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Art Exhibits Along Hudson Turn Small Towns into Getaway Spots

By Della Hasselle | August 23, 2012 7:40am

NEW YORK — New Yorkers who love art but are tired of visiting the same museums in the city may enjoy taking a road trip to see some exciting pieces up north — before the warm weather comes to an end.

An easy way to escape New York City for an end-of-the-summer adventure while scavenging for art is to travel up the Hudson, starting in the Lower Hudson Valley and venturing as far north as Albany.

"You've got the country, but you've also got this funky, beautiful, artsy city," said Maureen Winzig, artist and Peekskill Art Alliance president.

She added: "And some of the stuff is pretty wild."

The town of Peekskill is flourishing thanks to a growing population of painters, sculptors, performers and video artists downtown. The area, which is just an hour away from the city, is host to the newly restored Paramount Center for the Arts and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, which houses some of the area's most significant exhibits.

In addition to the high-end museums and studios, visitors may get inspiration from little places like a Beale Street barber shop full of vintage memorabilia, and a gigantic train station set up to look like its straight from the '50s.

The trip also provides some fresh air in a waterfront setting outside city lines, especially for folks who are worn out with going to the local beaches or waterparks.

"We are right on the Hudson River, which is absolutely spectacular every day and night," Winzig added, mentioning that free concerts on the waterfront park add a nice respite after a day of scouting art.

Peekskill isn't the only place that boasts a bustling art scene. From the largest sculpture park in the United States, located in the tiny town of Mountainville, to the Empire State Art Collection in Albany, DNAinfo has scoured big cities and tiny towns to find the best art offered along the Hudson.

EDWARD HOPPER HOUSE ART CENTER AT NYACK

The Edward Hopper House, located in the Lower Hudson Valley town of Nyack, is the birthplace of renowned artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967).

Located only 25 miles from New York City, the house doubles as a museum housing Hopper's memorabilia and a contemporary multi-arts center, showcasing works by emerging artists of all media.

On view until Aug. 26 is "Contemporary Abstract Painting in the Hudson Valley," an exhibition that showcases patterned, often psychedelic works of six emerging artists from around the region.

"Edward Hopper: Early Nautical Scenes" is also on view through October, and shows the artist's love of the sea with serene, pastel colored paintings of boats, beaches and other nautical scenes that he was inspired by throughout his career.

The Edward Hopper House Art Center is located at 82 N. Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960. For more information visit the site or call (845) 358-0774.

STORM KING ART CENTER IN MOUNTAINVILLE

Just an hour and a half north of New York City lies the country's largest sculpture garden, housing more than 100 sculptures amidst a setting of rolling hills and woods.

The 500-acre Storm King Art Center, nestled in the Lower Hudson Valley, showcases sculptures dating from World War II to today. The permanent collection features pieces by acclaimed artists, including Henry Moore, Roy Lichtenstein, Mark di Suvero, Alexander Calder, and Sol LeWitt, to name a few.

In addition to the permanent collection, the art center regularly hosts site-specific installations. The current exhibition — "Light & Landscape" — features work by 14 artists who incorporate light with equal importance as other mediums such as stone or wood.

"They take inspiration from the sun, moon, and stars; from lightning and fire," according to the Storm King Art Center website. "Their works highlight not only the visual experience of natural light, but also its vast impact on our daily lives and ecosystem."

Some of the most recognized works include a mirrored sculptures by Anish Kapoor, transitional sculptures by Alyson Shotz and a glass and honey house built by William Lamson.

The Storm King Art Center is located at 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, NY 12553. Tickets are $12 for adults. Visit the website or call (845) 534-3115 for more information.

WINDOWS ON MAIN STREET IN BEACON

Art will be displayed for the public in windows of small businesses along Beacon's Main Street during the end of summer for an annual celebration.

"Windows on Main Street," designed to engage residents and visitors while promoting the town's local artists and businesses, is slated to run until Sept. 8. Visitors can take a day trip to see the festival — Beacon is a 90-minute train ride from Manhattan on Metro-North.

While checking out the free exhibition, visitors can also head over to the Dia Art Foundation, which houses a collection of art dating back to the 1960s, featuring pieces like such a sound exhibition Max Neuhaus and cubic renderings by Sol LeWitt.

The Dia Art Foundation is also debuting "Opus + One," the first comprehensive exhibit in the country to be devoted to French artist Jean-Luc Moulene. The post-modern sculpture exhibit, created from plastics, metals and other materials, will be on view until Dec. 8.

Another exhibit, "Circa 1971," shows a selection of video and other film works by early influential video artists from the collection of Electronic Arts Intermix, in celebration of the organization's 40th anniversary. The media reflects the activism seen in early video subculture.

The Dia Art Foundation in Beacon is located on 3 Beekman St., Beacon, NY 12508. General admission is $10. Visit the site or call (845) 440-0100 for more information.

VASSAR COLLEGE IN POUGHKEEPSIE

Home to dozens of theaters and performing arts spaces, in addition to the sprawling campus of liberal arts college Vassar, Poughkeepsie is often called the performing arts capital of Hudson Valley.

Poughkeepsie also claims a rich history of visual arts is also home to 30 murals, 70 outdoor sculptures and a maze of historic architecture.

The city also has 11 galleries. Vassar alone has two galleries worth seeing — the James Palmer Gallery, which hosts approximately eight shows a year, and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, the home of 18,000 works that charts the history of art from antiquity to present.

Two exhibits being held at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center this summer focus on nature. "Nature in America: Taming the Landscape" is an art show and history lesson in 44 paintings, drawings, photographs and prints, many of which have never been shown before.

"From the late 18th century to the middle decades of the 20th, artists in America looked out at nature and transformed what they saw, sometimes romanticizing it, or making it appear more intimate," the website says about the exhibit, slated to run until Aug 26.

Starting Sept. 7, another exhibit, "Sawdust Mountain," showcases large-scale color photographs by Eirik Johnson that highlight the logging and fishing industries in Pacific Northwest.

The James Palmer Gallery is located on 124 Raymond Ave., 711, Poughkeepsie, NY. Contact (845) 437–5370. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is located on 124 Raymond Ave Box 703. To contact, call (845) 437-5237.

SAMUEL DORSKY MUSEUM OF ART IN NEW PALTZ

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, located in the State University of New York in New Paltz, offers a collection of art ranging from the 17th to 20th centuries, with an emphasis on works by local artists.

This year's annual Hudson Valley Artists exhibition, "Dear Mother Nature," showcases works of many mediums, including poetic and musical satires, a performance "in animal tongues," and a live "drawing performance" responding to various sounds and movements in Mother Nature.

The performances, held on the weekends only until Aug. 29,  answer the question, "What would you send Mother Nature?" Artists and choreographers are from all over the Hudson Valley.

After Aug. 29, two exhibits will open — "Russel Wright: The Nature of Design" and "Shinohara Pops! The Avant-Garde Road, Tokyo/New York."

The Russel Wright exhibit explores the work of the industrial designer, focusing on his work between 1945 and 1968, while "The Avant Garde Road" explores the 50-year career of Ushio Shinohara, a Japanese artist who defined his work as "Neo Dada."

Both exhibits are slated to remain open until Dec. 16.

The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is located at SUNY New Paltz, on 1 Hawk Drive in New Paltz, NY, 12561. For more information, contact (845) 257-3844.

EMPIRE STATE PLAZA ART COLLECTION IN ALBANY

The Empire State Plaza in New York's capital city may not be a museum, but critics say that it still houses one of the most significant modern art collections available for public viewing in the area.

The collection began under the eye of then-Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller in 1966 to coincide with the construction of the public Empire State Plaza, which lasted until 1978, and features works by New York artists who produced in the late 60s and 70s.

Currently, 92 works of Abstract Expressionism are on permanent display throughout the plaza. They include the mixed media painting "Number 12" by Jackson Pollock, created in 1952, and an untitled oil painting of a greenish blue rectangle on canvas by Mark Rothko, which highlights the painter's stylistic use of color, rather than texture.

The plaza also houses a color-field painting called "Capri," made by Helen Frankenthaler in 1967, and an example of Donald Judd's vertical stacks, a sculpture of identical boxes made from stainless-steel sides and amber Plexiglas tops and bottoms.

The Empire State Plaza is on Madison Street in Albany NY, 12224. For more information, call (518) 474- 2418.