NEW PALTZ — Throughout late summer the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art hosts With My Profound Reverence For The Victims: Lithographs and Drawings by George Bellows, an exhibition organized by SDMA Director Neil Trager. The show includes lithographs and drawings that demonstrate the early twentieth-century painter’s deep personal response to individual and institutionalized violence during World War I. The show is on view August 13 to September 23 during regular museum hours.
American painter George Bellows’ early work chiefly depicted scenes of urban life. His most famous painting, Stag at Sharkey’s (1909, Cleveland Museum of Art), drew both criticism for its daring subject and acclaim for it’s celebration of the athleticism and physical beauty of the sport of boxing. He received rapid recognition, becoming an unusually young member of the National Academy of Design in 1913. During the period from 1916 and 1924, Bellows produced nearly 200 lithographs, an impressive number considering the technical demands of the medium. Scholars have hailed Bellows’ lithographs as the perfect complement to his production as a painter. (From Traditional Fine Art Online)
In the spring of 1918, Bellows began a series of lithographs that focused on the atrocities committed by the Germans in Belgium during the First World War. Although Bellows did not witness the crimes of war, he was moved to create this series in response to an article that appeared in The New York Times in 1914, and a series of articles by Brand Whitlock that appeared in Everybody’s Magazine in 1918. Profoundly affected by these detailed reports, Bellows resolved to give visual expression to that which he read. After completing the suite of lithographs and related drawings, the artist also created five large-scale oil paintings derived from the works on paper. The entire War Series comprises twenty lithographs, the five oils, and more than thirty related drawings. (Adapted from an essay by Glenn C. Peck and Gordon K. Allison)
In an exhibition of the prints held in 1918 at Keppel & Co., Bellows prefaced the works with the following:
In presenting these pictures of the tragedies of war, I wish to disclaim any intention of attacking a race or a people. Guilt is personal not racial. Against that guilty clique and all its tools, who let loose upon innocence every diabolical device and insane instinct, my hatred goes forth, together with my profound reverence for the victims
This exhibition, developed from the collection at Morgan Anderson Consulting (NYC) and the artist’s estate, includes prints and drawings from the War Series, and six rarely seen lithographs by Bellows that comment strongly on personal and institutionalized violence experienced in the United States in the early twentieth century.
The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is located on the SUNY New Paltz campus. The museum is open 12-4pm Tuesday to Friday and 1-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. General information is available by phone (845-257-3844) or on the Web (www.newpaltz.edu/museum). Information about other arts events at SUNY New Paltz is available on the Web at www.newpaltz.edu/artsnews.
This exhibition is organized in conjunction with the 2001 Arts Now Conference, “Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence,” a project of the School of Fine and Performing Arts. The conference includes keynote addresses by Anna Deavere Smith, Carolyn Forché, Michael Bellisiles, James E. Young, and Bradley McCallum as well as performances of Marisol, presented by the Department of Theatre Arts, and numerous panels, workshops and discussions. Conference events take place throughout campus Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 20-22. Additional information is available online at www.newpaltz.edu/arts_now or by calling 845-257-3860.
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A lithograph by George Bellows is available online at http://www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/bellows.html.
Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence, the third of five planned biennial Arts Now Conferences, is scheduled for September 20-22, 2001. Conceived with an objective to explore issues of contemporary art and culture, each conference provides a reflective occasion to look at timely issues in the arts and contemporary culture through an interdisciplinary lens. Like its predecessors, “Sites of Conflict: Art in a Culture of Violence” includes featured presentations and conversations by noted authors, artists and scholars; papers and other contributions selected from a national call for proposals; and exhibitions and performances.
Keynote presentations by playwright Anna Deavere Smith, author and historian Michael Bellisiles, poet Carolyn Forché, and Holocaust scholar James E. Young are augmented by performances including Marisol by José Rivera, and Delirium for Two by Eugene Ionesco. Numerous exhibitions and lectures will occur on the SUNY New Paltz campus before and after the conference, effectively promoting a broad dialogue on the subject of violence and the arts.