Celebrating Spectacular Quiltmaking, Contemporary Landscapes, and Celestial-Inspired Art
Yonkers, NY (June 3, 2021)—Hudson River Museum announces four summer exhibitions that share the impact of quiltmaking, painting, and drawing. With a nod to the power of craftsmanship, visitors are welcomed to explore a selection of fine quilts from the American Folk Art Museum, along with notable textiles with significant community history from the HRM’s collection. The Museum will debut a compelling new series of celestial works by artist Richard Haas, as well as imaginative and colorful landscape paintings by California-based, Yonkers-born artist Jack Stuppin, which will transport visitors through mountains and vibrant vistas of our Hudson Valley this summer.
“All of these exhibitions are about experimentation; our visitors will experience the impact of compositions in color, pattern, geometry, and intersections. The artists are connecting with something far bigger than themselves in terms of space, history, and community. We are all trying to understand our piece within that bigger puzzle, and these splendid works invite us to be part of that process,” stated Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky.
Laura Vookles, Chair of the Curatorial Department, added, “I love working on exhibitions that give greater context and meaning to artworks in the Museum’s collection. The paintings and drawings by Richard Haas and Jack Stuppin expand our understanding of individual artworks visitors have seen displayed here; and the quilts in Wall Power and our own examples combine to offer a larger story of American quiltmaking.”
Wall Power! Spectacular Quilts from the American Folk Art Collection
As an art form, quilts have deep roots in American life and experience. For more than three centuries, artists, primarily women, have created highly individualized expressions in this medium that are both yielding and unforgiving, challenging the maker to test the limits imposed by cutting and piecing bits of fabric. Each work on view is a graphically striking example that embodies a sense of “wall power,” packing a tough visual punch and defying the deceptive softness of its nature.
The very fine selection of quilts on view in this show is from the distinctive collection of the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. They range across time and place from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century, from Alabama to Pennsylvania. The four sections of the exhibition highlight early twentieth-century quilts from a period of craft revival, designs developed by Amish communities, examples by African American makers, and traditional nineteenth-century patterns that formed a foundation for generations of quiltmakers to come. The exhibition will be on view from June 18, 2021–September 21, 2021.
The exhibition begins with quilts that reflect the popularity of traditional American handicrafts. Quilters moved away from the ornate designs of the Victorian era, which featured sumptuous velvets and silks, and embraced the use of cotton fabrics, clean lines, and schematic patterns. Amish communities have also produced some of the most beloved American quilt patterns and their bold blues, pinks, and purples belie common conceptions of the plainness of Amish visual culture.
The African American quilts in the exhibition are infused with stunning dynamism. Although they may draw on traditional Euro-American patterns, their asymmetry, bold colors, and outsized designs may also be linked to earlier African textile practices. Wall Power! closes with a selection of traditional patterns dating from the mid to late 1800s that illustrate the techniques of piecing and appliqué, which formed a foundation for generations of quiltmakers to come.
This exhibition was organized by the American Folk Art Museum, New York, and supported in part by the Bresler Foundation, the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions, and the Council for Traditional Folk Art.
Wall Power! was originally curated for installation at the American Folk Art Museum, August 6–September 1, 2019, by Stacy C. Hollander. Tour coordinated by Emelie Gevalt, Curator of Folk Art, the American Folk Art Museum.
At the Hudson River Museum, the exhibition is generously sponsored by The Coby Foundation.
Image: Artist unidentified. Amish, United States. Sunshine and Shadow Quilt, 1920s (detail). Silks and wools, 83 × 75 ½ inches. American Folk Art Museum, New York. Gift of Karen and Werner Gundersheimer, 2018.2.6. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.
Collection Spotlight: Storied Quilts from the Hudson River Museum
The HRM will display five important quilts from its own collection, on view from June 18-September 26, 2021, as well as premiere additional selections online. The quilts highlight regional pride and collaboration: Three nineteenth-century examples include a Pieced Sampler Quilt by New York tailor Adolph Schermer, an elaborate silk and velvet Crazy Quilt by couple Pinkus and Ernestine Turk, and a Chimney Signature Quilt featuring the names of forty-two residents of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Also on view for the first time in decades will be a Commemorative Quilt made in 1976 by Ellanora Kolb, Anna McDonough, and Pauline Ringler to present to the Woman’s Institute of Yonkers in honor of the United States Bicentennial. Among the local City sites depicted are historic Glenview, the Museum’s Gilded Age home, the 17th-century Philipse Manor Hall, and the historic St. John’s Church in downtown Yonkers, designed in 1872.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by The Coby Foundation.
Richard Haas: Circles in Space
In his most recent series of paintings and drawings, artist Richard Haas explores intersections between abstraction, color theory, and the geometry of the universe, bringing together passions and preoccupations from throughout his expansive and celebrated career. Richard Haas (American, b. 1936) is best known for his illusionistic architectural murals and trompe l’oeil style, painted on and within prominent buildings across the United States from Portland, Oregon, to New York City and Yonkers, as well as international commissions in Munich, Germany.
During the pandemic and while working from his home in Yonkers, Haas turned to painting on a more intimate scale, moving away from realistic imagery. He was inspired by the circular geometry of the famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959), for whom he worked as a teenager. The experience played a formative role in cultivating his fascination with architecture and urban design, which features in a majority of his paintings, drawings, and prints. Haas was inspired by seeing hundreds of circular irrigation wells on flights over the Midwest and Plains states. He was also influenced by Hubble Space Telescope photos, which called to mind the early twentieth-century color experiments of artists Wassily Kandinsky, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Stanton MacDonald-Wright.
Haas was also reminded that artists and theorists have used circles to conceptualize our relation to the universe for millenia. The earliest drawing in the exhibition is his own take on Dante Alighieri’s concentric conceptions of heaven, purgatory, and hell. The installation of these visions of space in the Troster Gallery, outside of the Museum’s Planetarium, emphasizes these enduring connections between art and science and celebrates the much-anticipated reopening of the Planetarium on July 16, after being closed to the public for more than a year. Circles in Space will be on view from June 25–September 10, 2021.
#HRMRichardHaas #RichardHaas #CirclesinSpace
Jack Stuppin: The Beginning of My World
Jack Stuppin (American, b. 1933), renowned for vibrant landscape paintings of Northern California, grew up in Yonkers and returns again and again to reconnect with the formative Hudson Valley scenery of his youth. Jack Stuppin: The Beginning of My World, which will be on view from July 2–September 12, 2021, highlights nine oil paintings, ranging from 2008 to 2020, from this ongoing series the artist has called his “Homage to the Hudson River School.”
He begins these paintings with oil studies outdoors, and seeks to evoke something more than realism in his finished works. In the studio, he makes a digitally enlarged version of a favorite plein air painting and uses it as a guide to move beyond a purely realistic interpretation and create a world filled primarily with intensified hues of his own vision and sense of design. Stuppin’s simplified forms emphasize the solidity of the landscape, imparting the same stillness and unity of surface to topography, water, and sky. The artist’s landscapes—filled with bright, super-enriched colors—fuse a certain folk-art primitiveness with deeply personal feeling.
After graduating from Columbia College in 1955, Stuppin studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1960s and has had a long artistic career on the West Coast. In the 1990s, Stuppin was part of a group of landscape painters known as the “Sonoma Four,” which also included Bill Wheeler, Tony King, and William Morehouse. He is represented in New York City by ACA Galleries. His work is in the permanent collection of twenty-one museums across the country.
Stuppin’s paintings resonate with memory—of hills, cliffs, and vibrant leaves that are simultaneously filled with nostalgia as well as an urgent call to protect this natural beauty for future generations. He asserts that if his career in California explored the edge of the continent, then, for him, Yonkers and the Hudson River Valley will always poignantly and proudly serve as his beginning.
A selection of related programs is below.
Sunday, June 20, 1–4pm
Juneteenth and Father’s Day Batik Workshop
Be inspired by the two quilt exhibitions on view at the HRM and learn the art and craft of batik, a fabric decorating technique used to make traditional African and contemporary Africa-inspired clothing and homegoods. Make your own quilt squares, adorned with decorative and evocative Adinkra symbols that represent concepts. Artist Kay Douglas brings the community together to practice a non-traditional batiking method using glue, fabric, and dye, to create a community quilt celebrating Juneteenth . . . and the dads in our lives!
Sunday, June 27, 1:30pm
Curatorial Tour of Wall Power!
Join the HRM Chair, Curatorial Department, Laura Vookles in the HRM galleries, for a tour of Wall Power! Spectacular Quilts from the American Folk Art Museum. Quilts are America’s great art experiment: monumental compositions in color, pattern, geometry, and representation. Each work on view is a graphically striking example that embodies a sense of “wall power,” packing a tough visual punch and defying the deceptive softness of its nature.
Saturday, July 10 & 24, August 7 & 21, September 4, September 18, 1-4pm
Community Sewing Circles
The HRM is thrilled to collaborate with the Village Squares Quilters Guild in a series of programs in celebration of quilts and community. On six Saturday afternoons, VSQ members will be on site to provide basic instruction on how to select fabric, stitch together small blocks, and create a quilt which will be donated to a local charity, Furnitureshare House, an organization that collects furniture and distributes it to families transitioning into permanent housing. A family in need will have the opportunity to go to their warehouse and select the original community quilt, among other furnishings, for their new home. We invite people at all quilting levels to come together and join in this creative process, learn a few basic sewing skills, and create the gift of a work of art.
Saturday, July 17 & 31, August 14 & 28, September 11 & 25, 1-3:30
Family Studio Art Workshops
HRM Junior Docents lead a series of creative quilting projects for ages 3-5 and 5-12, based on level of difficulty, using paper or fabric and glue. Experiment with color, shape, and pattern, and bring your work of art home!
Wednesday, July 28, 7pm
Circles in Space: A Conversation with Richard Haas (Virtual)
Join Laura Vookles, Chair of the Curatorial Department, as she interviews the artist Richard Haas about his exhibition Circles in Space. The conversation between curator and artist, who have worked together for decades, is sure to provide unique insights into the inspirations and sources for Haas’ most recent series of paintings and drawings, in which he explores the intersections among abstraction, color theory, and the geometry of the universe, bringing together passions and preoccupations from throughout his long career.
Wednesday, August 11, 7pm
Homage to the Hudson Valley: A Conversation with Jack Stuppin (Virtual)
HRM Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky interviews fellow Yonkers native Jack Stuppin about his lifelong connection to the Hudson Valley as demonstrated in his current exhibition, The Beginning of My World. Although Stuppin lives in Sonoma County, California, and was for many years a member of The Sonoma Four, a group well-known for their plein air landscape painting, his recent canvases of dappled, often riotous, patchworks of color form vivid odes to his New York roots, from Croton to Columbia County, the Catskills to the Adirondacks.
Wednesday, August 18, 7pm
Virtual Tour of Collection Spotlight: Storied Quilts from the Hudson River Museum
Curator Laura Vookles focuses our attention on five of the most important quilts from the Museum’s collection of thirty examples of this art form. They range from the 1840s to the 1990s, from appliqued and pieced patterns made of printed cottons to whimsical designs made of jewel-toned satin and velvet. Vookles shares recent research into their well-documented histories that tell stories of their makers, their communities, and the times in which they lived.
Exhibition Gallery Activities
There will be a range of exhibition gallery activities throughout the summer including: creativity table with manipulatives and drawing materials with which to decorate quilt shape templates and design your own patterns with shapes and colors; scavenger hunt for shapes, colors, and patterns leading to a quilt of your own design; comfy reading corner with periodic Pop-Up Quilt Stories read by Junior Docents!
Press images for:
Wall Power! Spectacular Quilts from the American Folk Art Museum
Collection Spotlight: Storied Quilts From the Hudson River Museum
Richard Haas: Circles in Space
Jack Stuppin: The Beginning of My World
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