ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
by Jesse DeGroodt

 

Alexei Nikolaevich Lopatin (Russian, b. 1970) The Princess and the Seven Bogatyres, 1993. Egg tempera on a round, lidded lacquered papier-maché miniature chest 1 ¾ by 1 ¾ by 2 ¼ inches. Private Collection, Photography: mclaughlinphoto.com

The human species is nothing if not inventive. When the entire globe pretty much came to a screeching halt earlier this year, there were those who threw up their hands and set to hibernating for the duration, and there were those who got to work making the best of a disastrous situation. Many entertainers and arts venues headed straight for the latter category. In the ensuing months, various responses—online only, limiting entry, the drive-in theatre revival, you get the idea—led to a hodgepodge of various ways in which to consume the arts. Meanwhile, a number of venues have begun to swing open their doors. Let’s have a look at a few in-person art opportunities around the region.

The Hyde Collection
On August 1, The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY, reopens for the enjoyment of visitors. Appointments can be made for hour-long visits on their website at www.hydecollection.org—26 time slots are available Thursday-Sunday. From 10 a.m. to noon, visitation is limited to seniors and individuals at high risk, then the building closes for an hour of intensive cleaning before reopening to the general public from 1 to 5 p.m. The anti-coronavirus procedures expected of the visitor are rather detailed—their website has all the skinny on that, and visitors are advised to brush up prior to their visit.


Coinciding with the August 1 opening to the public, the Hyde debuts “Images of the People: Russian Lacquer Painting” and “J. S. Wooley, Adirondack Photographer.” The 2020 High School Juried Show will remain online only.


“Images of the People” features the work of artists from the historically famous “Icon Village” of Palekh in Russia’s Central Federal District, which has been renowned since the 16th century as a center for icon production. That history came to an abrupt end in 1917 with the Bolshevik Revolution.


Subsequently, these painters turned their attentions to illustrating small lacquer boxes with popular fables and tales from medieval history. When the Soviet Union bit the dust in the late 1980s and early ’90s, a Washington County, NY, collector traveled there and wound up purchasing more than 30 of the boxes. Works included in the Hyde exhibition: Irina Valentinovna Fedotova’s “Duke Stepanovich,” “The Princess and the Seven Bogatyres” from Valentin Petrovich Fedotov, and Natalia Nikolaevna Arapova’s “Snow Maiden.”


Meanwhile, the Hyde’s core collection includes works by such European masters as Sandro Botticelli, Domenikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco), Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Edgar Degas, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Americans Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer and James McNeill Whistler. The Museum’s collection of Modern and Contemporary art features works by Josef Albers, Dorothy Dehner, Sam Gilliam, Adolph Gottlieb, Grace Hartigan, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, George McNeil, Robert Motherwell, Ben Nicholson, Robert Rauschenberg and Bridget Riley.

Joe and the Landfill by Rodney Alan Greenblat is on display at Hudson Hall.   Photo by Alon Koppel


Hudson Hall
At Hudson Hall in Hudson, NY, through August 23, the fun, colorful art of Rodney Alan Greenblat is on display and able to be enjoyed in-person and through socially distanced guided tours. The deal? Exhibition hours are Friday-Sunday, with timed entry on the hour and with a maximum of 10 individuals allowed per hour. The socially distanced guided hours are conducted Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. Yes, reservations are required in both cases and can be made at www.hudsonhall.org.

Greenblat, whose The Rodney Shop—filled will all things Rodney—once called Catskill, NY, home, but is now on the move to Leeds, NY, was the creative force behind for the visual style of the PlayStation series “PaRappa the Rapper” his comic “Thunder Bunny.” He has also written “Uncle Wizzmo’s New Used Car” and “Aunt Ippy’s Museum Of Junk.”

Jenny Holzer's "Inflammatory Walls," from 1979 to 1982, at MASS MoCA. Kaelan Burkett/Jenny Holzer and Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY



MASS MoCA

In North Adams, MA, MASS MoCA has begun welcoming visitors to its myriad selection of exhibitions with a five-point “COVID Courtesy Code.” Among the stipulations: “You and everyone in your party will be asked to confirm that you have not had any fever-like symptoms in the 48 hours prior to arrival. If you feel ill, exhibit symptoms, or have had contact with a COVID-19 patient in the last 14 days, please stay home and seek care.” And, “To enable contact tracing, should that be necessary, all ticket buyers are required to provide contact information and names of everyone in your party.” Seems plenty reasonable.


What’s going on at MASS MoCA these days? Among those that jump out are Jenny Holzer’s “Truism” posters, alphabetical lists of concise statements on subjects ranging from money and class to sex and love; “Cosmic Latte,” from Spencer Finch, featuring more than 150 specially fabricated LED fixtures suspended from the ceiling over an expanse of the 80-foot long gallery, arranged in the gently arching shape of the Milky Way as it appears in the Northern Hemisphere in March; and Jarvis Rockwell’s “Us.” After removing my shoes and counting on my toes and fingers, there were still a plethora of exhibitions left over in the current repertoire. Personally, in my visits to MASS MoCA, I’ve found it nearly impossible to not stumble across something that piques your fancy.

miSci

The Museum of Innovation & Science, otherwise known as miSci, in Schenectady, NY, has swung open its doors and taken a series of steps to hold the virus at bay. For one, miSci, ordinarily a museum with a high interactive quotient, has stepped back from that approach for the time being. In place they have developed two miSci-curated exhibitions, “Sound Recording” and “Play!” Highlights of “Sound Recording” include American’s oldest surviving sound recording, an Edison tinfoil from 1878; a rare Emile Berliner—the inventor of the first disc phonograph—gramophone from the 1890s; and an experimental 1920s “sound-on” film recorder.


Among the goodies found in “Play!,” which reaches into the miSci collection to explore the evolution of play over time, are a 1947 champion Soap Box Derby car; a penny-farthing bicycle that was the first vehicle to travel over Schenectady’s Western Gateway Bridge; Charles Steinmetz’s (famed mathematician and electrical engineer and professor at Union College who fostered the development of alternating current) ice skates; and a 19th century ironclad toy ship.

Berkshire Theatre Group: “Godspell”

From August 6 through September 4, the Berkshire Theatre Group presents “Godspell” under an open-air tent adjacent to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. This is the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors’ Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Said Artistic Director Kate Maguire, “’Godspell’ got the green light after establishing a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show.” Tickets are now on sale.


Okay, one and all, sally forth and enjoy, and most of all, be safe!

 


IT and Tech Director Devin Overington said that since many of the students will be recording some scenes on their own, the extent of their capabilities will “depend on things like their age group and what tech they have at home. I’m hoping it’ll be pretty straightforward. Most are already familiar with Google Classrooms.”


Overington said he is “confident this is going to work. We’ll all learn at the same time. We’re fortunate to have a lot of options and we’re being very flexible with things.”


Plans are for the finished products to appear on CCYT’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Further information will be forthcoming on the CCYT website.


 “I’m hoping everything we do this summer is a learning experience and that we can expand the program,” Acevedo said. “I acknowledge all the pain and suffering that has come along with this pandemic, and it has been just terrible, but I’m looking at it as an opportunity to try new things. We’re all very excited about this summer.”