The existence of the Hudson River is what makes this region what it is: overwhelmingly beautiful, and nourished with creativity and culture. What have rivers wrought in other times and places? This year, the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers steps back to take a panoramic shot, celebrating its new West Wing Galleries with “Rivers Flow / Artists Connect,” in which more than 50 exceptional American artists of the past two centuries—including Maya Lin, Alexis Rockman, William Villalongo, Jasper Cropsey, and Scherezade Garcia—illustrate the pivotal role rivers play in defining the zeitgeist of the communities they nurture.
Just stepping into the West Wing Galleries, which opened in June of last year with over 3,000 square feet of exhibition space set among mind-blowing, heart-lifting views of the river and the Palisades beyond, will spark deep contemplation of a mighty river’s role. Co-curated by Laura Vookles, chair of the museum’s curatorial department and guest curator Jennifer McGregor, the works displayed will bring guests into communion with a wide variety of perspectives and heritages expressed in paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and video both realistic and symbolic, inspired by rivers from the Hudson and the Susquehanna to the Indus and the Seine.
The exhibition is organized into three sections: Allure of the River, focused on their magnetism and beauty; Sustainer of Life, focused on the river’s central role in human survival both physical and spiritual; and Endangered Rivers: A Call to Action, which is transparently intended to make allies and water protectors of all visitors with reflections on urbanization, industry, and the critical need for continued conservation and activism.
In addition to the exhibition, the Hudson River Museum’s 23-acre campus, founded in 1919, is a world worth visiting all its own. Guests can soak up the decorative arts in a c.1877 mansion featured in HBO’s The Gilded Age and marvel at the skies in a state-of-the-art planetarium. There’s a permanent collection that ranges from the 19th century romance of the Hudson River School to cutting-edge contemporary. Named one of the state’s most unusual cultural facilities all the way back in 1972, its stewards have continued to lean into diversity ever since with widely acclaimed results.
“Rivers Flow / Artists Connect” will be on view from February 2 through September 1. The museum is open Wednesday-Friday 12–5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am–5pm, and with free admission 5-8pm on the first Friday of each month. The HRM is a five-minute walk from the Glenwood Metro North station, and the museum has partnered with the transit company to offer discounted combos on fares and admission. For more information, visit Hrm.org.