Tag Archive | "The Parrish Art Museum"

Wandering Through Alan’s Maze at the Parrish

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Maze, 1981 – 1982 Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe 87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

Maze, 1981 – 1982
Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe
87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

By Annette Hinkle

As an artist, Alan Shields came of age at a time when the art world was questioning the relevance of painting. The declaration that “painting is dead” is one that has surfaced periodically throughout history, which is why in the early 1970s when the future of the medium looked murky, Mr. Shields wasn’t afraid to take painting off the wall and define it by a whole new set of parameters.

His response? To totally reimagine the way in which audiences experience painting.

Maze, 1981 – 1982 Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe 87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

Maze, 1981 – 1982
Acrylic and thread on canvas, cotton belting, Velcro and aluminum pipe
87 x 219 x 219 inches, Estate of the artist, courtesy Van Doren Waxter, New York.

Mr. Shields, a long-time resident of Shelter Island, died at his home in 2005 at the age of 61. This weekend, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill opens “In Motion,” a touring exhibition featuring several works by Mr. Shields, many of which could best be described as sculptural paintings. The exhibit is curated by Jill Brienza, a longtime friend of Mr. Shields who also curated “Alan Shields: A Survey,” a traveling museum exhibition of the artist’s work. For this show, she has assembled a select group of Mr. Shields’ three-dimensional paintings, as well as a video of a dance piece and on-screen animation that speak to the concept of movement in his art.

Among the pieces on views is “Dance Bag,” a cone-like sculptural work comprised of colorfully painted strips of canvas suspended from a single point which attach to circular tubing, and “Ajax,” a similarly constructed piece that takes the form of a giant cylinder.

But perhaps no piece addresses the concept of movement more literally than “Maze,” Mr. Shield’s monumental 1981 work which takes painting off the walls and literally turns it into the walls themselves through a series of painted panels suspended from a grid-work of aluminum piping. In “Maze,” visitors are not only permitted, but encouraged to wander through the spaces defined by the canvas walls.

“When you walk through it’s an incredible experience,” says Ms. Brienza. “You’re seeing so many of Alan’s paintings and are surrounded on all sides — including in front and back of you. It’s a different kind of painting, a real painting – then you go back and find your way out.”

“It’s magical,” she adds.

Through her friendship with Mr. Shields, Ms. Brienza came to understand his desire to see his work travel. Despite its seemingly complex form, “Maze,” she notes, is designed to do just that.

“Alan studied engineering and you can tell. He left instructions, a very simple drawing of how to put it together,” explains Ms. Brienza. “There are no stretcher bars. It was a decision he made to put in a duffle bag. It’s rolled canvas, metal poles that connect and Velcro.”

Because the maze is interactive, it stands to reason that other artists have found ways to incorporate movement into the piece itself. Among the imagery on view at The Parrish is “Into the Maze,” a 2012 video of an original dance choreographed by Stephen Petronio using eight dancers from his company. In the piece, dancers explore “Maze” while wearing body pieces that were also created by Shields — though they were not specifically created for the dance. In conjunction with the exhibit, on Friday, November 7, the Stephen Petronio Company will be on hand to offer a live 20-minute performance of “Into the Maze” at The Parrish with a Q&A with Petronio to follow. Five more dance performances by the company follow throughout the day on Saturday, November 8.

Viewers of Mr. Shields’ work will find that it defies the notion of traditional painting not only through form, but through his use of non-traditional materials as well — things such as cotton belting, glass beads and wire. A native of rural Harrington, Kansas, Ms. Brienza explains that in his formative years Mr. Shields was exposed to what traditionally would be labeled women’s work — skills like sewing and quilt making. But the domestic arts served him well in his professional life and became an important part of his artistic vision.

“With Alan, his life and art practice weren’t separate. They were totally intertwined,” explains Ms. Brienza. “Quilting was a big part of family tradition… farming was a big part as well and he meshed that into his work. He had a sewing room, a bead room, a separate green house.”

“You would see this big tall guy working at a sewing machine,” adds Ms. Brienza. “Alan didn’t care about what others around him did – he did his own thing.”

This philosophy may help explain why Mr. Shields wasn’t particularly interested in being an active player in the New York art world. Instead, his most productive years were spent on Shelter Island where he settled into a quiet life that allowed him to make art and become an integral part of the local community. Mr. Shields was actively involved on Shelter Island. Ms. Brienza notes he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, served on a number of committees and helped out at the Shelter Island School by teaching art. He even worked as a ferry captain on the North Ferry, plying the waters between Shelter Island and Greenport.

“People were clamoring for his work, but he wasn’t interested in being in a scene,” says Ms. Brienza. “He moved to Shelter Island when he was quite young – and that surprised people. He didn’t have an interest in hanging out all night networking. He would fish, grow his own vegetables and make art the way he wanted to make it.”

“He cared about the environment and cared about community,” adds Ms. Brienza. “He was very true to he is, and never changed his work to fit into what people might want.”

“Alan Shields: In Motion,” October 26 to January 19, Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill. Special members-only opening reception on Saturday, November 1 at 5:30 p.m. (reserve at 283-2118 ext. 181). New members welcome to join that evening.

On Sunday, November 2 at 11 a.m. curator Jill Brienza will talk about Alan Shields’ work in The Curator’s View ($10, free for members, students and children).

“Into the Maze” by the Stephen Petronio Dance Company will be performed live on Friday, November 7 at 6 p.m. (followed by a Q&A with Stephen Petronio and interactive “tours” guided by the dancers) and on Saturday, November 8, the 20-minute dance will sbe performed on the hour from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information visit parrishart.org. 

Glackens & Barnes at The Parrish Art Museum

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William Glackens (American, 1870–1938) The Little Pier, 1914 Oil on canvas 25 x 30 inches The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Merion, PA; BF497

William Glackens (American, 1870–1938) The Little Pier, 1914 Oil on canvas 25 x 30 inches The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Merion, PA; BF497

The Parrish Art Museum’s “Curator’s View” series will present an illustrated lecture about the lifelong friendship between artist William Glackens and the collector Albert C. Barnes by Judith Dolkart, The Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, on Saturday, October 4 at 11 a.m.

Ms. Dolkart served at The Barnes Foundation as Gund Family Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Art and Archival Collections prior to her appointment at the Addison. In the talk, presented in conjunction with the Museum’s current special exhibition, “William Glackens,” Dolkart will share her unique perspective on the relationship between the American artist and Mr. Barnes.

Born in 1870 in Philadelphia, Mr. Glackens met Mr. Barnes when the two attended Philadelphia’s Central High School. Years later, Mr. Barnes, who amassed great wealth in chemical ventures, would send Mr. Glackens to Paris with $20,000 to purchase art by Pierre Auguste Renior and Alfred Sisley. Mr. Glackens returned with 33 paintings, prints and watercolors including work by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Maurice Denis, Pablo Picasso, and Camille Pissarro. This began the alliance that would create one of the most important collections of modern art in America.

The lecture compliments The Parrish Art Museums exhibition of Mr. Glacken’s own artwork, the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work since 1966. That exhibition will be on view through October 13.

For more information, visit parrishart.org.

Watershed Weekend with The Parrish Art Museum & The Nature Conservancy

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WalkingTourAccabonac

Accabonac Harbor. Image courtesy of The Nature Conservancy. 

The Parrish Art Museum has partnered with The Nature Conservancy in two events meant to highlight one of the most pressing environmental issues facing the East End of Long Island: water quality.

On Saturday, September 27 at 11 a.m., the museum will host “Watershed: Artists, Writers, Scientists and Advocates on Our Waters” in the Lichtenstein Theatre. The PechaKucha style talk will feature eight speakers including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited architect Glynis Berry who serves on the Suffolk County Planning Commission and is with the U.S. Green Building Council; Dr. Chris Gobler, a professor at SUNY Stony Brook’s School of Atmospheric and Marine Sciences and an expert on the topic of harmful algal blooms; Nature Conservancy Long Island Executive Director Nancy Kelley, Hampton Bays bayman Ken Mades; Southampton resident and Executive Director of the Lloyd Magothy Water Trust, Thomas McAbee; Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst; Edwina von Gal, East Hampton-based landscape architect and President of the Azuero Earth Project whose mission is to preserve the earth’s ecosystems, protect biodiversity, and promote healthy communities; and artist and teacher at the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City, Allan Wexler, whose work in the fields of architecture, design, and fine art explores human activity and the built environment.

The museum will follow the discussion with a Sunday, September 28 Walking Tour of Accabonac Harbor, one of the regions most diverse tidal marsh systems. Both programs are being presented in conjunction with The Parrish Art Museum’s ongoing exhibition, “Platform: Maya Lin.”

For more information, visit parrishart.org. 

Southampton School District Voters Approve Parrish Art Museum Funding

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Parrish

Voters in the Southampton School District on April 9 approved a proposition to help fund the Parrish Art Museum’s educational programs and exhibitions. The measure will provide $326,509 in funding—the same amount of money the museum has requested since 2009. The funding accounts for 7 percent of the museum’s annual operating budget.

A total of 178 votes were cast, with 101, or 57 percent of those made in favor of the funding, with 43 percent of voters opposing the proposition.

This is the first year the vote was held at the museum and the first year the proposition was separated from the annual Southampton School District budget vote, which takes place next month.

Following the examples of museums and libraries on the East End of Long Island and across the state, the Parrish chose to move the vote to the museum to enable voters to experience the institution firsthand, and to make clear the proposition is not connected to the school budget.

This is the 42nd year voters have approved requested funding for the museum.

Siegler Quartet Brings All That Jazz to the Parrish Art Museum

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By Emily J. Weitz

This Friday night, people strolling through the Parrish Art Museum will get more than a feast for their eyes. As the Richie Siegler Quartet plays jazz in the lobby of the museum, the music will float down the spine of the space and into all the galleries. While hearing the gentle croon of a saxophone, patrons will also take in the winding ribbons of a deKooning painting, and the bold sheen of a John Chamberlain sculpture.

“I believe music in general and jazz in particular is an art form and it belongs there [at the Parrish],” says Richie Siegler, who plays the drums in the quartet and is the founder of Escola de Samba Boom. “DeKooning and Pollock? Who do you think they were listening to? They were listening to Coltrane. It’s like a big circle.”

When Siegler came to the executive director of the Parrish, Terrie Sultan, he says she lit up at the idea.

“The new building offers endless possibilities for programming, including heightened potential for live performance,” says Andrea Grover, curator of special projects at the Parrish. “Richie is a talented and popular East End musician who knows how to inspire and mobilize a crowd.”

While there is a special performance space, the Lichtenstein Theater, the staff decided to set up the Richie Siegler Quartet right in the lobby.

“We wanted the music to travel through the spine and into the galleries,” says Grover, “reaching the ears of those experiencing the works on view. The building’s central corridor is a great delivery system for sound and more – it connects all activities in the building.”

Siegler has been playing the drums since he was four, and he grew up in Greenwich Village listening to jazz masters. Both at home and on vacations with his family in the Catskills, Siegler was introduced to Latin jazz, including legends like Tito Puente.

While Siegler can play the drums for any genre, it’s jazz, and in particular Latin Jazz, where he has found a following.

He founded the Escola de Samba Boom, a free, year round music school with Monday night workshops. During the summer, when the workshop is held at Sagg Main Beach, it turns into an all out party with hundreds of people crowding around a tight circle of 60 or so drummers. Siegler is often found in the middle, directing with a whistle and riding the sound.

“It’s like cooking a stew,” says Siegler. “We have all the ingredients – 12 people in one section, six in another. My job is to make it all gel. Maybe we need a fresh herb, or some pepper and salt. I make a little adjustment, and when it kicks in, it’s a high. Often we’ll go out afterwards, and we’re all buzzed from the performance.”

At the Parrish this weekend, Siegler brings together a quartet of local talents that includes Siegler on the drums, John Ludlow on alto saxophone, Jeff Koch on bass, and Max Feldschuh on the vibraphones.

“We do some straight jazz,” he says, “and Latin-influenced. We do our own arrangements. I like the group because it has a light sound. There’s no keyboard or guitar. There’s a lot of air in what we do, and I try to stay off the ground.”

Of these four instruments playing together, Siegler doubts it’s the first time a quartet has been comprised of drums, alto sax, vibes, and bass, although he can’t recall another group that had this combination.

“But jazz has been around a long time,” he says. “Everything’s been done.”

Because of the stark design of the Parrish, marble and glass, Siegler feels particularly strongly that there needs to be a good crowd.

“People are acoustical tiles,” he says. “They absorb a lot of sound.”

Siegler has ideas for the Parrish, and he hopes to ride on the success of this weekend’s performance to create a more lasting relationship. Siegler remembers growing up in Manhattan, spending Thursday evenings at MoMA, enjoying live jazz.

“I’d like to see it become a monthly thing at the Parrish,” he says. “People will be encouraged to walk through the galleries and the music will follow them.”

The Richie Siegler Quartet will kick off the evening at 6 p.m. at the Parrish. Tickets are $10 for non-members and free for members.

“Membership is an exceptional deal,” says Grover, “paying for itself manifold if you plan to attend just four or more of our events in a year. I feel lucky, and hope others do, too, to have a major museum in a small community – it makes the bonds of art and life even tighter and more meaningful.”