Just a year ago, all socializing was plagued by a sense of tension and restraint. A peculiar and off-putting air of emotional distance accompanied the social distance mandated by health agencies. Gatherings were safest outdoors, and we were forced to accessorize with masks—a constant reminder of the bleak state of the world.
A year later, in-person events have fully resumed and we cautiously lower our masks to reveal hopeful smiles. With the financial gauntlet that the pandemic thrust upon small businesses, it seems a pretty reliable indicator of our creeping return toward normalcy that new places have begun to open up. Here in the Hudson Valley, a handful of galleries have opened in the past year, adding to the curatorial shaping the region going forward.
Fridman Gallery | Beacon
In 2013, Iliya Fridman founded the Fridman Gallery on the Lower East Side, bringing together contemporary artists working across a wide range of disciplines. Feeling the space constraints of his Manhattan gallery, in May, Fridman opened a second location on Main Street, Beacon, further enriching the small city’s already-vibrant arts scene. Working in mediums from painting and sculpture to video and sound art, the gallery’s artists are diverse in both cultural background and personal style. Fridman aspires to curate shows that include emerging artists as well as established mid-career artists. This year’s program consists of five solo and five group shows, a performance series, and the inaugural writer-curator residency.
Recently, the gallery unveiled their second exhibition, “Time Lapse,” which will be on view until August 16. The group exhibition focuses its attention on memory as a parallel dimension in which artists challenge traditional perceptions of temporal and physical space, reflected in artworks that reimagines the relationship among different materials, beings, and environments. The gallery is open Thursday through Monday, 11am through 6pm.
Shakespeare's Fulcrum | Hudson
Actual Art pioneer Tery Fugate-Wilcox first opened his transient gallery space, Shakespeare’s Fulcrum, beneath the famous Guggenheim Museum in 1993. In April 2021, the concept reemerged on Hudson’s Warren Street. Deemed a performance, art, and culture space, the new five-year popup gallery highlights the collaborative and evolving nature of art showcasing new artists. The 2,800-square-foot gallery is curated by its participants, inviting cross-pollination and fostering an environment in which artists of various backgrounds align their aspirations. Through a collaboration with The Hudson Culture Coalition, Shakespeare’s Fulcrum will also be raising money to preserve historic Hudson and promote the importance of culture in the greater area.
Recently, the gallery called for submissions that speak to the idea of the "New Divine Feminine," in which Venus exists as a symbol of intersectional depictions of femininity. Accepted submissions have been on display since the beginning of May and feature an extensive range of artistic mediums.
Foreland | Catskill
On the bank of Catskill Creek lies a vast, 85,000-square-foot art campus known as Foreland. Throughout the Civil War, the Foreland mill buildings manufactured uniforms for Union Soldiers. Although the buildings remained lifeless for over a century following the war, they were recently transformed into spaces where contemporary artists could work and ultimately share their creations with the public. Founder Stef Halmos, who works primarily in sculpture and photography, was discouraged by New York City’s lack of affordable workspaces, inspiring her journey to find/create/revive a collaborative and accessible space where art can spring to life.
On longer term view: a 2018 sculpture by Virginia Overton, Untitled (Cardinal C-80), will be on display from August 1-November 1. Rachel Uffner Gallery and Mrs. will collaboratively curate an onsite exhibit, slated to run from August 14-September 12, that brings in themes of materiality and texture, gesture and abstraction, bold and distinctive color, inspired by the setting. As part of Upstate Art Weekend, from August 28-29, the space will host “NADA x Foreland,” an exhibition of work from artists, galleries, and nonprofits in the New Art Dealers Alliance. All exhibitions involve innovative use of the Foreland buildings, which have gorgeous mountaintop and waterfront views. It’s no surprise that the campus hosts events ranging from conferences to art shows to weddings, all of which are bound to increase in popularity as we approach a semblance of long-awaited normalcy.
Studio 89 Gallery | Highland
With a vision to connect art and the larger community, Studio 89 triples as a gallery, shop, and artist-run workspace. Located in Highland, the setting encourages collaboration amongst creative individuals, providing a dynamic environment in which artists can socialize and present their works. The compact, intimate space seeks to provide creative community members with a place to gather and turn mere ideas to art, which appears to attract college students and recent graduates in particular.
Through July 31, Studio 89 is presenting the exceptional work of up-and-coming artist Graham Martini, a recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. Much of his art focuses on the limitations of language and theory in dissecting complex ideas, including religion and spirituality. His solo show, “Synapses,” contains small to mid-sized drawings and paintings he completed in school, noted for their evocative and surreal qualities.
Geary | Millerton
Founded in 2013 on the Lower East Side, Geary displays the works of budding and mid-career artists. The Millerton location was unveiled last summer as an upstate extension of the Manhattan space. Currently on view through July 25, “The Burning Kite” exhibit takes its name and curatorial queue from the poignant Ouyang Jianghe poem.
The two-location group show, whose upstate incarnation features Scott Alario, Eve Biddle, Olivier Catté, Lisa Corinne Davis, Catherine Haggarty, Christopher Saunders, and Ping Zheng, explores art as a form of escapism and consider our struggle to dismiss the grief and darkness surrounding. The exhibit, which features paintings and sculptures, is fitting for our world’s current tumultuous emotional climate—one simultaneously ridden with disillusionment and hope.
Art Sales & Research Inc. | Clinton Corners
Art Sales & Research doubles as a gallery and consultancy, specializing in the research and sales of high-end, privately owned art. Located in an eccentric 200-year-old barn space in Dutchess County, the Hudson Valley gallery features Post-War, Contemporary, and Outsider artists.
Lindsey Brown, an artist with over two decades of experience, is President of Art Sales & Research Inc., and is responsible for transforming a deteriorating, 200-year-old space into one that inspires creativity and thoughtful art curation. Shows in 2020 displayed selected works from the spectacular New York City-based artists Marilyn Gold and Manuel Pardo. The gallery at Art Sales & Research is currently open by appointment only.
Unison 9 | New Paltz
Thanks to the generosity of Daniel Getman and Janice Pickering, Unison Arts Center was able to open a brand new, multi-use building in New Paltz that acts as a satellite gallery to the main campus on Mountain Rest Road. Unison 9 emphasizes the importance of sustainability alongside community arts, with studio spaces up for rent at weekly and monthly rates. The building was constructed in 1776 and now consists of multiple floors and rooms available as rentals for innovative artists and passionate educators.
Additionally, Unison 9 flaunts an outdoor space that will eventually feature an educational garden and provide a lovely environment for performances and meetings. The spacious location also includes a detached, roomy garage that is to be utilized as two separate art studios. The group show “Traces of Light” is on display through August 25.
Surface Library Gallery | Ancram
Upon purchasing the historic c.1873 General Store in 2017 as a live/work space, abstract geometric painter James Kennedy and ceramicist Bob Bachler relocated from East Hampton to Ancram. A few weeks ago, they debuted the Surface Library Gallery with a grand opening.
The physical interior of the General Store sets Surface Library Gallery apart from other galleries, furnished with 19th-century furniture and century-old electrical fixtures, supplying an unusual yet intriguing studio space for artists. In addition, Kennedy and Bachler recently renovated the Vongal House and Barn, in close proximity to the General Store, offering yet another opportunity for artists to utilize a beautiful space and showcase their talent. Through the end of the year, the gallery is hosting an exhibition of Kennedy and Bachler’s paintings and ceramics.
West Strand Gallery, Kingston
Located on Kingston’s waterfront, West Strand Gallery, founded by artists and spouses Isabel Alvarez and Julio Nazario, will feature group and solo exhibitions arranged by various guest curators as well as an annual show. Exhibits will span art mediums, including painting, photography, installations, and video. The two hope to promote art-making and amplify the community’s exposure to unknown and blossoming creators in the city. With their backgrounds in academia and visual arts, Alvarez and Nazario shared a vision of opening an art gallery for years and have regularly visited Kingston since the ’80s.
“Abstractions in Space & Time” will remain on display through August 14. Featuring five women abstract artists, the exhibition explores multifaceted topics including the passage of time, African fertility beliefs, and the disintegration of technology, while fulfilling Alvarez and Nazario’s goal of creating an inclusive space that represents diverse identities in the art world.
This summer in Kingston, curators Anna Gray, Franklin Parrasch, and Carolyn Ramo present a brand new pop-up gallery, Airfield, inspired by land art pioneer Robert Smithson’s theory of nonsite. A nonsite challenges traditional perceptions of space by placing an abstract and contained representation of a site that exists elsewhere within another confined location. It suggests the idea of metaphorical travel, as viewers of the nonsite may experience some semblance of a “fictitious trip” while viewing the artwork.
Aspiring to promote creative discourse, Airfield consists of an indoor and outdoor gallery that are in dialogue with one another. The outside site is where artists envision and create their work, and the formal indoor gallery displays the artists’ final product, so viewers have the opportunity to witness both the creation process and the result. The first exhibition opened on June 6 and featured ceramics by Hudson Valley artists Francesca Di Matteo, Sam Falls, Jennie Jieun Lee, Dan McCarthy, Sally Saul. Work by artists Jashiya Oliver, Claude Lawrence, and Forrest Kirk are on view in the second exhibition, which runs through July 18. The pop-up gallery at 26 Downs Street is open to the public on weekends from 12pm to 5pm and during the week by appointment.
Mott Projects | Catskill
New York contemporary artist Erik Sommer started Mott Projects as a way to promote other creatives, conducting interviews with the artists and sharing them online. At the beginning of October, Sommer fulfilled his desire to open a physical location for Mott Projects, occupying an old barn off of Catskill’s Main Street. He wants to show work that is more eclectic and challenging for viewers, providing a space for artists to experiment with their creations. The gallery’s debut exhibition, “HARVEST,” is on display until October 24. Featuring work from Sommer and three other domestic and international artists, the group exhibit includes both painting and sculpture in bold colors to demonstrate each artists’ interpretation of gathering their work after intense periods of cultivation/creation. The gallery is open Thursday through Sunday, 12-4pm, by appointment only. Schedule an appointment by email: [email protected].
The KuBe | Beacon
Housed in a repurposed school building turned into an art center, the KuBe (short for Kunsthalle Beacon) is dedicated to supporting local and global emerging artists and uplift their work through exhibits, residency programs, and studio space. Founded by gallerist Ethan Cohen, the KuBe encompasses the Beacon location of Ethan Cohen Gallery, experimental art spaces, 48 artists' studios, commercial office spaces, the Turbine special projects room, a theater, and an art center. Upcoming exhibits at the gallery include “Doors of Perception: New Approaches to Realism,” which features work from 29 contemporary artists that focuses on their perception of the world. The exhibit showcases work in photography, brush-and-ink landscapes, self-portraiture and more mediums, and is on display until December 15. Also on exhibit is “Some Things Never Grow Back,” a solo show by Raul De Lara on display in the KuBe’s Glass House until October 30. It features six hand-carved wooden sculptures reflecting on the lives of undocumented people in the United States. Gallery visits are appointment only, and can be scheduled online.