Up the Hill: Byrdcliffe Artists 2015 showcases contemporary artists of all disciplines living at the Byrdcliffe Art Colony
The Kleinert/James Center for the Arts of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild presents Up the Hill: Byrdcliffe Artists 2015, opening October 23, 2015. The exhibition showcases the depth and creative diversity of the visual artists, writers, musicians, performers, and more who live in the year-round and seasonal cottages at the historic Byrdcliffe Art Colony in Woodstock, NY. Up the Hill highlights the role Byrdcliffe has had, since the turn of the twentieth century, in making Woodstock one of the United States’ most tightly knit artists’ communities.
Byrdcliffe was established by Ralph and Jane Whitehead as an Arts and Crafts colony in 1902, guided by utopian principles of how a simple, socially balanced lifestyle can inspire artistic production. Equally important to the colony was John Ruskin’s belief in a direct link between creativity and a mountainous location, which he proposed encourages “the poetical and inventive faculties.” At 2,000 feet, Mount Guardian, where Byrdcliffe is situated, met Whitehead’s required minimum 1500-foot elevation for the location of his colony. Byrdcliffe is today distinguished as the second-longest continuously operating arts colony in the U.S.
Between its early days and the present activities of the colony, Byrdcliffe has lived up to both the Whiteheads’ and Ruskin’s concepts of the relationship between geographic setting and creative energy. The artists in Up the Hill: Byrdcliffe Artists 2015 live in the 17 historic artist cottages, each unique, in the woods at the base of Mount Guardian. The participants are Ben Carney, Viv Corringham, Melanie Delgado, Marc Delgado, Maya Erdelyi, Auguste Garufi, Jessica Goico, Elissa Gore, Robert Lucy, Christine Noschese, Alicia Peck, Gilbane Peck, Betsey Regan, Simi Stone, Matthew Ward, Chris Wells, Morgan Yakus, and Alexander Yerks. A diverse range of media will be on view: painting, performance, sound art, animation, film, collage, ceramics, installation art, wood carving, fiber arts, photography, and even culinary art. Up the Hill opens to the public on October 23; a wine and cheese reception will be held on October 24 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the Kleinert/James.
Also on October 24, starting at 8:00 pm, the Kleinert/James will host an evening of performance by some of its residents. Simi Stone, Woodstock’s “Mountain Motown” sensation whose first album was released this year by Reveal Records, will fill the gallery with her combination of soul and folk. Comedian Ben Carney will present a stand-up act based on his larger work, Everybody Dies! Fashion-designer / hypnotic artist Morgan Yakus and Jon Shapiro of Data Garden will take observers on a tactile journey into their minds, using a new device called MIDI Sprout which converts bio metrics of living organisms—in this case, members of the audience—into music. Gil Peck, a visual artist who works in a seemingly endless variety of media, is an equally versatile musician and will perform a few songs.
Also during the run of Up the Hill, a special preview screening of Christine Noschese’s film, Brooklyn Roses, will be held on November 20. Filmed over 20 years with the same actors playing the same characters and interweaving fictional and documentary footage, Brooklyn Roses is a semi-autobiographical story of a young girl growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s in an Italian-American family in Brooklyn. The preview screening is free to the public and will begin at 8:00 pm at the Kleinert/James on November 20.
Up the Hill: Byrdcliffe Artists 2015, on view until November 29, is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays from 12:00 to 6:00 pm. The exhibition is curated by Jeremy Adams, Meredith Morabito, and Derin Tanyol.