Being self-centered can be a healthy thing for an artist, if not a downright necessity. It’s brought out the best in a remarkable array of talent at the Hudson Opera House, where “Local Self Portraits” is currently on display through August 14. Curated by Richard Roth and inspired by a similar event held at the same venue in 1864 (that featured the work of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church among others), the exhibition is a first-rate sampling of the area’s bounty of contemporary artists. Slyly revealing works by Annie Liebovitz, Marina Abramovic, Donald Baechler (pictured top left), Lynn Davis (top center), and Richard Artschwager comfortably cohabitate with lesser known but equally adept practitioners of self-expression (above, works by Reggie Madison, Sedat Pakay, Musho Rodney Alan Greenblat, and Phyllis Hjorth). What is most revealing about the show perhaps is the way it seems to have cajoled the personal out of some of the most seemingly nonpersonal of artists, from cool abstractionists such as Ellsworth Kelly to the wonderfully neuraesthenic New Yorker cartoonist R.O. Blechman to Liebovitz herself.
“This show is about Hudson,” Roth says in his foreword to the handsome catalogue for the show, produced by Stair Auctions. “Nearly all of the artists signed on through casual meetings in the streets and galleries here. Some live and work in the area full time, other have weekend homes. ..
“Each artist has a unique way of looking at the world. Their gathering in the Opera House is … an enjoyable if sometimes rocky stroll through a succession of small universes.”
Has anyone ever explained the Hudson experience better? — Elizabeth Goldfarb Richardson
The Hudson Opera House, a multi arts center, is located at 327 Warren Street and is open from noon to five daily.
Another form of communal self expression—a city wide yard sale-will also be taking place in Hudson on July 17th, 9 am to 5 am. Out of the Closet invites merchants and residents of the town to sell their goods by setting up booths in front of participating storefronts on Warren Street and also at a site set aside at the city park at 7th and Warren Street. It should be a great opportunity to see what ‘s lurking in the basements and attics of some of the finest retailers in the country. –EGR