contemporary art news

Pack Your Bags it’s time for a summer road trip to Upstate Art Weekend

I know some of our dedicated art travelers are just getting home from Basel but its summertime in New York City (and hot as hell), so pack your shorts, sandals and bug spray and head towards the mountains of Upstate. The Upstate Art Weekend is a connective annual event, for residents and tourists alike, celebrating the cultural vibrancy of Upstate New York- spanning a ten county region in the Catskills Mountains and Hudson Valley.

UPAW was founded by Founded by Helen Toomer, the visionary behind the STONELEAF RETREAT artist residency and Art Mamas Alliance. UPAW launched in 2020 with just 23 participants and has expanded to over 145 this year, welcoming thousands of visitors to the region. The participants are comprised of local arts organizations, galleries, museums, residencies and creative projects, mixed with temporary exhibitions and events staged especially for UPAW.

These regional Art Centers, Artist Residencies, and White cube galleries in barns and in small towns are strange bedfellows indeed… so let’s kick back and enjoy and not try to be too critical. Some of the more known Hudson Valley’s art destinations, include’s Storm King, Dia Center for the Arts, Magazzino, Bard College’s Hessel Museum and Jack Shainman’s The School.

Never has a gallery map been so necessary – as each site might involve a 30 to 60-minute drive to the next exhibition. So here is the map. 

We will have a Part 2 (Deep Dive) into more obscure spaces and temporary projects at UPAW- but here are some of the major attractions.

At the top of the list is Dia Art Foundation– featuring long-term installations of Louise Bourgeois, Larry Bell, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Robert Irwin, Imi Knoebel, Louise Lawler, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and … along with a newSteve McQueen exhibition. 

Imi Knoebel‘s installation Raum 19 (Room 19), 1968. © Imi Knoebel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York

Important stops include Maggazino Italian Art- the nonprofit museum and research center is dedicated to advancing scholarship and public appreciation of postwar and contemporary Italian art in the United States. Magazzino serves as an advocate for Italian artists as it celebrates the range of their creative practices from Arte Povera to the present. Through its curatorial, scholarly, and public initiatives, Magazzino Italian Art explores the impact and enduring resonances of Italian art on a global level.

Current solo shows include Carlo Scarpa, Mario Schifano, Ettore Spalletti, and the Arte Povera collection. 

Magazino Italian Art

CCS Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson (NY) which includes the Hessel Museum of Art and the CCS Bard Galleries. The Hessel will feature a Carrie Mae Weems exhibition opening June 22nd and CCS Bard Galleries features a curated group show with the unfortunately clever curatorial approach to naming exhibitions after song titles… “START MAKING SENSE”. The exhibit does not aim to make major art historical claims; it’s a starting point, a roadmap or reference point, a research project, looking for links across different mediums through the archival documents and publications that evoke the 80s era.

Featuring works by over 60 artists including: John Baldessari, BANK, Matthew Barney, Ross Bleckner, Jonathan Clemente, Mark Dion, Tracey Emin, Urs Fischer, Eric Fischl, Andrea Fraser, General Idea, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Guerrilla Girls, David Hammons, Lyle Ashton Harris, Damien Hirst, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Glenn Ligon, Sarah Lucas, Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie, Charles Ray, Tim Rollins & K.O.S., Cindy Sherman, Thomas Struth, Kara Walker, Franz West, Rachel Whiteread, and Christopher Wool among others.

Of the NY gallery transplants Jack Shainman’s The School- has garnered the most press and accolades. It is a 30,000-square-foot former high school in Kinderhook, NY. It was founded in 2013 with the mission of presenting ambitious, large-scale exhibitions that shed new light on artists working both within and outside of Jack Shainman Gallery’s program. Its curatorial vision is guided by a desire for creative exploration and cultural exchange, offering a unique platform to examine everything from the entire breadth of a single artist’s career to the oftentimes unexpected cross-pollination that exists between artists working across media, disciplines, and regions. 

This summer The School presents a solo exhibition of Nina Chanel Abney’s paintings capture the frenetic pace of contemporary culture. Broaching subjects as diverse as race, celebrity, religion, politics, sex, and art history, her works eschew linear storytelling in lieu of disjointed narratives. 

Jack Shainman’s The School in Kinderhook, NY

Alexander Gray Associates is located in the Hudson Valley village of Germantown, NY. The exhibition program presents four exhibitions each year, featuring artists represented by the gallery. This exhibition space serves as a destination for locals and visitors, and is located on the garden level of a former mechanic’s garage built in the 1920s. The space is domestically scaled, fostering an intimate experience with artworks. It features a remarkable cast-iron barrel-coved ceiling, concrete floors, entered through a garden shaded by one of the Village’s oldest maple trees. Opened in May 2019, the Gallery’s Germantown location emphasizes focused contemplation with a year-round exhibition program showcasing Gallery artists and special projects.

Gray has organized several solo exhibitions of artists such as Bethany Collins, Luis Camnitzer and Teresa Burga. This summer they present a group show entitled “Groundswell” from June 28–August 31, 2024.

Alexander Gray Associates in Germantown, NY

Bill Arning Exhibitions (BAE) was founded in 2019 by curator Bill Arning following a career that spanned four decades in the nonprofit art worlds of Cambridge, New York, and Houston. First conceived as a radical nomadic curatorial project that would mount exhibitions in a variety of international gallery, museum, and alternative art spaces, the current incarnation of BAE resulted from the pandemic travel restrictions of early 2020 and opened first in Houston before relocating to the Hudson Valley.

Bill Arning Exhibitions opened in New York’s Hudson Valley. The old storefront in Kinderhook has a distinctly different feeling as its primary audience includes former NYC art-scene folks who adopted a post-pandemic rural lifestyle and weekend visitors from the city—resulting in a unique interaction between culture and the natural environment. Built in 1812, the modest building and its gallery space is conducive to a quiet and contemplative experience with stunning natural vistas everywhere. 

Some new offerings is The Campus a collaborative space by NY galleries- Bortolami, James Cohan, kaufmann repetto, Anton Kern, Andrew Kreps, & kurimanzutto.

The inaugural ‘Campus’ exhibition at their new shared space in Claverack, NY. Embraces a collaborative model,showcasing artists from all 6 galleries which have turned an abandoned former school building into a platform for dynamic cultural exchange from June 29 through October 31, 2024.

The Campus in Claverack, NY.

Vacant since the ‘90s, the 78,000-sq. ft building of the Ockawamick School, built in 1951 and largely unrenovated, has been ripe for reanimation. Colorfully-painted classrooms, mid-century architectural details, and generous natural lighting create a compelling context for artists to engage with the space, the original purpose of the structure, and one another.

A full laundry list of established artists and emerging including : Ricci Albenda, Leonor Antunes, Nairy Baghramian, Andrea Bowers, Cecily Brown, Daniel Buren, Tom Burr, Miguel Calderón, Brian Calvin, Gianni Caravaggio, Talia Chetrit, Anne Collier, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Thea Djordjadze, Nathalie du Pasquier, Shannon Ebner, Roe Ethridge, John Giorno, Renée Green, Petrit Halilaj, Anthea Hamilton, Rachel Harrison, EJenny Holzer, Sanya Kantarovsky, Barbara Kasten, Annette Kelm, Caitlin Keogh, Jutta Koether, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Gabriel Kuri, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Long, Goshka Macuga, Chris Martin, Josiah McElheny, Dianna Molzan, Rebecca Morris, Oscar Murillo, Gabriel Orozco, Virginia Overton, Philip Pearlstein, Manfred Pernice, Lara Schnitger, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Yinka Shonibare CBE, David Shrigley, Diane Simpson, Michael E. Smith, Joan Snyder, Cheyney Thompson, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Fred Tomaselli, Lily van der Stokker, Bill Viola, Pae White, Haegue Yang, and XU ZHEN®.

Part 2 coming soon…