A Sense of Place:
Artists from the Woodstock Masters Series
Saturday, August 13, 2022
An exhibition of works by eminent regional artists who participated in the virtual Byrdcliffe Forum “Woodstock Masters” Series. Prior to the opening of the exhibition, a discussion in the gallery with exhibiting artists Nancy Azara, Jenne Currie, Yale Epstein, Heather Hutchison, Portia Munson, and  Hongnian Zhang; moderated by exhibition curator and Byrdcliffe Forum chair, Douglas I. Sheer.

Tessa Hughes-Freeland: Instruments of Light

Saturday, June 18, 2022

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Prior to the opening of the exhibition, a discussion in the gallery with solo show artist Tessa Hughes-Freeland and art critic/curator Carlo McCormick.

Tessa Hughes-Freeland has been working with film for many years and is considered a member of The Cinema of Transgression movement.  Her films have screened internationally in museums, galleries and seedy bars, including MOMA, MOCA, The Whitney, The New Museum, and KW Institute for Contemporary Art.  She has recently presented gallery installations in New York and Scandinavia. She has curated extensively, been a juror for numerous festivals, and President of the Board of Directors for New York Film-makers Co-operative for several years.




The New Photographic Landscape

May 19, 2022 

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A panel of local experts considers how COVID and its aftermath are impacting photographic practices, photo education, exhibition and the digital future of the discipline. Organized and moderated by critic and author A. D. Coleman with panelists including Zachary Bowman, Manager of Education and Visitor Experience, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, Hannah Frieser, former Executive Director of the Center for Photography at Woodstock, and Douglas I. Sheer, artist, writer, and archivist.




2022 Members’ Show Artist Talk
Another Circle: around every circle another can be drawn

February 24, 2022

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A panel moderated by Ursula Morgan, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Exhibitions Director, and featuring artists in the current members’ show sharing some thoughts about their work on view.




Hudson Valley Abstractionists
February 17, 2022

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A panel Moderated by Doug Sheer and featuring painters Melanie Delgado, Harriet Livathinos, Anne Sanger, and Roberta Sickler discussing their abstract works and many influences.







Forest Bathing Artist Panel
January 20, 2022

Curated by Jen Dragon, the exhibition Forest Bathing features artwork by Ashley Garrett, Anne Leith, Iain Machell, John Lyon Paul, Christy Rupp, and Martin Weinstein. All six artists independently use the woodlands of upstate New York as a touchstone for very different contemporary styles of painting and sculpture. Moderated by Sara Lynn Henry, a discussion among the exhibiting artists’ on the inspiration of woodlands in their work.




Woodstock Masters: Jenne M. Currie Artist Talk

November 11, 2021

The Byrdcliffe Forum presents artist Jenne M. Currie showing and discussing her work, interviewed by Sylvia Leonard Wolf, Fine Art Appraiser and Consultant, as part of our “Woodstock Masters” series. The talk covered the various periods of Jenne M. Currie’s artistic career, which includes painting, wall sculptures, welded steel, bronze casting, mixed media, and collage. Currie also shared a bit about her family – her mother, father, aunt, and uncle; all accomplished artists.


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Artwork (left to right): Jenne M. Currie, Twilight, acrylic on wood, 40 x 32 in., The Conversation, Welded Steel, 38 x 29 x 12 in., courtesy the artist.


Bob Lang, Craftsman “Shop Drawings for Byrdcliffe Furniture”
with Henry T. Ford, Byrdcliffe Historian and Director Emeritus
August 12, 2021

Utilizing their knowledge of design and history, Robert Lang and Henry T. Ford, Byrdcliffe Historian and Director Emeritus, discuss this recent publication which showcases the process and background used to recreate some of the iconic pieces of furniture that Byrdcliffe was originally known for during the American Arts & Crafts period of the early twentieth century. These kindred spirits look forward to sharing their admiration of the history of the Whiteheads and aesthetics of these unique pieces of art and form.

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Byrdcliffe Forum presents an “Artists Estates” Panel
July 8, 2021

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Arthur Anderson, John B. Koegel, Sylvia Leonard Wolf,
Magda Salvesen, Douglas I. Sheer

Douglas I. Sheer, an artist, writer and arts administrator moderates a panel discussion on the issues surrounding the planning and implementing of artists’ estates.

The four panelists joining Sheer include: Magda Salvesen, estate planner and author of “Artists’ Estates: Reputations in Trust,” John Koegel, art law attorney and member of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild board, Arthur A. Anderson, collector and philanthropist and member of the Byrdcliffe board and Sylvia Leonard Wolf, fine art appraiser and member of the Byrdcliffe board. Sheer leads the Byrdcliffe Forum committee and is Chairman Emeritus of Artists’ Talk on Art, the art world’s longest running aesthetic forum. He also serves on the Byrdcliffe programming and exhibit committees and also the education and public engagement committee of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.

With the post-war ‘boomer’ generation aging, many artists and their families are growing concerned with what to do with a lifetime of art when they pass. This panel will delve into a number of the key issues pertinent to planning and preserving an artist’s estate, legal matters unique to artists estates and art, organizing and databasing the works, contacting institutions and valuing art estates from a tax basis, insurance and sales perspective.

If you are an artist, an artist’s family member or an executor or trustee, this panel is for you.

Judith Kerman, “Definitions” in conversation with Eleanor Lehrman
Thursday, June 17, 2021

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Judith Kerman’s new book, Definitions, was published by Fomite Press in May 2021. She has published ten prior collections of poetry, most recently Aleph, broken: Poems from My Diaspora (Broadstone Books, 2016), as well as three books of translations of Cuban and Dominican women’s poetry and fiction. She was a Fulbright Scholar in the Dominican Republic in 2002. A retired university professor and administrator, she founded Earth’s Daughters magazine in Buffalo, NY (1971 to present) and runs Mayapple Press, located in Woodstock, NY.

Eleanor Lerman is the author of numerous award-winning collections of poetry, short stories and novels. She is a National Book Award finalist, recipient of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her novel, Radiomen (The Permanent Press), was awarded the 2016 John W. Campbell Prize for the Best Book of Science Fiction. In 2019, her novel, Satellite Street (The Permanent Press) was a finalist for both the Montaigne Medal and the Eric Hoffer Award. Her most recent novel, Watkins Glen, was published by Mayapple Press in June 2021.


Woodstock Masters: Portia Munson
Byrdcliffe Forum artist talk with Portia Munson
Thursday, May 13, 2021

Portia Munson is a visual artist, Feminist, and Environmentalist living in the Catskills of New York. She will be discussing her diverse artwork and recent exhibition featuring her current installation “Memento Mori Mandalas,” currently showcased at the Olana State Historic Site.

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Portia Munson is a visual artist working in a range of media including, installation, sculpture, painting, drawing, video and photography, focusing primarily on cultural and environmental themes seen from a feminist perspective.

Recent solo exhibitions include The Garden at Meridians /Art Basel, Miami Beach, FL; Pink Projects at Rockefeller Center, NYC; The Garden at PPOW Gallery, NYC; Her Room/ Her World at Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA; Flood at Disjecta, Portland, OR; and Color Forms at Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA.

Over the course of her twenty-five-year career, her work has been included in dozens of exhibitions in the US and Europe, some recent exhibitions include Cross Pollination at Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, NY; Invitational Exhibition, American Academy of Arts and Letters, NYC; The Super Natural, 21C Museum Hotel, Nashville, TN: Dime-Store Alchemy at The Flag Art Foundation, NYC; and Beyond Boundaries: Feminine Forms at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

Some of her public works include; Art in the Terminal at the Albany Airport, Albany NY; MTA Arts for Transit installation at Bryant Park MTA Station, NYC; and a permanent Metropolitan Transit Authority installation in Brooklyn New York.
Munson has a BFA from Cooper Union (1983), and an MFA from Mason Gross School of Art (1990), Rutgers University. She attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1987) and has been awarded residencies at institutions including Civitella Ranieri (Umbertide Italy); MacDowell Colony for the Arts (Peterborough, NH); Fine Arts Work Center (Provincetown, MA); and Yaddo (Saratoga Springs, NY).

Munson has taught at School of Visual Arts, New York University, Yale School of Art, Vassar College and SUNY Purchase.

Munson was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2019.
She lives and works in Catskill, NY and is represented by PPOW Gallery in NYC.


Byrdcliffe Forum: Author Talk with Gretchen Primack
Thursday, April 22, 2021

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Gretchen Primack is a poet, educator, and indie bookseller living in New York’s Hudson Valley. She has taught and/or administrated with prison education programs (mostly college) since 2006.

She’s the author of three poetry collections: Kind (Lantern Publishing), which explores the dynamic between humans and other animals in our time and place; Visiting Days (Willow Books), which imagines a maximum-security men’s NYS prison like the ones where she’s taught; and Doris’ Red Spaces (Mayapple Press), a more personal collection; along with a chapbook, The Slow Creaking of Planets (Finishing Line). She co-wrote The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals with Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary co-founder Jenny Brown (Penguin Avery).
Her poetry publication credits include The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, FIELD, Poet Lore, The Massachusetts Review, The Antioch Review, New Orleans Review, Rhino, Tampa Review, and many others journals and anthologies.

She’s also worked at the renowned indie bookstore The Golden Notebook for many years.

Gretchen is a passionate advocate for the rights and welfare of non-human animals and lives with several of them, along with a beloved human named Gus.


Nickole Brown received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. She is the author of several books: Sister, a novel-in-poems (Sibling Rivalry Press); Fanny Says, a biography-in-poems (BOA Editions); To Those Who Were Our First Gods (winner, Rattle Chapbook Competition); and Donkey Elegies (Sibling Rivalry). She taught at University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is now editor of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series and teaches at the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program, the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNCA, and the Hindman Settlement School, among other places. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC, where she volunteers at three animal sanctuaries.


Woodstock Masters: Joan Snyder
Byrdcliffe Forum artist talk with Joan Snyder interviewed by Franklin Parrasch
Thursday, April 8, 2021

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Rose & Vine, 2018, oil, acrylic, cloth, burlap, herbs, rosebuds, paper, ink, pastel on linen, 32 x 128 inches, Photo by Dawn Blackman

Photo of Joan Snyder in her Woodstock Studio, Photo by Maggie Cammer

Joan Snyder will be interviewed by gallerist Franklin Parrasch on Zoom. A brief Q&A with the audience will conclude the approximately 50-minute talk. The event will continue the Woodstock Masters series of artist interviews that, along with author talks and panel discussions, fall under the collective title Byrdcliffe Forum.

Born April 16, 1940, in Highland Park, NJ, Joan Snyder received her A.B. from Douglass College in 1962, and M.F.A. Rutgers University in 1966. Snyder is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1974, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1983, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007.

Joan Snyder first gained public attention in the early 1970s with her gestural and elegant “stroke paintings”, which used the grid to deconstruct and retell the story of abstract painting. By the late 70s Snyder, abandoning the formality of the grid, began to more explicitly incorporate symbols and text, as the paintings took on a more complex materiality. Often referred to as an autobiographical or confessional artist, her paintings are narratives of personal and communal experiences. Through a fiercely individual approach and persistent experimentation with technique and materials, Snyder has extended the expressive potential of abstract painting and inspired generations of emerging artists.

Recent shows: The Summer Becomes a Room, 2020, CANADA Gallery, NYC; Rosebuds & Rivers, 2019, Blain/Southern, London; Epic Abstraction, ongoing, Metropolitan Museum, NYC.

Public collections: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, The Jewish Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, High Museum of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, The Phillips Collection, Harvard Museums and Tate Modern, London recently acquired her seminal work Dark Strokes Hope from 1971.

Snyder currently lives and works in Brooklyn and Woodstock, NY


Art dealer and gallerist Franklin Parrasch founded his eponymous gallery, now located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in 1986 in Washington D.C. He has curated and hosted many solo and thematic exhibitions over the 35 year history of the gallery including an award-winning exhibition of Lynda Benglis’ work in 2002; critically acclaimed shows of works by Ken Price and Kathy Butterly; and numerous group exhibitions examining works by artists associated with the West Coast “Finish Fetish” and “Light and Space” movements, amongst others.

Parrasch and his gallery have worked with Joan Snyder, the preeminent abstract, Feminist painter with whom he will be speaking today, since 2012, hosting solo exhibition Sub Rosa in 2013 (catalogue), and group exhibitions Forrest Bess | Joan Snyder in 2017 and Mulberry & Canal: Joan Snyder, Keith Sonnier, and Jackie Winsor in 2019.

In 2016, with partner Christopher Heijnen, Franklin founded Parrasch Heijnen gallery in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles; Parrasch Heijnen hosted Snyder’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles later that year. In 2019, along with fellow New York City-based art dealer Nicelle Beauchene, Franklin founded Parts & Labor Beacon.

Photo of Joan Snyder and Franklin Parrasch

Being Ram Dass
Rameshwar Das in conversation with Mirabai Bush
Opening Incantation by Shyma Chapin
Thursday, March 11, 2021 6:00 pm ET

This event not only features TWO amazing authors, but will also include a Kirtan incantation at the beginning!

Watch a video of the talk on YouTube

Perhaps no other teacher has sparked the fires of as many spiritual seekers in the West as Ram Dass. If you’ve ever embraced the phrase “be here now,” practiced meditation or yoga, tried psychedelics, or supported anyone in a hospice, prison, or homeless center—then the story of Ram Dass is also part of your story.

From his birth in 1931 to his luminous later years, Ram Dass saw his life as just one incarnation of many. This memoir puts us in the passenger seat with the one-time Harvard psychologist and lifelong risk-taker Richard Alpert, who loved to take friends on wild rides on his Harley and test nearly every boundary—inner or outer—that came his way.

Here, Ram Dass shares his life’s odyssey in intimate detail: how he struggled with issues of self-identity and sexuality in his youth, pioneered psychedelic research, and opened the doorways to Eastern spiritual practices. In 1967 he trekked to India and met his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. He returned as a yogi and psychologist whose perspective changed millions.

Populated by a cast of luminaries ranging from Timothy Leary to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Allen Ginsberg to Sharon Salzberg, Aldous Huxley to Alan Watts—this intimate memoir chronicles Ram Dass’s experience of the cultural and spiritual transformations that resonate with us to this day, a journey from the mind to the heart, from the ego to the soul.



Rameshwar Das is a writer, photographer, and coauthor of several Ram Dass books including, Be Love Now, Polishing the Mirror, and Being Ram Dass.

Mirabai Bush teaches contemplative practices and develops programs through the application of contemplative principles and values to organizational life. Her work with individuals and organizations includes entrepreneurial project management, compassionate staff-board relations, organizational leadership, public relations, communication, networking, and strategic relationship building all through the lens of contemplative practice in action.

Her spiritual studies include two years in India with Hindu teacher Neemkaroli Baba; meditation in monasteries with Buddhist teachers Shri S.N. Goenka, Anagarika Munindra, and IMS guiding teachers; and studies with Pir Vilayat Khan and Tibetan Buddhist lamas Kalu Rinpoche, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Gelek Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and others; and five years of intensive practice in Iyengar yoga and five years of Aikido under Kanai Sensei.

Shyama Chapin. “Although I’ve been singing one way or another throughout my life so far, these days I love most and best to chant the Sanskrit Divine Names and feel lucky and blessed to be able to center my days around this subtle, profound practice. I lead kirtan in New York City—my childhood hometown—and beyond, as well as on morning and evening live-streams since the Covid-19 lockdowns began. I’ve been singing in Krishna Das’ Posse, live and on his recordings, for many years; and am featured in response vocals on a number of other friends’ chant recordings.


Woodstock Masters: Donald Elder
Donald Elder interviewed by Douglas I. Sheer
Thursday, February 25 at 6:00 pm

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Donald Elder studied at the Art Students’ League, the New York Academy of Art, at Pratt and abroad in Italy. He was awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and worked in Paris on an extended Edward G. McDowell Grant. In galleries in New York, Luxembourg and Switzerland, Elder’s work is held in public and private collections throughout the U.S. and in Europe.

After moving from New York to Woodstock in the late 1990s, his emphasis became abstract landscape, but he continued to paint abstracts. Whether abstract or abstract landscape, his work is tactile and absorbing, both styles offering unconventional gesture, and sophisticated tensions between the hard-edged and the romantic.

Elder is profoundly influenced by nature; even his entirely abstract works take their visual cue from actual forms in nature, with phenomenon, texture, color and juxtapositions becoming abstracted and impressionistic through shifts in perspective.

He’s made Woodstock his home for decades, drawing inspiration from majestic mountains and wild forests of the Hudson Valley and the gardens he’s created around his home and studio. Elder has been represented for three decades by Elena Zang Gallery in Shady, NY.


photo by Lauren Piperno 2019

Donald Elder will be interviewed by Douglas I. Sheer, lead of the Byrdcliffe Forum committee and a member of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild Exhibition and Programming committees. Sheer is a painter and writer living in Woodstock. He co-founded Artists Talk on Art, a NYC-based aesthetic panel discussion series which he chaired from 1974 through 2019. ATOA has presented over 8,500 artists in over 1,000 panels and dialogues. He was the archivist of its archive, which became the largest taken in by Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian in 2016. He is now chairman emeritus of that series.

Nick Lyons, Fire In The Straw reading and conversation moderated by Bennet Ratcliff
Thursday, February 11 at 6:00 pm

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Fire in the Straw is the witty and deeply felt memoir of Nick Lyons, a man with an intrepid desire to reinvent himself—which he does, over and over.

Nick Lyons shape shifts from reluctant student and graduate of the Wharton School, to English Professor, to husband of a fiercely committed painter, to ghost writer, to famous fly fisherman and award-winning author, to father and then grandfather, to Executive Editor at a large book publishing company, and finally to founder and publisher of his own successful independent press.

Award-winning writer Nick Lyons has written some twenty-odd books and hundreds of essays, which have appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, National Geographic, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Big Sky Journal, The Pennsylvania Gazette, and widely elsewhere. He lives in New York City and is a longtime resident of Woodstock, New York.

Moderator Bennet Ratcliff is an angler and writer who lives in Woodstock, New York.

Woodstock Masters: Nancy Azara
Thursday, January 14 at 6:00 pm

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Nancy Azara will be interviewed by curator and art historian Sara Lynn Henry on Zoom. A brief Q&A with the audience will conclude the approximately 50-minute talk. The event will continue the Woodstock Masters series of artist interviews that, along with author talks and panel discussions, fall under the collective title Byrdcliffe Forum.

Nancy Azara is an artist and feminist educator best known for her large-scale wood sculptures and mixed media collages. Nancy developed, and continues to work in, a distinct style of sculpture – found wood, carved, ornamented and mounted. Instinctive chip carving peels off an outer layer of wood, reaching for an essentialized raw experience of the body, of the limbs, exposing flesh and blood. This work explores life cycles, utilizing the metaphor of tree for personhood. Egg tempera, often in reds and pinks, and aluminum, palladium, gold gilding recover these exposed layers, exploring folkloric stories of women’s roles, goddess imagery, ancient symbols, mystic spiritual traditions and affirmation of female self.

Nancy continues to make and exhibit work from her studios in Tribeca and Woodstock. She is constantly challenging herself and her community in quarterly intergenerational feminist dialogues, (RE)PRESENT, an outgrowth of NYFAI, The New York Feminist Art Institute, a school she co-founded in 1979. Here, she formalized automatic journal drawing for a class she taught called “Visual Diaries, Consciousness Raising Workshop” as a way to access the unconscious. This method quickly became popular as a feminist consciousness-raising technique and was embraced in the nascent feminist art community in New York and with groups like Redstockings.

Nancy holds annual workshops, teaches, and mentors other feminist artists, sustaining a unique visual, experiential and pedagogical artistic practice which remains informed by the body, nature, spirituality and her experience as a woman.

Sara Lynn Henry is an independent curator, art writer, and Emerita Professor of Art History and N.E.H. Distinguished Teaching Professor of Humanities, Emerita, Drew University. She has curated major thematic exhibitions, including Labyrinths of the Mind (2019, Kleinert, Woodstock, NY); The Animals Look Back at Us (2013, Kleinert, Woodstock, NY and the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY); I am the Cosmos (2010-11, N.J. State Museum, Trenton, NJ); Midnight Full of Stars (2008, Visual Arts Center of NJ. Summit, NJ); and As if Alive: Animate Sculpture (2000, Visual Arts Center). While at Drew she curated several one-person and collection shows, e.g. those of Joyce Scott, Lila Katsen, Hsu Dan, George Gross Prints, and the Nancy Graves Collection. Her art writing includes essays and talks on Robert Kushner, Ellen K. Levy, Millicent Young, Suejin Jo, Alice Neel, and Grace Bakst Wapner. As a scholar she has published widely on Paul Klee.

Bethany Saltman in conversation with Lisa Phillips
Monday, November 30 at 5:00 pm

Bethany Saltman will discuss her book Strange Situation: A Mother’s Journey into the Science of Attachment with author Lisa A. Phillips.

Bethany Saltman

In Strange Situation: A Mother’s Journey into the Science of Attachment, Bethany Saltman discovers that while our behavior is important, what matters most is the way we think and feel about our attachments, transmitted mind to mind from generation to generation. This is excellent news. After all, as Saltman’s decades of Zen practice tell her and her readers, the one thing completely within our power to change is our minds.

Bethany Saltman is an author, award-winning editor, and researcher. Her work can be seen in magazines like the New Yorker, New York Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Parents, Town & Country, and many others. Strange Situation: A Mother’s Journey Into the Science

Lisa A. Phillips

of Attachment (Ballantine, April 21, 2020) is her first book. Bethany also serves as a bestselling book partner and in-demand mindfulness mentor, helping writers and entrepreneurs at all stages of the creative process envision and execute their projects, including book proposals, books, content development, big ideas, messaging, and more. In 1992, Bethany graduated from Antioch College where she was one of the architects of the nation’s first Affirmative Consent Policy. She went on to receive her M.F.A in poetry from Brooklyn College in 1994, where she studied with Allen Ginsberg. A longtime Zen student, Bethany is devoted to the fine art and game-changing effects of paying attention. She lives in a small town in the Catskills with her family.

Lisa A. Phillips is the author of Unrequited: The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Romantic Obsession. Her essays and journalism on what she likes to call the “love and heartbreak beat” have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, Cosmopolitan, Salon, and other outlets. She’s working on a new book about what parents go through when their kids start having romantic relationships. She teaches journalism at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Woodstock Masters: Hongnian Zhang
Monday, November 16 at 5:00 pm

Hongnian Zhang will be interviewed by James Cox on Zoom. A brief Q&A with the audience will conclude the approximately 50-minute talk. The event will continue the Woodstock Masters series of artist interviews that, along with author talks and panel discussions, fall under the collective title Byrdcliffe Forum.

Hongnian Zhang is a Chinese American realism painter, whose works are beloved in both America and China.

His formal artistic training was at China’s highly selective Central Art Academy. Immediately afterwards, he was sent to the countryside to endure four years of hard labor as “Re-education” during the Cultural Revolution.

His art career began when he returned to Beijing in 1974 and was selected to join the Beijing Fine Art Academy. He soon became a rising star with paintings that caught the public’s attention and heart. He was a leader of the “Scar Art” movement. Three of his works were acquired by China’s National Art Museum for their permanent collection.

He moved to America in 1985. In 1986 he was in the first show introducing Chinese oil painting to the West. “Realism from China” at Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City attracted national attention.

Over the years his subject matter has expanded to include contemporary life in America, and large-scale history paintings. Several of his Chinese history paintings have been featured in National Geographic Magazine. He recently painted the mural “The Travels of Marco Polo” for China’s National Museum in Beijing.

Zhang and his wife, the artist Lois Woolley, co-wrote The Yin Yang of Painting, which presents his methods and philosophy of painting.


James Cox, photograph by Dion Ogust

James Cox met Hongnian Zhang when he was Executive Director of the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City. Cox then moved to upstate New York where he opened the James Cox Gallery in the historic art colony of Woodstock.

Cox has served on the boards of the New York Academy of Art, Grand Central Art Galleries Educational Association, and the Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York, New Paltz. He is a member of the International Association of Fine Art Appraisers; The Auctioneers Association, New York; and the International Foundation for Art Research. Cox has edited numerous art publications, including “Tonalism – An American Experience”; “Impressionism-Post Impressionism, Transformation in the Modern American Mode”; “La Femme – The Influence of Whistler and the Japanese Print Masters on American Art”, and more. He has organized over 170 exhibitions of American contemporary and historical art at the Grand Central Art Galleries, NYC; James Cox Gallery at Woodstock, NY; Phoenix Art Museum; Brooks Memorial Academy; Heckscher Museum; and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

Byrdcliffe Forum Author Talk With Mark Matousek
Monday, November 2 at 5:00 pm

Watch a video of the talk on YouTube

Please join us on Monday, November 2 at 5:00 pm for a Byrdcliffe Forum author talk with Mark Matousek interviewed by V (formerly Eve Ensler).

Mark Matousek, photo by Karen Fuchs

“It’s hard to know when you’re having a breakdown in New York City. The symptoms of living here, succeeding here, and losing your mind here are here are almost identical.” So begins Matousek’s 1996 breakout memoir about leaving a fast-track publishing life (working for pop artist Andy Warhol at Interview magazine) and hitting the dharma trail in search of a meaningful life and spiritual wisdom. Hailed by Publisher’s Weekly (starred review) as “brave, beautiful, and brilliantly observed,” Sex Death Enlightenment became an international bestseller (published in 10 countries). Like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love and Paul Monette in Borrowed Time, Matousek takes the reader on an insightful, raucous search for answers to life’s deepest questions.

About the Author
Mark Matousek is an award-winning author of seven books, a blogger for Psychology Today, and a teacher and speaker on creativity and growth using the Writing to Awaken method. He has written for The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine, Details, Tricycle, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, and The Village Voice. After working at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, Matousek spent a decade as a freelance writer and dharma bum in Europe, India, and the United States. The founder of The Seekers Forum, an online community for nonsectarian spiritual dialogue, and co-founder of V-Men, the male arm of Eve Ensler’s V-Day movement, he lives in Springs, New York.

V, photo by Paula Allen

V (formerly Eve Ensler), Tony Award winning playwright, performer, and activist, is the author of The Vagina Monologues, translated into over 48 languages, performed in over 140 countries, including sold-out runs at both Off-Broadway’s Westside Theater and on London’s West End. The play ran for over 10 years in the U.K., Mexico and France.

Byrdcliffe Forum Artist Talk With Yale Epstein
Monday, October 19 at 5:00 pm

Watch a video of the talk on YouTube

A native of New Haven Connecticut, Yale Epstein studied art, lived and worked in New York City until 1988. Among his teachers, were Ad Reinhardt, Marc Rothko, Carl Holty, Ilya Bolotovsky, Phillip Pearlstein, Robert Motherwell, Hans Hofmann and Edwin Dickinson. In 1998 he relocated to Woodstock, NY.

Epstein’s, career has spanned over six decades with 63 solo painting, printmaking and photography exhibitions. His highly detailed contemporary works were shown in galleries in the US, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, and he was invited to exhibit in several significant international exhibitions, including those in Basel, Florence, Cracow, Maastricht, Hong Kong and Sorrento.

In addition to several art galleries the New York area, as well as in Chicago, Boston, Chapel Hill, Dallas and Miami, public venues include Avery Fisher Hall Lincoln Center, The Bronx Museum of Art, Brooklyn College, The Brooklyn Museum, The Hudson River Museum, Marymount College, The National Arts Club NYC, The National Academy of Design, The National Gallery print Research Foundation DC, New York City Community College, New York University’s Loeb Center, The University of Hawaii and the Hong Kong Art Centre.?

Epstein’s work is in public collections including the The Biblioteque’ National in Paris, The Brooklyn Museum, China International Trade Center, Beijing, The Pew Charitable Trust, The City of Chicago, US State Department, The Library of Congress, and Yale University. He is a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, as well as grants from The Foundation For Contemporary Arts and The Artist’s Fellowship Org, among others. He was also selected for a residency in the Visiting Artist/Scholar Program at the American Academy in Rome.

Epstein’s teaching career included Brooklyn College, The Brooklyn Museum Art School, Pratt Institute, and The School of Visual Arts in New York City.


A former educator, music conductor, and sailor, Albert Shahinian sees his current venture as part of a personal mission – not only to make a positive qualitative difference in the immediate community but also to provide vital links to a richer inner life. He strives to engage his audience by providing them with the personal tools needed to access, apprehend, and appreciate the visual arts and the artists who create those works. To cross-pollinate among the other arts, Albert produces performance and arts-educational events at the gallery. This activity is part of a vital and continually growing arts scene in the Hudson River Valley. Since 2001 he has been part-time staff in the Preparator’s department at the Hessel Museum/Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College doing exhibition installation/deinstallation and collection management work for the center’s extensive contemporary art program.

Byrdcliffe Forum Author Talk with Sparrow
Monday, October 5 at 5:00 pm

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Please join us for a Byrdcliffe Forum author talk with Sparrow. He will discuss Small Happiness & Other Epiphanies, his new book to be published on October 13, 2020, by Monkfish Book Publishing Company in Rhinebeck.

Jacqueline Kellachan from The Golden Notebook will introduce Sparrow and take questions from the audience.

Originally conceived as a list of “eternal truths” for his young adult daughter, Sparrow’s new book is a quirky collection of humor, spiritual wisdom, memoir, observations of absurdity, and reasons to be happy—all of which turn out to resonate deeply in this time of upheaval.

Including a wide and wild array of subjects—such as the art of aroma; self-psychoanalysis; dancing as medicine; how to decorate with books, get equipped for winter or summer, compost poetically, conduct a wedding or host a party like no other; and age vigorously (including an interview with Sparrow’s 100-year-old father)—Sparrow has written an invaluable guidebook for remaining relatively sane, happy, and even innocent in the face of a global pandemic and political upheaval.

A longtime resident of Phoenicia, Sparrow is once again running for President and blogging about it; he has been published in The New Yorker, The Sun, American Poetry Review, Chronogram, and Ulster Publishing’s newspapers.

Woodstock Masters: Heather Hutchison
Monday, September 14 at 5:00 pm

Watch a video of the talk on YouTube

Heather Hutchison will be interviewed by critic and writer Eleanor Heartney. A brief Q&A with the audience will conclude the approximately 50-minute talk. The event will continue the Woodstock Masters series of artist interviews that, along with author talks and panel discussions, fall under the collective title Byrdcliffe Forum.

Heather Hutchison, Photo by Tom Warre

Heather Hutchison was born in Philomath, OR and was raised between the high desert of Bisbee, AZ and the San Francisco Bay Area. For over twenty years, she has lived, worked and raised her family in Saugerties, NY. Hutchison is self taught, and has innovated methods and mediums such as hand-building and bending forms out of Plexiglas to facilitate her artistic process. Hutchison’s work often incorporates ambient light as a primary material. She shares similar concerns with the Light and Space artists, spending decades observing and contemplating nature and the accelerating effect of climate change. Hutchison’s works capture the essence of light in natural environments. Each piece is a direct inquiry into the perceptual experience of color, light, and shadow particular to a time of day and place. Hutchison emphasizes the horizontal world that surrounds us and finds solace in the everpresent rhythms of nature.

Heather Hutchinson, Twilighting, 2020, Mixed media, reclaimed Plexiglas, birch plywood box, 23 3/4 x 25 x 3 3/4 inches

Hutchison’s work is represented by Winston Wächter in NYC and Louis Stern Fine Art in Los Angeles and has been included in numerous museum exhibitions including the Brooklyn Museum, Montclair Art Museum, the Smithsonian, the Knoxville Museum of Art as well as being included in the 44th Biennial Exhibition of American Painting at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. She has exhibited in dozens of solo exhibitions over three decades. Several public collections hold her work including the Brooklyn Museum, the Hammer Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Hutchison has received grants from the Gottlieb Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYFA, and Anonymous Was A Woman.


Eleanor Heartney is a Contributing Editor to Art in America and Artpress and has written extensively on contemporary art issues for many publications. Her books include Critical Condition: American Culture at the Crossroads, Postmodernism, Defending Complexity: Art Politics and the New World Order, Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art, Art and Today and Doomsday Dreams: the Apocalyptic Imagination in Contemporary Art. She is a co-author of After the Revolution: Women who Transformed Contemporary Art, and The Reckoning: Women Artists of the New Millennium. She received the College Art Association’s Frank Jewett Mather Award for distinction in art criticism in 1992 and was honored by the French government as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2008. Heartney is a past President of AICA-USA, the American section of the International Art Critics Association.

Byrdcliffe Forum: Galleries of the Hudson Valley
Monday, August 17 at 5:00 pm

Watch a video of the talk on YouTube

Art galleries are essential to the cultural vitality of the Hudson Valley. The panel Galleries of the Hudson Valley, to be held August 17 from 5:00-6:15 pm on Zoom, will shed light on the diversity, significant contributions, and creative ways galleries are surviving the COVID pandemic by featuring representatives of four of the region’s leading galleries.

The presenters are Alan Goolman, curator of Lockwood Gallery, Kingston; Franklin Parrasch, co-owner of Parts & Labor, Beacon; Jennifer Hicks, owner of 11 Jane Street, Saugerties; and Linden Scheff, co-director of Carrie Haddad, Hudson. The event was organized by Douglas I. Sheer and Lynn Woods. Woods, a local arts journalist, will moderate and briefly introduce the gallerists. The discussion will conclude with a Q&A session with the audience.


The Galleries of the Hudson Valley panel collectively represents galleries based in Beacon, Saugerties, Kingston, and Hudson, each of which occupies a specific niche in the regional art scene.

Alan Goolman is curator of the Lockwood Gallery, located in Kingston in the architectural office of Michael Lockwood. The 1,300-square-foot gallery opened in January 2019 and has featured a number of large group show of mainly artists from the region. Goolman, a consultant to the cosmetics industry specializing in branding and creative marketing, previously curated shows at Cross Contemporary Galley in Saugerties.

Franklin Parrasch opened Parts & Labor in Beacon in May 2019 with Nicelle Beauchene. Both Parrasch and Beauchene are long-time eponymous NYC gallery owners, respectively located on the Upper East Side, with a branch in Los Angeles, and on the Lower East Side; they conceived their collaborative space in the Hudson Valley as a forum for combining and pairing works by contemporary artists with more historically recognized artists, re-contextualizing dialogues about style, content and other issues that illuminate connections between the two. Currently on display is a show featuring quilts from the Gee’s Bend, in Alabama, and contemporary abstract works; up next is a show of works by surrealistic landscapist Shara Hughes and paintings by the older, established artist she chose to accompany her work, Lois Dodd.

Jennifer Hicks, a painter and performance artist bought a historic brick building in Saugerties after moving there from Boston in 2015. After an extensive renovation she opened 11 Jane St. Art Center in April 2019. The complex features three art galleries, including the performance space in Gallery North and Gallery South at 11 Jane St, for hanging art and installation, plus The JJ Newberry Building around the corner at 236 Main St. for large scale projects. The JJ Newberry building on Main Street is currently showing “Read to Me,” an exhibition of works combining visual art, words and poetry by 10 visual artists and two writers. Paintings by Joseph Conrad-Ferm are displayed in the windows as part of their monthly “Art in the Windows” series. On Aug. 29 a solo show of Jan Harrison’s animal paintings and sculpture will open at 11 Jane St. Art Center, Gallery North and South, with a performance by the artist and a sound accompaniment by Gary Weisberg.

Linden Scheff is co-director of Carrie Haddad Gallery, which was founded by Carrie Haddad in Hudson in 1991, making it the first fine-art gallery in that city and one of the oldest art venues in the Hudson Valley. Currently occupying 3,000 square feet in a building on Warren Street, the gallery represents dozens of established and emerging artists in a range of media, including sculpture and experimental photography. It features eight exhibitions on the main floor as well as revolving photography shows on the second. Carrie Haddad kicked off an art scene which has become internationally prominent in the small city of Hudson, and it continues to be one of the region’s most successful galleries.

Moderator Lynn Woods has interviewed dozens of artists, curators and other influential people in the regional arts scene for Chronogram, Almanac Weekly, Hudson River Museum and Gallery Guide, and Hudson Valley One. She co-directed and co-produced Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal, an hour-long documentary about the 1960s urban renewal project that devastated Kingston’s waterfront district, and co-authored Adirondack Style: Great Camps and Rustic Lodges (Universe Books; 2009).

Byrdcliffe Forum Author Talk: Nina Shengold
Monday, August 3 at 5:00 pm

Watch a video of the talk on YouTube

Please join us for a virtual talk with playwright and author Nina Shengold interviewed by artist Kate McGloughlin, President Emeritus of the Woodstock School of Art. Nina’s latest book Reservoir Year: A Walker’s Book of Days is a gorgeous new book about self-discovery through
daily walks around the Ashokan Reservoir

Nina Shengold is the author of Clearcut, a novel (Anchor Books); River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers with photographer Jennifer May (SUNY Press); and fourteen theatre anthologies for Vintage Books and Viking Penguin, many co-edited with Eric Lane. Under her nom de tween “Maya Gold,” she wrote the six-volume Cinderella Cleaners series and Spellbinding for Scholastic, and Harriet the Spy, Double Agent, a posthumous sequel to Louise Fitzhugh’s classic, for Delacorte. For the screen Shengold is a Writers Guild Award winner for Labor of Love, with Marcia Gay Harden; Blind Spot, with Emmy-nominated Joanne Woodward and Laura Linney; Double Platinum, with Diana Ross; SHINE Award winner Unwed Father; and more. Shengold has profiled more than 200 writers for Chronogram, Poets & Writers, and Vassar Quarterly, and published stories and essays in Feckless Cunt: A Feminist Anthology, Love on the Road, Odd Shorts, Prima Materia, Riverine, and Tinker Street. She teaches creative writing at Vassar College and lives in the foothills of New York’s Catskill Mountains, near the glorious Ashokan Reservoir.

Kate McGloughlin is a native of Olivebridge in New York’s Hudson Valley. She graduated from the University of Arizona at Tucson with a BA in Drawing & Painting. In 1991 she was awarded The Yasuo Kuniyoshi Scholarship to study printmaking with Robert Angeloch at The Woodstock School of Art where she currently teaches Printmaking, Landscape Painting and is President Emeritus of the Board of Directors. McGloughlin teaches landscape painting and printmaking workshops in Italy, Mexico, Ireland and the United States, and is represented widely in the US. She has exhibited at Kiesendahl +Calhoun Contemporary Art, Kleinert James Gallery, Samuel F. Dorsky Museum, Albert Shahinian Gallery, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Attleboro Arts Museum, and many others. Her work is in the collections of Print Club of Albany, Samuel F. Dorsky Museum, Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and the Springville Museum of Art.

Images: Nina Shengold; Kate McGloughlin
Shengold’s book Reservoir Year: A Walker’s Book of Days


Click here to see a video from the July 20 Mary Frank interview

The first event in the series is Woodstock Masters: Mary Frank on Monday, July 20 at 5:00 pm. The event will launch the Woodstock Masters series of artist interviews that will take place (along with author talks and panel discussions) under the collective title Byrdcliffe Forum. The talks will be available to watch live through Zoom, with a link provided before each event on our website and via email. Mary Frank will be interviewed by artist and educator David Hornung. A brief Q&A with the artist will conclude the approximately 50-minute talk.

Mary Frank, West of My Childhood, 2018-2019, Acrylic, oil, and paper on board, 41 x 33 x 1 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Mary Frank was born in London, England, in 1933. She moved to the United States with her family in 1940. In the 1950s she studied with Hans Hofmann and Max Beckmann. Frank works across disciplines as a sculptor, painter, photographer and gifted ceramic artist. She has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York in 1978. Her work is in the collection of major museums such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, to name a few. Books on her and her work include Mary Frank by Hayden Herrera (1990), Mary Frank: Encounters by Linda Nochlan (2000), Experiences by Mary Frank (2002) and Pilgrimage: Photographs by Mary Frank (2002) among others. Frank lives and works in New York City and Woodstock, New York. She is represented by D. C. Moore in NYC and Elena Zang Gallery in Woodstock.

David Hornung is a painter and collage artist whose work has been widely exhibited in the U. S. and the U. K. He is author of Color: A workshop for Artists and Designers (Lawrence King Publications, Ltd), a textbook that has been published in six languages and is used in art schools and private studios worldwide. David has held teaching positions at Indiana University, Skidmore College and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is currently a professor of art at Adelphi University. He is represented by Elena Zang Gallery in Woodstock.