/> Cornelia Seckel Culturally Speaking Nov/ Dec 09 09

Culturally Speaking

ART TIMES Nov/ Dec 2009

Pastel Society of America Awards dinner and tribute to Flora Giffuni at the National Arts Club, NYC
The Awards Dinner and In Memoriam tribute to PSA Founder
Flora Giffuni at the 37th Annual Open Exhibit "For Pastel Only"
at the National Arts Club, NYC. Jeff Webb giving tribute.

This issue is continuing the bimonthly print publication of ART TIMES and at ART TIMES online you will see exclusive essays, additional Calendar and Opportunity listings, and soon to come is a Forum for Feedback and some video clips. Online you will find pictures from a variety of openings and events that I attended in September and some of them will have more description in this column.
I had a very rare experience. One evening early in September, I was at the National Arts Club, NYC to see an exhibit of works in Combined Media by Mix Masters — 7 artists who have studied and painted together for many years. It was a delightful exhibition, their work so very individual and yet hung so well in the same gallery space. I would guess there to be a 30-year difference in age from the youngest to the oldest; one man and six women whose backgrounds were also quite diverse. The camaraderie was so strong and when I spoke with some of the members they were very pleased to have connected as they gain support and friendship while doing their work. Before I went downstairs to the Gregg Gallery I took a long look at the Pastel Society of America’s 37th Annual Open Juried Exhibition “For Pastels Only”. What an excellent show. I must say that a number of the paintings were exceptional including Linda Gross Brown’s Footsteps, Jane McGraw-Teubner’s Wet Rocks and Diana DeSantis’ The Little Drum. I am continually amazed how techniques of this medium are stretched by these fine pastel painters. Rae Smith received the ART TIMES award for On Goldfish Pond; 1st prize going to Jimmy Wright for Eclipse;2nd prize to Charles Timken for Rocky Ledge. While looking at the exhibit I saw Barbara Giffuni, daughter-in-law of Flora Giffuni (founder of PSA) who told me Flora would be having dinner in the Dining Room. So after I saw all the shows I stopped into the dining room to say hello and Flora insisted I join her and Mary Cava for dinner. It was either sitting in traffic heading home or spend another hour in NY enjoying dinner — it wasn’t a hard decision. Flora had been in a wheelchair for several years, had not been well, but surely held her own in conversation. She spoke Italian to a man who came to greet her at our table, we talked about the Pastel Exhibit, her famous meatballs, the founding of the Pastel Society, the enabling of a Pastel Gallery at the Butler Institute in Youngstown Ohio, we laughed and joked around a lot, she showed displeasure at the noisy men at the table next to us, ate, drank and then it was time for me to go. I kissed Flora goodbye, thanked her for dinner and a lively evening. The following morning I got an email from PSA that Flora had died during the night. I feel quite blessed to have shared this evening and even more so for the lesson and reminder to do the things you want and not put them off. Flora was a great inspiration to many and pastel artists are ever grateful for her bringing the medium of pastel into it’s own recognized place in fine art. Several weeks later at the Awards Dinner (photo online) there was a Tribute to Flora by friends and fellow artists acknowledging her tolerance & generosity to other artists and the arts. Surely she has made a mark on her world and will not be forgotten. At dinner, I got to see Elizabeth Mowry (profiled in ART TIMES in 1986) who was the 2009 Hall of Fame Honoree. Elizabeth is someone I have known and socialized with since we began ART TIMES. She had lived in our area before moving out west to Colorado where she continues to paint and teach.

Claudia Engel and
Claudia Engel (L) and Audrey Steinhorn (R) at Claudia's exhibit reception at the Duck Pond Gallery, Esopus, NY

Dawn Lille has been writing about Dance for ART TIMES since April 2000. We just learned that she has written a biography of Alfredo Corvino, a faculty member of the Juilliard Dance Division since its creation in 1951. Equipoise: The Life and Work of Alfredo Corvino was published by Rosen Publishing, NYC (www.rosenpublishing.com), We wish her great success.

Will Kefauver had his paintings at the Teatown Lake Reservation (www.teatown.org) in Ossining, NY, a nature preserve & education center privately owned and supported by membership and grants. There is extensive programming year round, trails, a freshwater pond, Wildflower Island, and a gallery. Will’s oil paintings of the Hudson River and New England are delightful; his inkjet reproductions very affordable. In November, Noel & Edward Malsberg will show their work and in December & January, Amber Wylie will show photographs.

Most libraries have galleries — some more extensive than others. The Duck Pond Gallery at the Esopus Library, Esopus, NY is in the basement and has a fair amount of wall space but the lighting could be improved — their mission is not of a gallery. I was there for Sharon Vairamides’ exhibit of Botanicals (see picture at ART TIMES online) that were quite elegant and precise renderings. The following month I was there for Claudia Engel’s Watercolor show of Flowers. Claudia (www.claudiaengel.com) also showed some Crewel Work that was excellent and I particularly liked her Poughkeepsie Yacht Club and The Strand.

Artists Fellowship fund raising eventBidders at the Artists' Fellowship benefit and Honoree dinner, National Arts Club, NYC

As the Woodstock/Byrdcliffe Guild Exhibition Committee was planning upcoming exhibits, member Phyllis Gilbert undertook the job of seeing if internationally know sculptor Martin Puryear would be willing to have a show and he said yes. Martin, a resident of Ulster County was pleased to give a local show at the James/Kleinert Gallery in Woodstock. His most recent major exhibit was at MOMA then traveled to Modern Art Museum at Fort Worth, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and then the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit in Woodstock was of his Prints, a medium he has returned to recently. The gallery was packed as was attendance at his lecture at the Guild. There are so many fine artists in the region who generously give their time and willingness to exhibit their work at “local” galleries and we thank them.

It has been 150 years since a few artists met to form a burial society and to help one another in times of hardship. In 1925 the group incorporated into the Artists’ Fellowship, Inc. allowing the organization to receive bequests. Monies were carefully invested and funds continue to be available for professional fine artists in times of emergency, disability or bereavement to be given assistance without expectation of repayment. The evening honored Will Barnet, Everett Raymond Kinstler, and Pamela Singleton for their dedication to the fellowships’ community of artists. A fundraiser for the Artists’ Fellowship endowment fund was part of the evening’s festivities. Artists had donated a 6x9 painting that sold (without knowing who the artist was) for $200. All but a few were sold and work by very well known and not so well known artists flew off the walls. I don’t recall such a well-attended annual dinner or one that had such merriment.

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club annual exhibit
(L to R) Susan Twardus (President), Amy Bright Unfried (Honored Member) and Cornelia Seckel at the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Preview Benefit Reception, National Arts Club, NYC

Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club celebrated the 113th Annual Open Exhibition at the National Arts Club during the month of October. This Preview Reception was a benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was a fun-filled evening with artists, patrons and friends celebrating the work of the 250 artists (out of 400 submitted works) that filled the Grand gallery walls. I particularly like this cocktail reception as I get a chance to meet so many artists that I speak with on the phone. The ART TIMES award went to Gigi Burboeck and other top awards went to Chris Krupinski, Holly Hope Banks, Marge Chavooshian, Arlene Steinberg, and Allison Newsome. Congratulations. Each year the show is better and I was particularly taken with the sculpture. Many of the works were intriguing, delightful and there were more non-traditional pieces (Sue Arnold’s sculpture of platform shoes and a clutch bag made with mirror shards and Susan Twardus’ figure with a material that looked like, but wasn’t, paper maché) then those exhibited in the past, showing the willingness of this 113 year-old group to be open to different kinds of work and maintaining their insistence on fine workmanship.

Walkway over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie & Highland, NY
The Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, Poughkeepsie & Highland, NY

As I would crossed the Mid-Hudson Bridge from Highland to Poughkeepsie (or the other way) the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge, opened in 1888 (soon after the Brooklyn Bridge opened) to link New York and New England to the coal beds of Pennsylvania and the West, was always in view. So often I would think ‘If I could only get up there and walk across’ —what fabulous views, how neat that would be. On October 3, 2009 Governor David A. Paterson opened the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park as a legacy project of the Hudson Fulton Champlain Quadricentennial. The park, now open from 7am till sunset, provides access for the pedestrians, hikers, joggers, and bicyclists to view the Hudson River's beautiful landscape. The bridge deck stands 212 feet above the river's surface and is 6,678 feet (1.28 miles) long, making it the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Hundreds of people made this possible through their unwavering commitment to create a non-profit organization called Walkway Over the Hudson and forge a public private partnership involving the State of New York, the federal government, neighboring municipalities, private corporations and other not for profit groups. This is all in effort to bring people to the Hudson Valley region to enjoy the natural beauty and boost the economy through tourism and recreation. The website gives directions and parking locations as well as pictures and videos from the opening celebrations. www.walkway.org.

Our next issue is the January / February issue. Keep in mind that each month (in case you missed this deadline and need something for December) you can advertise on our website www.arttimesjournal.com. The latest stats show over 650 unique visitors a day visiting 6+ pages.

We wish you all a very healthy, creative, peaceful, and joy-filled holiday season and New Year.