2000-01-15 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance

by Susan Hartenstein


Views from the roof of P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center. (Photo by D. Macrae, RAA)

Queens Museum of Art is an important resource of which many may not be aware. Located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, it is housed in the New York City Building, one of the few major structures left from the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs. Recently renovations have expanded the gallery spaces to allow the presentation of exhibitions with broad cultural and historical significance and extensive installations of contemporary art.

Queens is a borough of great ethnic and cultural diversity and QMA presents 20th Century and contemporary art that reflects this and that emphasizes a connection to our borough. Included in the museum’s permanent collection are works by 20th Century artists such as Joseph Cornell and Reginald Marsh, recent photographic acquisitions and significant works by artists such as Grace Hartigan and Theodore Roszak. In March 2000, QMA is introducing "Queens Focus", six one-person shows for Queens artists only. The museum asks artists, architects, designers, video and filmmakers living and/or working in Queens to send slides/tapes and/or specific proposals for review by a committee of jurors. The deadline is May 15, 2000. "Community Space" will provide a venue for Queens non-profit community organizations and institutions and artists’ groups to present small exhibitions of community interest. For application requirements, contact the museum. September/October will see "Community Space" present an annual Small Works Members Exhibition. Unjuried, this "Many Colored Artworks" will be an equal opportunity exhibit for all members of QMA. For details, contact Jenny Shannon at the museum.

The Bulova Corporate Center in Jackson Heights is a satellite space of QMA. The museum is requesting, for curatorial review, proposals and /or slides or other supporting materials from artists, architects, designers, video and filmmakers who live/work within the greater New York area. Deadline is May 15, 2000. For further details contact the museum.

First Thursdays is a series initiated in November. On the first Thursday of each month, QMA presents an evening of art, music, great food and drink, films and art games. From 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., the visitor can enjoy all this in addition to viewing museum exhibitions. February 3 and March 2 are the next First Thursday dates. QMA also offers lectures, workshops, concerts and more. Notice of some upcoming exhibits and events will appear in this column.

Speaking of First Thursdays, RAA participated in the January 6 event. Designed and coordinated by Denis Macrae, the presentation featured four slide projectors throwing images onto various surfaces. One of those surfaces was the graceful dancing body of Joanne Ellis, thus proving that the human boy is the best canvas. Images included RAA artworks, illustrating to all present the talent in our organization. Simultaneously, Mistaish spun a blend of drum n’ bass and acid-jazz. Education workshops were being held and delicious foods were being consumed. All this made for a total experience of "theater", fed by the energy of the live audience and by the open, grand space of the museum. The huge windows allowed a breathtaking close-up view of the Unisphere. Visitors and participants seized the opportunity to view various exhibits in this unique museum.

"Modern Odysseys: Greek American Artists of the 20th Century" runs through January 30. It explores the complex influences of the modern and the ancient, the Greek and the American, on these artists from the 1920’s to the present. I found myself particularly drawn to the sculptural pieces of Peter Voulkos, which broke up space in interesting ways and to the literally fluid sculptures of Lynda Benglis. Viewers will stand with mouth agape, looking at QMA’s permanent exhibit of art glass produced at the Tiffany Studios in Corona, Queens. These are exquisite works which, in their design, color and subtlety of texture, display grandeur revealed through light. "Panorama of the City of New York", also a permanent exhibit, is the world’s largest architectural scale model. It includes nearly every structure in this city (probably including your own house) and will "blow your mind".

This is only a partial listing of the pleasures and opportunities to be found at the Queens Museum of Art. Explore them and others, for yourself.

And now, for the moment for which you have all been waiting—the answers to last week’s first "Rockaway Artists Alliance Test Your Art Knowledge Quiz".

  1. Camille Pissarro
  2. Rebirth
  3. Encaustic on canvas. In encaustic, pigments are suspended in hot wax.
  4. A lion
  5. Burnt siena (or sienna). Siena is the city.
  6. Kinetic art
  7. "Lust for Life"
  8. van Rijn (or Ryn)
  9. Mary Cassatt
  10. None. These were obviously impressionists who insisted upon working in only natural light.

How did you do? See you next week…



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