The Dorsky in spring: four new exhibitions to open at Feb. 4 reception

On Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, from 5–7 p.m., the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz will host a public reception for the opening of its four spring exhibitions:

Intimately Unfamiliar: New Work by SUNY New Paltz Art Faculty (opening Jan. 25)
Carl Walters and Woodstock Ceramic Arts (opening Feb. 4)
Sara Greenberger Rafferty: Gloves Off (opening Feb. 4)
Text/ures of Iraq: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Oded Halahmy (opening Feb. 4)

Two of the exhibitions—Carl Walters and Intimately Unfamiliar—present work by Hudson Valley artists past and present; Sara Greenberger Rafferty is a solo exhibition celebrating work by an important emerging artist; and Text/ures of Iraq is a group exhibition featuring a number of contemporary Iraqi artists.

Together, these four exhibitions promise visitors unparalleled exposure to historical undercurrents and modern trends in regional, national and international art.

Nadia Sablin, The Last Strawberries, 2009
Archival digital print, 20 x 30 in.

Intimately Unfamiliar: New Work by SUNY New Paltz Art Faculty
Curated by Michael Asbill
Jan. 25 – April 9, 2017
Alice and Horace Chandler Gallery and North Gallery

This exhibition of new work by more than 20 full-time art faculty of SUNY New Paltz presents a rare confluence of diverse artistic media, technologies and subject matters. On close inspection, one discovers that these works are united by their expression of a deep and abiding tension between the recognizable objects, situations, places and spaces of everyday life. These projects have been carefully curated to gesture toward the uncanny moments when we comprehend how seemingly ordinary aspects of modern being are endlessly complicated, often deceptive and ultimately unknowable.

Participating artists include: Thomas Albrecht, Robin Arnold, Lynn Batchelder, Rimer Cardillo, Amy Cheng, Bryan Czibesz, Francois Deschamps, James Fossett, Andrea Frank, Matthew Friday, Michael Gayk, Kathy Goodell, Joshua Korenblat, Rena Leinberger, Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, Itty Neuhaus, Jill Parisi, Emily Puthoff, Nadia Sablin, Thomas Sarrantonio, Anat Shiftan, Suzanne Stokes and Dimitry Tetin.

Carl Walters, Whale, 1927
Glazed earthenware, 7.5 x 17.25 x 7.75 in.
Private collection, courtesy Conner – Rosenkranz, N.Y.

Carl Walters and Woodstock Ceramic Arts
Curated by Tom Wolf
Feb. 4 – May 21, 2017
Morgan Anderson Gallery

The retrospective exhibition Carl Walters and Woodstock Ceramic Arts surveys the 40-plus-year career of Carl Walters (1883–1955). A pioneer of modern ceramic art in America, Walters made functional objects and ceramic sculpted artefacts alike. The exhibition presents prime examples of his witty and original three-dimensional figures as well as his elegant plates and bowls. Curated by Tom Wolf, professor of art history at Bard College and renowned expert on the Woodstock Art Colony, the exhibition also includes examples of Walters’ rarely exhibited works on paper. The first major exhibition of Walters’ work since the 1950s, this show situates him in the historical context of Woodstock ceramic arts, spanning the Byrdcliffe colony in the early 20th century and the work of Woodstock modernist artists in  the 1920s and 30s. At a time when ceramic sculpture plays a vital role in the contemporary art world, this exhibition calls attention to one of the nation’s most prominent early practitioners.

Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Jokes on You (detail), 2016
Acrylic polymer and inkjet prints on acetate on Plexiglas, and hardware
Courtesty the artest and Rachel Uffner Gallery, Photo: JSP Photography

Sara Greenberger Rafferty: Gloves Off
Curated by Andrew Ingall
Feb. 4 – May 21, 2017
Sara Bedrick Gallery

This exhibition documents recent output by the Brooklyn-based artist Sara Greenberger Rafferty (b. 1978), who over the past decade has become increasingly well known for unsettling works that contend with topics like domesticity, the body, consumer culture, fashion and violence. The boxing term “gloves off” here describes the many subtle aggressions, all-too-common in contemporary American culture, which Rafferty’s work lays bare.

The pieces selected for this exhibition deploy multiple media and make frequent reference the language, gestures and props associated with stand-up comedy. Among them are new objects—images printed on acetate, painted and mounted on irregular, hand-cut Plexiglas, and wall-mounted using custom screws that wound their surfaces—meant to blur the lines that divide perception between two and three dimensions. Also featured in this exhibition is the premiere of a video based on research Rafferty conducted during a recent Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.

Following its presentation at the Dorsky, a version of this exhibition will travel to the University Art Museum (UAM) at the University of Albany, where it will open on June 30. Special support for this exhibition has been provided by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

Hanaa Malallah (b. 1958, thee Qar, Iraq), Uruk Wall, 2006
Mixed media on carved wood, 15 ½ x 15 ½ in.

Text/ures of Iraq: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Oded Halahmy
Curated by Murtaza Vali
Feb. 4 – May 21, 2017
Howard Greenberg Family Gallery

Drawn from the personal collection of New York-based sculptor Oded Halahmy, a Jewish native of Baghdad, this exhibition presents his work alongside that of eight contemporary Iraqi artists, organized around the notions of text and texture. The varied works collected here reference modern Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy while also calling to life ideas drawn from both the Western and Islamic philosophical traditions. Some evoke the art of hurufiyah, an influential modern Arab variant of Lettrism that used the swoops and curves of the Arabic alphabet as painterly gestures. These works demonstrate the importance of the literary—of letters, words, books and language—in Iraqi society, culture and visual arts of the past and the present day.

Information about exhibition-related programs and other museum education and outreach programs can be found on the museum’s website at

All exhibitions are accompanied by richly illustrated catalogues presenting new scholarship and biographical information, distributed by SUNY Press and available for purchase in the museum and online.

Funding for The Dorsky’s exhibitions and programs is provided by the Friends of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art and the State University of New York at New Paltz. Additional support for the above exhibitions has been provided by the Dorsky Museum Contemporary Art Program Fund.

Through its collections, exhibitions and public programs, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz supports and enriches the academic programs at the College, presents a broad range of world art for study and enjoyment and serves as a center for Hudson Valley arts and culture. The museum is widely recognized 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 in the SUNY system. Since its official dedication on Oct. 20, 2001, The Dorsky has presented more than 100 exhibitions, including commissions, collection-based projects and in-depth studies of contemporary artists including Robert Morris, Alice Neel, Judy Pfaff, Carolee Schneemann and Ushio Shinohara.

Museum Hours: Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Holidays and Intersessions.

For more information about The Dorsky Museum and its programs, visit or call (845) 257-3844.