NEW PALTZ – The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz presents The Dorsky Collects: Recent Acquisitions 2008-2012 from Jan. 23 through June 23. This exhibition features 58 works of art selected from over 1,000 objects received into its permanent collection since 2008. A public reception for the exhibition takes place on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m.
The usefulness and importance of a museum’s permanent collection rests upon its breadth, depth, and quality, as well as its alignment with the institution’s mission. Collecting art at New Paltz is a longstanding endeavor that has been pursued diligently for approximately six decades. The collection was begun by a visionary art committee with a mission to enrich the intellectual and aesthetic environment of the campus by providing exhibitions and cultural programs. Over the years, objects have come to the museum in many different ways, but most commonly through donations from collectors, art dealers and the artists themselves.
“With a limited acquisitions budget, the Dorsky Museum collection would not be what it is today if it weren’t for others’ generosity,” says exhibition curator and Dorsky Collections Manager Wayne Lempka. “Collecting art at New Paltz started with a small committee in the 1950s. It was from this humble beginning that our permanent collection has grown today to over 5,500 hundred objects.”
The decision to accept an object into the permanent collection is made with great consideration about its relevance to the existing collection and, in particular, to the museum’s mission. Because the Dorsky Museum is part of a university community, pedagogical issues, which include whether the work possesses educational value for students, faculty, and scholars, are always at the forefront. Other important criteria that are carefully weighed when a gift is brought to the museum’s attention include the rarity of the piece, its physical condition and whether it can be properly preserved by the museum.
The Dorsky Collects: Recent Acquisitions 2008-2012 includes works by such nationally and internationally recognized artists as Dorothy Dehner, Richard Hunt, Harold Edgerton, Utagawa Hiroshige, Jervis McEntee, Robert Morris, W. Eugene Smith, and Andy Warhol, as well as significant but under-recognized artists from the region. The selected works represent the range and quality of giving and span the 19th to the 21st centuries. More importantly, these works, as well as those not selected for display, define the mission of the Dorsky Museum and pay homage to the generosity of the patrons who continue to shape it.
SELECTED EXHIBITION ARTISTS:
Below are a few of the 34 artists whose work is included in The Dorsky Collects:
Dorothy Dehner (1901-1994), Untitled, 1980. Bronze.
Dorothy Dehner created figurative abstractions that reveal her disarmingly pictorial approach to composition in the round. Three untitled bronze pieces are on display by Dehner, who was married to sculptor David Smith from 1927-1952.
Charles Geiger, Out of Sight, 2010. Gouache, acrylic, and ink on paper.
A scientist by trade, Geiger’s recent work combines the discerning eye of the painter with the miniaturist viewpoint of the microscope. In Out of Sight, precisely drafted leaves, tree trunks, and paramecium-like forms commingle in a unified space.
Richard Hunt (b. 1935), Heart Hybrid, 1967-1987. Welded chrome steel.
Heart Hybrid presents the intimate side of a master of public sculpture. Whether small or monumental, Hunt’s work captures motion, often the dynamics of flight. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center in 2009.
Jervis McEntee (1828-1891), Winter Sunset After a Storm, c. 1870. Oil on canvas.
McEntee is known as a second-generation painter of the Hudson River School. The influence of Frederick Edwin Church, who was McEntee’s close friend, is evident in the sunset’s meticulous gradations of color as well as the overall drama of the painting.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987), Jade Jagger, 1979. Polacolor 2.
Warhol is best-known for recasting commercial art as a genre with a critical agenda, “Pop Art.” The Dorsky’s group of Polaroid head shots are from a series he worked on from 1970-1987, which included celebrities like Debbie Harry, Elizabeth Taylor, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The shots were taken to be used in Warhol’s famous silk screens.
5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2
FIRST SUNDAY FREE GALLERY TOURS
Free gallery tours are available on select First Sundays of the month with guest educator Kevin Cook:
2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3
2 p.m. Sunday, March 3
2 p.m. Sunday, April 7
2 p.m. Sunday, May 5
2 p.m. Sunday, June 2
The exhibition will be closed for Spring Break from Saturday, March 23 through Tuesday, April 2.
SCHOOL AND GROUP TOURS
Please call 845-257-3844 for details and reservations, or visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum/information/museumvisit.html.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, located at SUNY New Paltz, is fast gaining wide recognition as the premier public showplace for exhibition, education, and cultural scholarship about the Hudson Valley region’s art and artists from yesterday and today. With more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space distributed over six galleries, the Dorsky Museum is one of the largest museums within the SUNY system. The Dorsky was officially dedicated on Oct. 20, 2001. Since then it has presented over one hundred exhibitions, including commissions, collection-based projects, and in-depth studies of artists including Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Judy Pfaff, and Carolee Schneemann.