Woodstock School of Art’s Off the Wall exhibition chooses from private collections


Florence Ballin Cramer, Woodstock Farm, Oil, ch. 1920s, 14.5 x 17.5, courtesy of Gordon Taylor, Aileen Cramer Collection.

“One of the pleasures of visiting friends at home is the opportunity to view personal art collections,” write Paula Nelson and John Kleinhans in the introduction to their catalog for the new exhibition they have organized. for the Woodstock School of Art, Off The Walls: Works from the collections of our patrons, which opens on Saturday October 21 for a race until December 16.

Outside the walls carefully weaves several cultural strands of Woodstock. It demonstrates the classic sense of city style, of the sublimely inspired, designed and crafted art that the people who are drawn here want to support, and additionally wish to have to see in their homes. It shows how art students become artists and collectors, and vice versa; the cultivated world is its own supporting ecosystem. And it further shows how this all-encompassing aesthetic has developed to incorporate both history and contemporary stages, including artists outside of the direct Woodstock medium.

Nelson and Kleinhans describe themselves as “artists associated with the Woodstock School of Art since the founding of the school”. Nelson is a former chairman of the board who served as the registrar of the WSA for many years. Kleinhans is a photographer who, like his wife and partner, has also been a WSA student, volunteer, exhibitor, program director, board member and curator of five previous Art School exhibitions, as well than at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum. They have led the WSA Saturday Artist Slide Series for 25 years and have served as administrators of the WSA Artist Residency Program and WSA National and Regional Exhibitions. They have been considered key members of the local art scene for decades now.

“We’ve been working on this exhibit for a year now,” Nelson said in a recent telephone interview.

“We were volunteers by the board,” added Kleinhans unmoved.

The two noted how they decided to further develop the many people who have given to make the School of Art what it is today, a proud continuation of the Student League of Northern Artists experience. from the state that helped Woodstock become the long-time attraction of artists that has cemented its reputation to this day. . Major donors were honored not only for the amounts donated, but also for the types of donations (including homes, estates and years). Representing some of the collections of previous donors meant working through WAAM or other institutions.

“It was a much bigger business than we anticipated,” Nelson said. “But also an opportunity to see very great art.”

What is in Outside the walls, the couple added, includes never or little seen treasures, including some prints by George Bellows; one created by Byrdcliffe co-founder Bolton Brown; a Roy Lichtenstein; loads of jewels and sculptures by Julio De Diego, and a large and memorable painting by Gene Ludins of urban boys with birds. There is great work by Ed Chavez and an exquisite gem of an evening meditation by John Carlson; a small John Sloan, and various works of the Kuniyoshi and Cramer families. A modern mixed-use piece by Dutch artist Tjibbe Hooghiemstra, and other works created over the past 20 years, give the entire show an added dynamism that recalls Woodstock’s awareness of his place in a world of broader art, while specializing in what has made its legacy of decades of artistic hard work. A portrait of a young Kleinhans by his mother, and one of Nelson as a young woman, give a wonderful personal touch to anyone on display.

“We were aiming for something a little weird, a little unusual,” Kleinhans said.

“There were tons of things we wished we could have included, but we didn’t have room for it,” Nelson added.

What is there, however, is a perfect display of Woodstock as a center of the arts, full of its own aesthetic but also appreciative of others. And always a place to give art and artists a real home.

Off The Walls: Works from the collections of our patrons opens at the Woodstock School of Art, located on Route 212 just east of the village of Woodstock, with a reception on Saturday afternoon, October 21 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, drop by the school, call 845-679-2388 or visit www.woodstockschoolofart.org


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