exhibitions, small and large group exhibitions, installation possibilities, arts-in-education opportunities and more. Visual artists in all media - painting, printmaking, sculpture, installation, video, photography, performance, and mixed media presentations - are invited to submit.
The Arts Center is also interested in offering emerging curators the opportunity to propose exhibits for future programming.

The deadline is January 7.

Uncertain Spectator at EMPAC

empac uncertain spectators wolfson

A still from Jordan Wolfson's "Con Leche" video piece, part of "Uncertain Spectators"

Looks interesting: EMPAC has a genre-spanning exhibition called "Uncertain Spectator" opening Thursday evening. From the blurb:

A group exhibition confronting anxiety in contemporary art, Uncertain Spectator asks individuals to cross a threshold -- to place themselves in situations riddled with tension, confront deeply charged emotional content, and grapple with feelings of apprehension. The works presented deal with a general mood of uneasiness arising from recent political and economic events that frames a future rife with imminent threats. Uncertain Spectator not only responds to these unsettling situations, but also creates them by challenging individuals to step outside of a place of comfort both physically and emotionally.

Hmm. Shocking they were able to mine recent events for feelings of apprehension.

Among the special events that are part of Thursday's exhibition opening:

+ A performance by the Troy Chainsaw Ensemble

+ A screening of Lars von Trier's film Dancer in the Dark, which stars Bjork.

Events get started at 6 pm. It's free. And we hear there will be free snacks, too.

The exhibition runs through January 29.

Bonus Thursday stuff to do: The annual B3nson Family Funsgiving is Thursday night at Valentine's. Many of the collective members are lined up to perform: We Are Jeneric, If Madrid, Scientific Maps, Que Caro, Barons in the Attic, Sgt Dunbar, and Beware! The Other Head of Science. $10 at the door, $8 with a non-perishable food item.

Yep, EMPAC has advertised on AOA in the past

image: Jordan Wolfson via EMPAC

Ordinary Things

sebastien carrie haddad wilks

Mother and son, over 20 years.

The new show at Carrie Haddad Photographs in Hudson -- "Ordinary Things: When artists make their private life public" -- caught our eye. So we were happy to see that Sebastien had a chance to check it out. He writes of a series of photos by photographer Harry Wilks around which the show formed:

This is one of the most interesting piece of the show in my opinion, as it spans more than two decades. It started in 1987 as a simple picture of the artist's wife and young son, leaning on the bumper of their first car, and turned into a photo ritual year after year. Watch his son age, turn into a teenager, his wife mature, gracefully. This series was never intended to be shown in a gallery - it was a personal project. [Curator] Melissa [Stafford] asked Harry if she could show them and from there the whole exhibit started to grow as more artists joined the project. I was impressed by the vision and the resolve of Wilks, the strong composition over 20 years, the attention to details. I wish I had started such a project already.

Many more thoughts and photos at Sebastien's site.

"Ordinary Things" runs at Carrie Haddad Photographs until December 12.

photo: Sebastien B

12 hours in Columbia County

columbia county composite

Enough for more than a day.

Columbia County is so close that... you might already be there. And if you're not, you should go -- unless you don't like food, art, shopping and beautiful scenery.

No, those things all sound pretty good? Well, here are some ideas on how to spend a day in Columbia County...

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Kevin Clark's big pictures

Kevin Clark troy music hall mural

Kevin working on the Troy Music Hall mural in August.

Kevin Clark likes to do things big.

Kevin's a mural artist -- you've probably seen his handiwork on Capital Region Walls.

The "Welcome to Troy" mural? His. The one on the side of Brown's Brewing? His. He's also responsible for works on the walls of a bunch of schools, arenas, restaurants and shopping malls around the Capital Region.

His latest creation stands on the side of a building in downtown Troy and depicts the interior of Troy Saving Bank Music Hall.

Just passing by his work kind of brightens our day. And after we caught him in action last month in Troy, we had a few questions about this large scale work and the guy behind it.

Kevin's answers, and some more of his amazing work, after the jump.

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Breaking My Art's A.C. Everson


Stuffed rooster.

Annine Everson spends hours creating works of art.

And when she's done, people break them.

Everson makes piñatas of all shapes, sizes and colors. She makes them for parties -- and for performance art.

Yes, we scratched our heads about that last part, too.

But after the jump, Albany's only piñata making performance poet explains the allure of breakable art, piñatas and performance -- and her philosophy on strings vs. paddles.

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Center Square wallpaper

CS Wallpaper Big Picture.JPG

It's like a giant "Where's Waldo" game for Center Square.

Laura Glazer and Lori Hansen think Albany's Center Square residents are proud of their neighborhood. So when they were working on a 1st Friday project for the big windows at Capitol Wine, in the heart of the Washington Park/Center Square neighborhood, they wanted to find a way to express that pride.

The photographer and graphic artist considered a number of ideas before settling on the one thing that neither of them felt they were good at: drawing.

The result: some fun rolls of Center Square "wallpaper" that are fun, quirky and as it turns out, just a tiny bit AOA inspired.

Photos and a little more from Laura Glazer after the jump.

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The big picture in Troy

troy music hall mural 3

Just a few more touches...

We were walking through downtown Troy today and stopped for a few minutes to watch artist Kevin Clark put a few last touches on the new mural on the side of 50 Second Street (adjacent to the bank parking lot).

The work depicts the inside of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. The project apparently sparked some discussion about how public art projects should be reviewed in Troy. [Troy Record]

It was interesting to watch Clark this afternoon as he applied a few highlights to the huge painting. He'd move around on the motorized lift and apply a few brush strokes here and there.

You've probably seen his work before. He's painted a bunch of murals around the Capital Region -- including the one on the side of Brown's Brewing.

The Arts Center of the Capital Region is holding an "unveiling" of the mural August 31 at 5 pm (we hear there will also be confetti and gelato -- hard to go wrong there).

A bunch of other pics after the jump. Including a (stitched together) big pic of the mural.

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EMPAC Fall 2010

laurie anderson empac fall 2010The schedule for the upcoming fall season at EMPAC is out. And, as we've come to expect, it includes a bunch of interesting/odd/challenging shows.

Here are a few that caught our eye while scanning the list...

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PostSecret coming to UAlbany

postsecret exhibit winnipeg

An earlier Post Secret installation in Canada.

Here's something to look forward to: PostSecret, the post card confessional web series, is bringing one of its touring exhibits to UAlbany. The site's exhibit schedule reports it will be at UAlbany's performing arts center from January 19 to February 11.

PostSecret describes itself as "an ongoing community art project where people
mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard." The cards are often creatively decorated or illustrated. Among the recently posted secrets :

"I'm 25 and finally in a loving, committed relationship. It just happens to be with a married couple."
"I'm convinced that being a Mets fan has taken years off my life!"
"The romance of being with a pilot has worn off. I want my own adventure."
"We haven't been dating long, but I constantly daydream about our Star Wars theme wedding."

The site started in 2004 -- and quickly became very popular. Material from the site has since been turned into four books.

(Thanks, Jessica R!)

photo via International Arts & Artists

Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside

By Patrick Dodson and Timothy Maher

The Contemporary Artists Center moved from North Adams to the former Woodside Church in Troy last winter. The CAC is renovating the church for use as an artist residency program for national, international, and local artists, along with exhibition space.

In July, the org won a $20,000 grant for the renovation from the Chase Community Giving program. And in May it won a $50,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh program.

Patrick Dodson and Timothy Maher are Machine Should Be.

Secret Selves

secret selves nimoy mass mocaMASS MoCA has a new exhibit opening this weekend -- and you might recognize the artist: Leonard Nimoy. Yep, Spock.

From the MASS MoCA blurb for Secret Selves:

Inspired by Aristophanes' theory that humans were once double-sided creatures with two heads and multiple limbs before Zeus cleaved man in two and left him forever struggling to be whole again, Nimoy's photographs reveal his subjects' other half. Shooting in nearby Northampton, Massachusetts, Nimoy recruited volunteers from the local community with an open call for portrait models willing to be photographed posed and dressed as their true or imagined "secret selves." From the popular rock star and superman to the more unexpected dog lover and Pan, these various secret identities (off-line avatars as they might be described) offer an intimate, sometimes humorous, and often profound new look at the residents of Northampton and the inner yearnings and fantasies that we all share.

Nimoy apparently has been a serious photographer for decades. From a NYT article this week about the exhibit:

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Photos from Heavy at St. Joseph's

heavy event photos

"Mortui Vivos Docent" by Chris Harvey.

Sebastien sent along a photoset from Heavy, the art event at St. Joseph's this past weekend. He noted on his site: "There is something about that unusual space that can really highlight large scale and street installations."

Heavy has been extended for another two days -- this Friday from 5-11 pm and Saturday from 2-11 pm.

Update: Matthew has a short recap, as well, with high praise for the event.

Also: Sebastien's collection of urban decay photos is now available as a photo book, The Unnoticed.

photo: Sebastien B

"I Love New York" by CAPow!

capow I Love New York

When we look at this, we get the urge to pronounce the county names they way they're depicted.

We really like this New York State print by local artist CAPow!. We came across it in this interview she did with Jess Lyons.

The "I Love New York" print is available in CAPow!'s Etsy store -- an 8x10 is $25. She's also selling 16x20s for $50.

She also has prints in the same style for: Albany, Troy, Manhattan and Massachusetts.

Earlier on AOA: RagamuffinDesign by Jess Lyons

image: CAPow!

"Snapshot" paintings by Scott Hotaling

scott hotaling snapshot paintings composite

Three of Scott's "snapshot" paintings.

By Kalyn Belsha

Scott Hotaling is an artist, but he also describes himself as a part-time genealogist. The 30-year-old Selkirk native has spent hours visiting family members to make a detailed family record, which he uses to identify subjects in the paintings he creates using old family photographs.

Scott's impressive body of work includes many small "snapshot" paintings, some of which are modeled after black and white Polaroids dating back to his Sicilian great-great-grandparents and a cast of other characters that fascinate him, despite the fact he's never met them. In addition to his family, Scott paints "found photos" -- ones he's been given, bought at estate sales or stumbled across on Flickr.

This August, Scott has two exhibits, one at the Romaine Brooks Gallery and another at the Albany Center Gallery, that showcase his snapshot paintings, in addition to some haunting local landscapes. He gave AOA a sneak peek at some of the artwork he'll be showing and talked with us about how he creates his snapshots and why Albany has no shortage of views to inspire artists.

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Sculpture in the Streets 2010

sculpture in the streets 2010

The piece outside 30 South Pearl.

Sebastien has put together an excellent photoset, post and map of this year's Sculpture in the Streets exhibit in downtown Albany. He comments:

This body of work by Seward Johnson, an American artist known for his hyper-realistic imagery, is part of a collection of 250 cast bronze figures depicting people of all ages engaged in day-to-day activities. I invite you to take a nice, long walk downtown Albany and take a closer look at these intriguing sculptures. Bring metaphorical hiking shoes because you are about to embark on a trip down the Uncanny Valley.

Each sculpture is sponsored by a local business or organization (among, them We Want Trader Joe's in the Capital District). One of the sculptures, "Crossing Paths," was "community sponsored."

The series of sculptures will be in place until October.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Sculpture in the Streets 2009
+ Sculpture in the Streets 2008

photo: Sebastien B

River Street Festival sidewalk chalk 2010

river festival chalk 2010

Chalk it up!

One of our favorite summer events is the annual street chalking competition at the Troy River Street Festival. Unfortunately, we couldn't make it this year -- but Sebastien was there, and he's posted a photoset with a bunch of panels.

Bonus photoset: the modestly-attended rescheduled World Naked Bike Ride in Washington Park.

photos: Sebastien B

Art on Lark is coming up

art on lark 2010 logoThe annual Art on Lark festival is this coming Saturday in Albany. Lark Street will be closed off for all the artistic happenings.

Among them is a new event: the Lark-ternative Hair Competition. From the Lark Street BID:

The competition will feature four of the most innovative and talented hair designers in the Capital Region. Each of the four contestants will have the opportunity to show five different avant-garde or alternative hairstyles as a complete head-to-toe look with make up, clothing and accessories. The stylists will also get the opportunity to explain the vision and inspiration behind their collections.

A panel of judges will pick a winner.

Art on Lark will will also include music on two stages. The lineups are after the jump.

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Nao Bustamante moves on

Local performance artist -- and RPI associate professor -- Nao Bustamante made it through another episode of Bravo's Work of Art reality series last night.

This week's challenge was to create a sculpture from objects at an electronics recycling center. Bustamante piece (above) earned her a spot in the middle of the field, advancing her to the next ep. (Also, being in the middle meant less screen time.)

Last week we wondered if she was being cast as the "villain" or "oddball" (or oddball villain). It looks like she has some competition. This week Miles, her partner last episode, slept on his sculpture -- a giant screen-printed pillow situated between two large concrete anuses -- and then was seemingly compelled by some irresistible urge to slam a fellow competitor during the critique.

Also: We're waiting for the moment when the judges on this show suddenly break character and say, "Just kidding! We don't really believe (or understand) what we just said, either!" (Unless the judges are actually the contestants...)

Earlier on AOA: RPI's Nao Bustamante on Bravo's "Work of Art"

photo: Bravo TV

Could Nao Bustamante be the "villain" on Work of Art?

nao bustamante work of art episode 1

At one point, she tells a judge: "I'm not responsible for your experience of my work."

RPI professor -- and performance artist -- Nao Bustamante made it through the first episode of Work of Art, Bravo's "next great artist" reality show (like Project Runway or Top Chef).

Said Bustamante in her introductory clip on the show: "I feel like I've already won... and so I feel like I could be really generous with my criticism." The interspersed video then shows her "ehh-ing" other competitors' work. And a little later, after she offers a luke-warm critique of another competitor's piece, the competitor says: "Nao's really rude." Oh, the reality show drama (there's always someone edited to be the "villain" or "oddball").

When we talked with Bustamante last week about her appearance on the show, she said it was "more intense than I expected."

You can watch the full episode here. The first elimination challenge was to create a portrait of a fellow contestant. Her partner didn't seem to cooperate -- and it's probably fair to say that Bustamante went abstract.

Earlier on AOA: RPI's Nao Bustamante on Bravo's "Work of Art"

screengrab: Bravo TV

The often-imitated Jess Fink

jess fink cookie comparison

From left to right: Jess Fink's original design, the Forever 21 t-shirt design, the Goldman work

If imitation truly is flattery, Troy artist Jess Fink should be getting a lot of compliments.

Somehow we're guessing that's not the way it feels.

Fink tweeted last night that she's come across yet another piece inspired-by/ripped-off-from her work. This time she says it's Todd Goldman, an artist with a huge merchandising operation. She posted a screenshot of a Goldman work that bears a strong resemblance to her "Cookie loves Milk" design.

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Upcoming classes at the Arts Center

arts center stained glassWe were skimming through the catalog of classes at the Arts Center of the Capital Region today and a few caught our eye:

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Road Trip: North Adams & MASS MoCA

Mass MoCA lg.jpg

The trip to MASS MoCA is part of the art

By Jessica Pasko

One of the good things about living in the Capital Region is that there are a wealth of cool places within a short distance.

Such as MASS MoCA and North Adams.

After the jump -- the virtual road trip.

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Schenectady Art Attack

schenectady light bulbThis first Schenectady Art Attack is this weekend in (where else) downtown Schenectady. What's an "art attack?" From the brochure:

The Schenectady Art Attack is an attempt to bring hundreds of creative people together for a weekend to display their visions of what the world is and could be. We have invited painters, poets, musicians, wood workers, film makers, writers, photographers and others to attack the city with their collective artistic power to invigorate the city and its inhabitants.

We hear from the organizers that there will be live music, photos from 20 photographers, films by local directors such as Mike Feurstein and Román Jáquez. And... chainsaw carving.

The event runs Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-5. It's free. You can pick up a brochure with maps and info at Schenectady City Hall.

Dancing on the Ceiling at EMPAC

dotc empac

As we understand it, there will be no Lionel Ritchie.

EMPAC has a group exhibition coming up that looks like it'll be worth exploring. From the blurb for Dancing on the Ceiling:

Dancing on the Ceiling will bring together artworks that use the metaphor of floating or weightlessness as an expression of the relationship of the individual to social, political or personal contexts. In addition, several of the pieces relate to lightness as akin to an agility of mind, freed of entrenched perspectives.
The artworks in the exhibition deploy helium, parabolic flight, rigging, and digital effects. They feature floating performers, an upside-down kitchen, an isolation tank and skateboarders freed from physical laws. They evoke the golden age of space exploration and the dreams of the counter-culture. Dancing on the Ceiling is a provocative convergence of time-based photography, sculpture, installation, and video.

The opening reception is this Thursday from 6-10 pm, when the building will open so people can check out all the exhibits. It's free.

Bonus: There will be a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey on EMPAC's 56-foot screen that night at 7 pm. Douglas Trumbull, the special effects director for 2001 and many other films, will be giving a talk beforehand.

image: Dennis Darzacq

Tang looking for local pieces

tang for youUpdated Wednesday morning

The Tang Museum at Skidmore has an exhibition called "For You" coming up in June that will feature local works by artists who have passed away. And they're looking for your help. From the site blurb (emphasis added):

This summer, the Tang will present a unique open call exhibition of artwork created by artists who have passed away, but whose work and memory continue to impact individuals in the greater Capital Region. Entitled For You, the exhibition is inspired by Troy resident Bruce Ottmer, who sat on the corner of Lark Street in Albany holding a painting by his late wife, Claire Durani Nack. Determined to bring her painting to a larger audience, but unable to find a venue to exhibit it, Ottmer decided to sit on the street and share the painting with passersby. Motivated by Ottmer's dedication, the Tang is organizing For You to give locals like Ottmer a venue to exhibit work made by loved ones, while simultaneously celebrating the lives and talents of the artists.

The submission process starts next Monday. There are details on the Tang site.

(Thanks, StickFigureMan! And Summer!)

Rewriting the bible in Columbia County


Phillip Patterson beneath the willows. (photo by Laura Glazer)

By Jessica Pasko

Phillip Patterson is hand-writing the Bible.

Yes, the entire bible. The 1611 King James bible, to precise. The Columbia County resident hopes to complete it by next year, the book's 500th birthday.


Laura Glazer was. Yes, that Laura Glazer. The host of Hello Pretty City.

What's all this about?

A mix of things, really.

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"What are you doing now?"

burkholder iphone print

There's an app for that?

That piece above is by artist Dan Burkholder. He made it using an iPhone. Really.

It's part of an exhibition that opens tomorrow night at the Martinez Gallery in Troy as part of Troy Night Out.

The exhibition's title takes a cue from sites such as Twitter and Facebook: "What are you Doing Now?" It features 18 local artists providing an example of their most current work, using a range of media -- including the iPhone.

The Martinez Gallery is at 3 Broadway in Troy (that's the Cannon Building). In addition to TNO, it's open Wednesday through Saturday 2-5pm.

Marketplace Gallery re-opening


Art from The Market Gallery's "Recovery" show, just about a year ago

By Jessica Pasko

The Marketplace Gallery , located in a loft down by the Port of Albany, held several awesome art shows last spring and summer. The expansive space, run by Samson Contompasis and his brothers Alex and Max, was a great addition to the Albany arts scene, until an electrical fire back in August shut it down.

Now, after months of rebuilding, the Contompasis brothers are re-opening their gallery and they've got some promising plans for the place.

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Electrical Forest

Over at PBS' art:21 blog, artist Noah Fischer writes about Electrical Forest, his installation at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy:

During my initial research missions to Troy, New York I met a colorful bunch of historians, painters, potters, professors and arborists, and was struck by the miniature grandeur of the city. There was a need to respond to its historical aura; going to Troy was stepping into another world. This was interesting to me because it's not a gentrified international destination; it's more or less a graveyard of American industry, a city of the Rust Belt. Working with The Arts Center of the Capital Region and independent curator, Lauren Wolk, who invited me to Troy for the project, I crafted the outlines of Electrical Forest: Made in Troy. It was to be a project that depended on the community of Troy to harness the aura of their city. Electrical Forest: Made in Troy would tell the story of a small American city set deep in the landscape of progress.

Fischer got people to come in and work on an "assembly line" manufacturing leaves for the projects (video embedded above).

Electrical Forest will be on display at the Arts Center until December 24.

At the mall, with Andy

crossgates warholesque

Pop Egg.

We noticed this Warhol-esque installation at Crossgates last night. It's at the top of the escalators by the new Dick's store.

It seemed a little groovy for the mall. In a good way.

Mooing at Uncommon Grounds

cow paining Karin Kuck


We love the art on display this month in the Albany Uncommon Grounds. Karin Kuck's paintings of cows (and a few giraffes and chickens) are really fun. They make us smile every time we look at them.

Oh, yeah: Uncommon Grounds now has a blog -- and there's some good stuff there, including tips on keeping coffee fresh, a profile of a regular and "The Managerwich".

Earlier on AOA:
+ Off the lunch menu: wi-fi
+ How much is that bagel in the window?

photo via UG

Photos from Flux

Vincent Tocco collage

A collage by Vincent Tocco.

Chuck sent along this photo from the Flux art show at St. Joseph's this past weekend. He's posted a photoset from the event.

Sebastien has also posted some good photos from Friday night, including this great wide shot of the interior.

photo: Chuck Miller

Flux at St. Joseph's

st. joes


By Jessica Pasko

Remember that Papergirl project? It's part of a bigger art event called Flux that's being held this weekend.

Flux promises three nights (and two days) of art, music and food (served up by the Albany Pump Station). But the real star of the show will be the venue itself, St. Joseph's Cathedral in Albany's Ten Broeck neighborhood. It's a beautiful, fascinating building that you shouldn't miss the opportunity to check out.

Really -- you need to see this building.

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Following along with The Rent Project

rent project weeds

A new title.

After Jess' post about Warren MacMillan's "Rent Project," we've been following his project blog -- and it's fun!

It kind of reminds us of one of those procedural TV shows. A person shows up looking for help, Warren takes on the job, finishes it... and on to the next one. The only thing missing is Jerry Orbach.

So far, Warren's $3.50 jobs have included drawing, business card design, picking up dog poop, door knob removal, weeding and critiquing. And he also got some reiki.

We're looking forward to seeing what comes next. And we've added his project blog to the Neighborhood.

photo: Warren MacMillan


papergirl posterSina Hickey imagines a group of people riding on bikes through the streets of Albany and passing out original art at random.

It's worked in Berlin and a few other places, and the 24-year-old Guilderland resident's got a feeling the Capital Region could pull it off, too. And she's looking for your help.

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The Rent Project

money and envelope

1/100 of the way toward his goal

By Jessica Pasko

A local artist who recently lost his job is turning to some pretty creative means to pay rent on his Troy apartment.

Warren MacMillan, a sculptor with an MFA from SUNY Albany, has launched The Rent Project as a way to come up with $350. And make some art in the process.

Here's the deal...

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Sunken ships + amoebae = art

lake george shipwreck amoebaThe 250-year-old sunken ships in Lake George about which AOA recently talked with underwater archeologist Joe Zarzynski are part of a weird new exhibit that promises to "introduce viewers to the contemporary synthesis of art and science." From the Lake George Arts Project:

Artwork based on "The Sunken Fleet of 1758" shipwrecks was scanned and then reduced to a miniature scale. Using micro-lithographic methods, these images were then transformed into 3-dimensional surfaces. Testate amoebae [harvested from Lake George] were released onto these surfaces and allowed to interact with the archaeological artwork. Dr. [Sam] Bowser and science artist Elinor Mossop examined these interactions using microscopy methods. Ms. Mossop interpreted the creatures' exploratory movements and created a series of cutting edge drawings and paintings that show the micro fauna encountering and reoccupying "The Sunken Fleet of 1758." Her approach is based on a previous art/science collaboration between Bowser and New Zealand artist Claire Beynon.

As part of the exhibit, waterproof artwork has been placed on easels at the the bottom of Lake George near the shipwreck.

"Raising the Fleet" opens today at the Lake George Arts Project gallery. There's a reception Friday evening.

The exhibit runs until September 10.

image: Lake George Arts Project

Sol LeWitt charts well at MASS MoCA

mass moca lewitt

The exhibit is a collection of wall drawings.

The most recent NY Mag includes some high praise for the recently installed Sol LeWitt retrospective at MASS MoCA. The mag's "Approval Matrix" calls the installation "one of the best single-artist exhibits ever." (That would be in the upper right corner, for "highbrow" and "brilliant.")

The LeWitt retrospective is massive -- it covers 27,000 square feet. It'll be on display until 2033.

The Approval Matrix also charted Taking Woodstock, though the film didn't fare so well. The word "boring" was used.

Earlier on AOA: The Sol Lewitt retrospective at MASS MoCA

photo: Flickr user albany_tim

Out of This World at ALB

Chris Harvey

"Seven Columns of Commerce and Pleasure" by Chris Harvey

One of our favorites things about the Albany International Airport is the upstairs art gallery. We appreciate the fact that a place that's all about hustle and bustle has a space that's dedicated to pausing and thinking.

If you have some time during your next swing through ALB, the current exhibit is worth checking out.

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Fork Art

fork-art- hot rod.jpg

Forks you can't eat with.

By Jessica Pasko

When your parents told you not to play with your food, they probably meant the utensils too. But what if they knew you could make a living at it. Really.

At this year's Tulipfest and Art on Lark events, I spotted this very cool art made entirely of forks.

Just bent forks.

No glue, no soldering, no Matrix-like powers -- just a pair of pliers.

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Lori Hansen's vintage letterpress

Lori at the letterpress.jpg

Lori Hansen and her 1882 letterpress

Monday through Friday she works with pixels and laser printers, designing computer
graphics for advertising and public relations at EMA in Albany. But on Saturdays Lori Hansen abandons keyboard, mouse and laser printer for ink, wood and steel.

A couple of years ago Hansen found a vintage 1880's letter press on Ebay. Fifteen hundred dollars, five guys, a hydraulic lift, an elaborate system of pulleys and a big truck later it was hers.

She gave us a tour of her vintage print shop, tucked away in a corner of the Historic Albany Architectural Parts Warehouse, where she prints fun, quirky, handmade cards on beautiful paper.

A closer look at Lori and the press, including photos and video of how it works -- after the jump.

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The people behind the Craigslist ads

de-classified thumbnailCheck out this online photo exhibit by Saratoga Springs-based Mark Andrew. (might be NSFW)

It's called "de-classified" -- and it features photos of people who have posted missed connections and other personals on Craigslist. It. Is. Fascinating.

From Andrew's artist's statement:

When I began the project, I anticipated that by the time I got to 50, I would have captured a fairly complete representation of what was to be had. But now that I've hit that milestone, it is very obvious that I've barely touched the surface. Perhaps when I've completed another 200 I'll be closer to what has become my internal true north for the project - an exhibit that represents the human condition.

Some of the pictures are suprising. Some are sweet. Some are sexy. Some are a bit disturbing.

Many of the people featured are local. Among them: the guy trying to sell his underwear, the woman looking to get her money back and the two girls who spotted a hot guy at Washington Tavern.

We're even pretty sure we highlighted this guy in one of our weekly "Craig and his wonderful list" posts.


(Thanks, Dan!)

photo: Mark Andrew

Davey Jones Locker

Fish 1.jpg

Something fishy.

By Dawn Padfield

Since my husband is allergic to every animal that walks on earth, fish have become the pet of choice at our house. But the over bred and sad little fishies sold at the big box pet stores weren't cutting it. I needed to find fish with gumption. I needed to find fish with the will to live.

My search led me to a flipping good fish store (I know, but it's really tough to resist a good fish pun).

Davey Jones Locker is like a funky little aquarium on Delaware Avenue in Albany.

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Chalked up

sidewalk art

On the River Street sidewalk in Troy.

Above is one of the winning entries in this past weekend's River Street Festival sidewalk chalk art contest. The panel is by Kelly Salerno, who was also one of last year's winners.

Sebastien has posted a photo set from this year's contest. There were a lot of great entries. We especially liked this panel inspired by Where the Wild Things Are.

photo: Sebastien B

Project Larkway winner Joleen Button

larkway winners 2.JPG

Joleen Button (in the white dress) designed the winning collection for Project Larkway.

You get the feeling Joleen Button doesn't watch much TV.

A few weeks ago at Art on Lark, Button's collection of retro inspired summer dresses (plus one vintage style red bikini) won her the Project Larkway competition. But she's still playing with the collection, trying to make the dresses look a little better.

When she's not altering clothes to create new outfits, she's painting, doing graphic design, even making music. Constantly creating.

Button sat still just long enough to talk to AOA about the arts scene in the Capital Region, her passion for all things vintage and her great love affair with art (small "a") .

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Jennifer Maher's toy portraits

jennifer maher.JPG

DJ Jennifer Haley and her toy portraits

So it's no secret by now that AOA spends a fair amount of time at Uncommon Grounds.

And lately we can't help but smile at the art on the walls. The current show includes a group of portraits of quirky, well loved, interesting toys -- bunnies, lambs, squeezy bath toys and Japanese cartoon favs.

They're the work of Jennifer Maher -- known in local rave circles as D.J Jen Haley.

Jen's on hiatus from the rave scene (or what's left of it) until her new daughter gets a little older. These days she's writing a little and painting a lot --specifically custom portraits of favorite toys.

She talked with AOA recently about her art, the allure of toys, and the common ground between cuddly animal paintings and rave culture.

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The Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum

Sembrich Museum indoors.jpg

The opera isn't the only reason to visit.

By Jessica Pasko

Okay, so the words "opera museum" don't exactly scream cool.

Still, I'm going to risk my street cred and suggest a visit to the Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum .

No, you don't have to like opera to enjoy it.

So why should you go there?

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Project Larkway

larkway winners 2.JPG

Winning designer Joleen Button and Lark Street's top model Sarah von Ouhl, wearing a Button designed bikini.

So this weekend at Art on Lark, AOA's too-fabulous Jess Pasko got her best Tim Gunn on and joined Kristi G, fashion designers Katie Pray and Gina Ulrich and Upstate Magazine's Christa Dijstelbergen to judge Project Larkway (think Project Runway for local designers and models).

This year's designers were Amy Orr , Jill Castle and Joleen Button. Button won.

Here's a little of the inside scoop from the judges on how it went down and more pictures from the runway.

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Lorraine Murphy's pin-up art

Lorraine Murphy 1.jpg

Lorraine Murphy

We started reading Amy's post about First Impressions Boutique a few days ago and thought "Pin-up art? Hmm. We have to know more about this."

So we called Lorraine Murphy, artist, photographer and owner of First Impressions, to find out if, in fact, Capital Region women are going all Bettie Page. Turns out this is a little bit of a thing. More pictures and Lorraine's answers to our questions, after the jump.

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Peering into Ken Ragsdale's memory

Ken Ragsdale Art 1.jpg

A picture of Ken's memory

Last week we told you about artist Ken Ragsdale's Edible Albany exhibit at Crisan. The object of Ragsdale's art is to take pictures of his own mind.

And the result is pretty cool: recognizable images, created out of paper, that are only simple on the surface. The longer you look at them, the more you start thinking -- thinking about thinking and memory and reality.

Plus they're just fun to look at. There are more of them, plus more about Ken, after the jump.

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Edible Albany!

Edible Albany 1.jpg

Look-- a tiny little edible Lark St.

We wandered over to Crisan this afternoon to talk with baker/artist Claudia Crisan-Calabria about her upcoming edible art lecture at "New York in Bloom" -- and look what we found. A tiny little edible Lark Street.

What's it all about?

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Equus at Carrie Haddad

equus posterIf you're looking to get out the house for a bit this weekend (be sure to bundle), you might think about heading down to Hudson.

Carrie Haddad Photographs has a new exhibition called "Equus" -- it features, not surprisingly, works that involve horses. From the gallery's site:

Through the ages, the Horse has remained inseparable from man as a symbolic element of the sublime within the spirit of humanity. As representations of strength, devotion, wisdom, divination and freedom, the equine form projects not its own beauty; it reflects instead the beauty - or horror - of man's unconscious power. Equus ... spotlights the multi-layered relationship between people and horses. The exhibit will include the work of local and international photographers Tim Flach, David Seiler, Ida Weygandt, Juliet Harrison, Paul Solberg and Christopher Makos.

Three of the photographers from the exhibit will be giving a talk at the gallery Saturday from 4pm. (Here are some pics of the exhibit space.)

It could be a fun little trip down to check out the exhibit and then have dinner at one of Hudson's interesting restaurants.

Live with Less at UAlbany

By Jessica Pasko

UAlbany trash exhibit .jpgThe new art exhibit at UAlbany is kind of trashy.


But it's also kind of cool. And it makes you think.

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The book on Phil Pascuzzo

Phil Pascuzzo book covers

Cover art by Phil Pascuzzo

By Melissa Mansfield

Everybody's heard that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. But is that really true?

Phil Pascuzzo should know. He's the drummer for local band Scientific Maps. He's also a book cover designer -- he's created more than 300 of them. (Phil's also designed artwork for local musicians such as Brent Gordon, Brian Patneaude, and Sgt Dunbar.)

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Jess Fink has a lot of fans

jess fink tshirt comparison

One of these things is A LOT like the other. The one on the left is the Jess Fink original.

By Jessica Pasko

When Troy artist Jess Fink isn't designing art for video games, creating logos, illustrating children's books, doing caricatures or writing irreverently funny comic strips, she designs really cool t-shirts. She's designed shirts for bands like Fall Out Boy and Less than Jake, and she creates original designs for websites like She's pretty awesome, and a lot of people like her work. Some like it a little too much.

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The Sol Lewitt retrospective at MASS MoCA

mass moca lewitt time lapse

A frame from the time-lapse for "Wall Drawing 1152"

Check out these cool time-lapse videos of the wall paintings being installed for the "Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective" exhibit at MASS MoCA (LeWitt bio). The exhibit is massive -- it covers 27,000 square feet over three floors -- and took a small army to install. From MASS MoCA's site:

The drawings at MASS MoCA were executed over a six-month period by a team comprising twenty-two of the senior and experienced assistants who worked with the artist over many years; thirty-three student interns from Yale University, Williams College, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and fourteen other colleges and universities; and thirteen local artists and recent graduates and post-graduates from many of the nation's leading studio-art programs.

PBS's NewsHour has posted a slide show of some of the works with audio commentary by the director of the Yale University Art Gallery (he was also a friend of LeWitt).

And here's a Flickr pool of photos from the exhibit.

If you're interested in checking out the exhibit in person, you have a little bit of time. It's scheduled to be up for the next 25 years.

screengrab: MASS MoCA

David Geurin

Super Guy by David Geurin

One of Geurin's pieces from his Kismet show.

By Jessica Pasko

Monsters, and aliens and superheroes, oh my!

For artist David P. Geurin, they're the stuff art is made of. The Albany-based artist combines comic book styling with movie monsters, aliens, a touch of pop art and a little sarcasm to create colorful works that show off an irreverent sense humor and genuine love of cartooning.

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Carrie Haddad Photographs

vincent laforet at haddadThe Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson is opening a new photography gallery called, well, Carrie Haddad Photographs. And the first exhibition, titled "Such Great Heights," looks very cool. Here's a bit about it from the gallery:

The inaugural exhibition at Carrie Haddad Photographs, the brand new exhibit space of Carrie Haddad Gallery, borrows its title from The Postal Services' song, Such Great Heights. The song romantically proclaims that, "everything looks perfect from far away" and the five photographers featured in this show explore a world seen from this same spectacular vantage point. Whether they attempt to transmit a narrative or not, they radiate a sense of great magnitude; the world appears immense and yet wholly intimate and personal.

We're especially interested in the tilt-shift photography of Vincent Laforet (that's his photo on the right) and Keith Loutit (check out his awesome tilt-shift "video" of Sydney Harbor); and the photo montages by Lori Van Houten.

The new gallery opens this weekend. There's a reception on Saturday from 6 to 8 pm.

The Heroes of Troy

By Jessica Pasko

Heroes of Troy PortraitRemember the song "Everyday Heroes"? Well, a new art project in Troy is kind of based on that idea.

OK, that sounds kind of cheesy. But trust me, it's much cooler than it sounds. And you could be a part of it.

(there's more)

It's no longer Kismet


Maybe the art vending machine can find a new home.

Word got around this weekend that Kismet, the art gallery and Troy Night Out staple, is closing. From an email sent out by owners Michael Fiske and Christina Stott:

For the last 2 years we strived to maintain the best Art Gallery in the region but have been unable to turn a profit in that time. Due to the struggling economy and our new obligations with our full time work schedules we will be unable to operate Kismet after October 31st. If any of our artists, or there friends, or families are interested in purchasing the business form us please contact us and we will consider all serious offers.

Earlier on AOA: The art vending machine at Kismet

(Thanks, Melissa)

Lunch with Rousseau, Gauguin, Klimt and Munch

Rousseau's Hungry Lion

The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope by Henri Rousseau.

Here's something a little different for your lunch hour if you work around the ESP. The New York State Museum is starting a four week Thursday lunchtime film series today called "The Post-Impressionists." Blurb from the announcement:

At the close of the 19th century, artists freely explored the innovations of Impressionism by expanding on the use of color, light, subject, and texture. The 2008 film series examines how the Post-Impressionists helped to usher in a new era of art by paving the way for Modernism.

Today's film is about Henri Rousseau. The next three weeks will cover Paul Gauguin, Gustav Klimt, and Edvard Munch.

Each film is 50 minutes long and will start at noon in the NYS Museum's Huxley Theather. And, yep, you can bring your lunch.

Earlier on AOA: Three things to see now at the NYS Museum

Three things to see now at the NYS Museum

Rockefeller campaign button

Yeah, man, he's the groovy candidate.

Heads up: the Latin American and Caribbean Art exhibit at the New York State Museum closes in two weeks.

We wouldn't go out of our way to see this exhibit as it seems the folks at MoMA were pretty stingy in deciding which "selected highlights" from their collection would make the trip up the Hudson. But we did enjoy seeing a few pieces, including Botero's Mona Lisa, Age Twelve (there's a Diego Rivera, too).

If you do stop by, be sure to take a few minutes to check out the great Nelson Rockefeller campaign memorabilia on the wall leading into the gallery. Campaign buttons were a lot more fun back in the day. (A few more of the pieces, including a Rockefeller potholder, are after the jump.)

And one more stop to make -- the Cohoes Mastodon is back on display. It's way in the back of the natural history section.

Any one of these things alone isn't really worth the trip, but all three aren't bad on on a rainy day.

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Capital Rep's pay what you will


What is art?

Heads up- tomorrow is pay what you will night at Capital Rep. Yep, you name the price.

The play is Art. . It's a Tony Award winning comedy that raises interesting questions about art and friendship. Questions like "if your friend pays a ton of money for a big white canvass with a few lines on it, is he gullible or cutting edge?" And "if you think he's nuts, do you tell him, or keep your mouth shut?"

Curtain is at 7:30 PM. Tickets go on sale at 10AM. They sell out quickly so get in line early. If you're sending someone to buy them for a group, just remember the limit is four tickets per person.

The art vending machine in Troy


The art vending machine.

By Jessica Pasko

Art? From a vending machine?

Yes, IPods aren't the only things that come in vending machines here in the Capital Region. A vending machine* in Troy has been refitted to dispense miniature pieces of art by emerging artists.

Yeah, we know It sounds a little weird, but it's actually kind of cool.

(there's more)

The Scoop

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