Mount Tremper Arts featured in The New York Times

Submitted by aynsleyv on Sun, 2010-07-18 23:02
Summary

"THE photographer Mathew Pokoik swears he didn’t choose this charming Catskills town as the home for an interdisciplinary festival because of its almost total lack of cellphone reception. 'Although it also makes for a perfect residency experience,' he added in an e-mail message about the summer-long event he founded with the choreographer Aynsley Vandenbroucke, his wife...."

Crickets, Bonfires And Dance Alfresco

Mathew Pokoik
 

The Mount Tremper Arts Festival is a summertime dance destination in the Catskills where cellphones aren’t much use.

By CLAUDIA LA ROCCO

Published: July 15, 2010

MOUNT TREMPER, N.Y.

THE photographer Mathew Pokoik swears he didn’t choose this charming Catskills town as the home for an interdisciplinary festival because of its almost total lack of cellphone reception.

“Although it also makes for a perfect residency experience,” he added in an e-mail message about the summer-long event he founded with the choreographer Aynsley Vandenbroucke, his wife.

Dance companies “tend to panic when they first get here, and then settle down to work without that distraction pretty quickly.”

What a luxury it is for artists and audiences to sink into a show knowing there won’t be a single electronic trill to break the spell. And how lovely to experience serious art while surrounded by nature.

The Mount Tremper Arts Festival is one of several events that allow New York dance enthusiasts to get a choreographic fix while escaping the city.

“There’s something about breathing the night sky while you’re dancing, or during the day when it’s super warm,” said Gretchen Smith, a corps dancer with New York City Ballet, which is performing in the open-air Saratoga Performing Arts Center through Saturday. (The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company will also perform there on July 28.) “You can see the people sitting in their seats with wide eyes. It’s a really cool experience.”

Saratoga Springs, Mount Tremper and Jacob’s Pillow, in Becket, Mass., are three of the summer’s most promising dance destinations. All offer plenty of small-town charm, with quirky shops and restaurants and outdoor activities galore to fill up a visitor’s off-theater hours.

As Katryn Geane, the Pillow’s marketing and communication coordinator, put it, there’s “quintessential Main Street cuteness” everywhere you look.

Mount Tremper

Whether the thought of a night in the mountains without cellphones inspires bliss or terror is a pretty good litmus test for how much you’ll enjoy a trip to Mount Tremper, a delightfully homespun but highbrow summer series running through Aug. 15 in Catskill Park. How do you spot the newly arrived tourists? Look for the folks wandering up and down the main drag of nearby Phoenicia, phones held aloft in a vain search for wireless hot spots.

For a more, er, lively distraction, try a short hike up the nearby Kaaterskill Falls. It’s an easy trek, but whether you make it to the top may depend on how deeply you dig into the mountainous stack of pancakes at Sweet Sue’s in Phoenicia. If hiking is out of the question, amble over to Homer and Langley’s Mystery Spot Antiques, a treasure trove of miscellany: homemade bric-a-brac, a decent selection of art books and even desiccated taxidermy.

The evenings are quickly filled with performances by the likes of Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People or Foofwa d’Imobilité, just a few of the interesting names that are making the young festival a draw. For a postshow bite, Mr. Pokoik cooks a mean pork belly, and there are often yummy things to sample (some plucked from the garden he maintains with Ms. Vandenbroucke) while sitting around a bonfire. Friday night conversations and in-progress showings include entire home-cooked meals.

Saratoga Springs

One of the chief pleasures of all of these areas is how far away they seem from Manhattan even though you can get there quickly. “It feels like an escape, but you’re close enough to the city so you’re not terribly inconvenienced,” the City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht said. Referring to the grounds surrounding the Saratoga theater, he added, “In the depths of the park you really feel you’re away from civilization.”

Visitors can get even farther away by renting a boat on Lake George. Keep an eye out for City Ballet dancers, who often spend free afternoons enjoying the water. Others prefer civilization when they’re not performing in, say, an all-Jerome Robbins program, as on Friday, or a mixed bill on Saturday. And Saratoga’s vintage spot, according to several dancers, is the Reruns Consignment Shop — “the best vintage store in the world,” Ms. Smith declared.

Jacob’s Pillow

Clothes-minded attendees at Jacob’s Pillow might consider staying in Lee, Mass., at the Appleton House Bed & Breakfast, which is run by Tamy Heeren. She’s also the proprietor of FancyPants Consignment Café, specializing in designer labels.

“I tend to be my own best customer,” Ms. Heeren said, laughing and twirling in a flowing green skirt. She also bakes delicious apple turnovers, served as part of a free breakfast at the Appleton.

But the must-try culinary experience near Jacob’s Pillow is at the storied Dream Away Lodge, a restaurant, bar and music spot tucked in the woods of Becket. Visitors are welcomed by a bonfire, the warm neon glow of a Coors Light sign (though the cocktails are the thing to order) and fabulously idiosyncratic décor: chicly mismatched table settings, eclectic art and indefinable knickknacks. I enjoyed fresh strawberries and cream on a tray and a tart gin concoction while listening to the folk singer-songwriter Gretchen Witt.

“It’s been described as Brigadoon,” said Daniel Osman, a former actor who has run the Dream Away since 1997, and who seems to know pretty much everyone — many of them artists — who walks in the door. GPS devices don’t even know how to find the lodge, as its Web site cautions. But Amy Loveless’s sophisticated menu would be at home in Manhattan.

In keeping with the festival’s natural setting, hiking and swimming are options during the day. The Appalachian Trail runs across Route 20 just south of Becket. Or visit the nearby Becket Land Trust Historic Quarry and Forest and walk the trail leading to a lake surrounded by dramatic rocky outcrops. The evenings, of course, are taken up with performances through Aug. 29. (Armitage Gone! Dance and the Pichet Klunchun Dance Company are scheduled this weekend, along with classes, free exhibitions and outdoor performances.)

One of the best things about seeing dance outside of New York is the chance to have more personal encounters with artists. One night at a Mount Tremper bonfire, I listened to the choreographers Nora Chipaumire and Souleymane Badolo and the drummer Obo Addy talk endearingly of their fears of harmless garden snakes. The next night I watched them perform “I Ka Nye,” a powerful cycle of duets, in the studio built by the festival. As night fell the mountains darkened to silhouettes, and the sound of crickets and bullfrogs drifted in through the open windows.

“You tend to forget how much beautiful nature there is really close to New York,” said Ivan Talijancic, a New York multidisciplinary artist who had come up to see the show. “We all need to get out more and hug trees.”

JACOB’S PILLOW DANCE FESTIVAL Through Aug. 29, 358 George Carter Road, Becket, Mass.; (413) 243-0745, jacobspillow.org; $10-$68 and more than 200 free events.

APPLETON HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST 455 Chapel Street, Lee, Mass.; (413) 243-9093, appletonhouse.com.

BECKET LAND TRUST HISTORIC QUARRY AND FOREST Hikes and more, 456 Quarry Road, Becket, Mass; (413) 623-2100, becketlandtrust.org.

DREAM AWAY LODGE 1342 County Road, Becket, Mass. Web site has driving directions; (413) 623-8725, thedreamawaylodge.com.

FANCYPANTS CONSIGNMENT CAFÉ 28 Park Street, Lee, Mass.; (413) 243-0011.

MOUNT TREMPER ARTS FESTIVAL Through Aug. 15; (845) 688-9893, mounttremperarts.org; all events, $15.

HOMER AND LANGLEY’S MYSTERY SPOT ANTIQUES 72 Main Street, Phoenicia, N.Y.; (845) 688-7868, lauralevine.com/mystery-spot.

KAATERSKILL FALLS TRAIL localhikes.com, search for “Kaaterskill Falls.”

SWEET SUE’S 49 Main Street, Phoenicia, N.Y.; (845) 688-7852.

CITY BALLET Through Saturday, Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; (518) 584-9330, spac.org; $18-$72.50.

DOCKSIDE LANDING Boat rentals, 47 Canada Street, Lake George, N.Y.; (518) 668-4300, lakegeorgeboats.com.

RERUNS CONSIGNMENT SHOP 1 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; (518) 583-9153.

Read online

Mount Tremper Arts featured in Woodstock Times

Submitted by aynsleyv on Thu, 2010-07-08 22:52
Summary

"Perched on a hillside above the Esopus Creek in Mount Tremper, there is a center for contemporary performance and visual art, dedicated to providing a rich and challenging environment where artists and audiences can stretch the limits of their understanding. The founders of Mount Tremper Arts (MTA), Mathew Pokoik and Aynsley Vandenbroucke, are young, energetic and daring...."

The hills are alive
Mount Tremper Arts offers tastes of contemporary dance, music, theater & barbecue

by Ann Hutton

Perched on a hillside above the Esopus Creek in Mount Tremper, there is a center for contemporary performance and visual art, dedicated to providing a rich and challenging environment where artists and audiences can stretch the limits of their understanding. The founders of Mount Tremper Arts (MTA), Mathew Pokoik and Aynsley Vandenbroucke, are young, energetic and daring. This duo - a photographer and a choreographer - toss around terms like "contextual discussions" and "theoretical anchor" and "intellectual curiosity;" and they promote experimental, boundary-pushing expressions in the artists whom they nurture and in the audience base whom they hope to reach as well. In addition to seasonal exhibitions, MTA offers lectures, classes, workshops, residencies and informal gatherings, all focused on the arts and artists.

Pokoik and Vandenbroucke dare us to explore the meaning of art and art-making. Their exhibitions are primarily artist-curated: a distinction that they say makes for a slightly different perspective. Artists offer the inside-of-process perspective, the differing relationships of living connections. Residencies are given to up to ten artists at a time throughout the year, for lengths of time from three nights to three weeks, during which time they have full access to the studio space.


The churchlike studio was designed to be a large rehearsal space and a small performance space. Vandenbroucke says, "The space is given over to one group at a time, with 24-hour access. For New York artists, this is so rare; nobody disturbs them. We support whatever they need to do in their process."

Pokoik emphasizes that this is an artist-run center. Almost everything presented at the Festival is, in part, worked on here, which he says forms a cohesive whole - the importance of solitude for the process of making art and the public aspect of presenting it. The couple describes how the work in which they're each involved in the City becomes a direct through-line to this community. Pokoik says that the artists who spend time at MTA represent the newest "downtown" work being made, even though Downtown has moved to Brooklyn or Berlin. "We're trying to bring the best and strongest work up here, the most exciting voices."

The third annual Summer Arts Festival opens with a free extravaganza event this Saturday, July 10 on the communal grounds of MTA, with a truly extravagant lineup of artists and performers. From 3 to 7 p.m., enjoy a multiplicity of works that includes NOX by Merce Cunningham Dance Company members Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener; ETHEL, a string quartet performing work by Terry Riley, John King, Phil Kline and Julia Wolfe; Event, performed by MCDC members; and at 6 p.m., a pig-roast. For $15, visitors can enjoy the succulence of the summer with portions of pork and/or terrific vegetarian dishes straight out of the garden.

This event is billed as kid-friendly; other exhibitions should be screened by parents. And did I say how important it is for them to elicit audience interaction? They want viewers to abandon fear of new work, and they even invite reviews from audience members (check their website for this opportunity).

MTA's impressive lineup of exhibitions, including contemporary dance, theatre, music and visual art, runs on Saturdays through August 15, with the opening reception for Seven Summits to be held on Friday, July 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. A group photography exhibition curated by Matthew Porter, the show features 14 pieces by seven artists: Michele Abeles, Shannon Ebner, Roe Ethridge, Miranda Lichtenstein, Arthur Ou, Michael Vahrenwald and Hannah Whitaker, each artist being represented by two works that reframe the tradition of expedition photography within their independent creative visions.

On Saturday, July 17 at 8 p.m., groundbreaking dance and music artist Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People present Untitled Project with Jenny Holzer but I'm not allowed to give it a name yet and HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE. On Saturday, July 24 at 8 p.m., it's the world premiere of Census by Will Rawls, named as one of the best dancers of 2008 by The New York Times. Rawls explores the idiosyncratic origins of movement, sound and language to see how these expressions formulate larger patterns of perception, meaning and storytelling.

Karinne Keithley performs a cycle of spoken tales with songs, dances and video productions in Montgomery Park, or Opulence on Saturday, July 31 at 8 p.m. A tribute to three fallen greats of dance is presented by Foofwa d'Imobilite in his Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam, to be performed on Saturday, August 7 at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday, August 8 at 3 p.m. This US premiere honors Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch and Merce Cunningham in a choreographic comedy. Lastly, Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly's Moving Theater performs Trio Triage on Saturday, August 14 at 8 p.m. Their collaborative work straddles contemporary dance, experimental theater and visual art performance.

Not the least of Pokoik and Vandenbroucke's offerings, their "Friday Night Food for the Arts Barbecues" will give visitors the opportunity to meet and greet the artists in residence at MTA over a community meal made fresh from an organic garden on the grounds. Weather permitting, these 7-to-9-p.m. gatherings will include a sunset watch and campfire. On Friday, July 23 meet Karinne Keithley of 53rd State Press, Ursula Eagly and Sara Smith, who will share their writings on the new wave of sincerity in dance. On July 30 the Katie Workum Dance Theater will stage excerpts from its work-in-progress, Herkimer Diamonds.

The first Friday in August will feature a choreographic duel between Cory Nakasue and Aynsley Vandenbroucke, plus a musical performance by new-media artist, writer and theorist Alan Sondheim. And on Friday, August 13 Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly discuss their work in relation to critical questions of contemporary performance practice.

Exhibits are open to the public by appointment and on Sundays after all events from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets for most events are $15, and are available in advance at www.smarttix.com, toll-free at (877) 238-5596 or at the door. A season pass offering admission to all performances and all Friday Food for the Arts Barbecues is available for $90. Mount Tremper Arts is located at 647 South Plank Road in Mount Tremper. For extensive details about the Summer Festival and other information, visit www.mounttremperarts.org or call (845) 688-9893.

see online version

Mount Tremper Arts featured in Chronogram Magazine

Submitted by aynsleyv on Mon, 2010-06-28 22:45
Summary

"Vandenbroucke and Pokoik, the founders and directors of Mount Tremper Arts, are themselves a “hybrid couple”: she's a choreographer, he's a photographer. At 33 and 35 respectively, they may be the youngest impresarios in the Hudson Valley—and among the most impressive...."

 

The Avant-Garde Invades Mount Tremper

 

Karinne Keithley in "Montgomery Park, or Opulence," part of the Mount Tremper Arts Festival.

Karinne Keithley in “Montgomery Park, or Opulence,” part of the Mount Tremper Arts Festival.

The term “avant-garde” is out of fashion. Matthew Pokoik and Aynsley Vandenbroucke use the phrase “hybrid artist,” referring to performers who combine dance, storytelling, visual art, and other forms. Hybrid artists will speak, gyrate, sing, and pirouette at the third Mount Tremper Arts Festival, beginning July 10. Vandenbroucke and Pokoik, the founders and directors of Mount Tremper Arts, are themselves a “hybrid couple”: she's a choreographer, he's a photographer. At 33 and 35 respectively, they may be the youngest impresarios in the Hudson Valley—and among the most impressive.

An all-day free celebration kicks off this year’s festival, including “NOX,” a collaboration between the writer Anne Carson and members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. ETHEL, the Juilliard-educated string quartet known for vigorous performances of contemporary composers, will play works by Terry Riley and Julia Wolfe. Then the Cunningham dancers and ETHEL will collectively perform a piece titled “Event.” The day will culminate in a meal featuring roast pig (for a fee). “The day is meant to encompass everything we do, from the finished, professional, polished work, to the work-in-progress, to a pig roast,” Pokoik remarks.

On July 17, Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People will dance with text projections in what Pokoik describes as an “untitled project with Jenny Holzer but I’m not allowed to give it a name yet.” (Holzer is a visual artist known for her “Truisms” such as ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE.) Gutierrez, who recently won a Guggenheim Fellowship, mobilizes dynamic groups of dancers, and (like many of us) has a love/hate relationship with pop culture.

On August 7 and 8, Foofwa d’Imobilité will present the US premiere of “Pina Jackson in Mercemoriam,” inspired by the deaths of three major figures in the dance world during a five-week period in 2009: Merce Cunningham, Pina Bausch, and Michael Jackson. In this satirical performance, d’Imobilité plays a 500-year-old Italian dancer-zombie who reenacts Dante’s voyages through hell, purgatory, and heaven, meeting the souls of the departed choreographers. The dancer does perfect imitations of the three stars. “He’s incredibly beautiful and meticulous physically, but also a clown,” Vandenbroucke notes. Following the Saturday night performance will be a Michael Jackson dance party.

This year the festival will inaugurate a Friday night series of meals, Food for the Arts Barbecues, serving local, grass-fed meat and vegetables from their three-quarter -acre garden. Along with the dinners will be lectures and presentations–including Vandenbroucke challenging Cory Nakasue to a “choreographic duel” (August 6). The directors envision an outdoor rural salon, like a cross between John Cage’s loft and Robin Hood’s hideout. “It’s been so valuable for us as artists ourselves working up here, and then watching other people come up here, where they unplug—like, the cellphones don’t even work!” Vandenbroucke observes, with a laugh.

The visual aspect of the festival is a photography exhibition, “Seven Summits,” featuring seven photographers, many of whom are inspired by the history of painting. The opening reception on July 16 is free, and will include slide shows, videos, and talks by the artists.

The Mount Tremper Arts Festival will run July 10 through August 15 at Mount Tremper Arts, 647 South Plank Road, Mount Tremper. (845) 688-9893; www.mounttremperarts.org.

Chrongram Magazine online

 

Exhibition Extended

Submitted by Mathew Pokoik on Sun, 2009-06-07 05:28
Summary

Simulacrum, Signs, and Stacks exhibit EXTENDED for the Williamsburg Gallery Association 2nd Friday Walk and the Northside Festival!
May 14 - June 14
Reception Friday, June 12th from 6-9p
Gallery open Thursday - Sunday, 12-6pm
through June 14th.

Simulacrum, Signs, and Stacks,

An exhibition of Photographs by Mathew Pokoik


©Mathew Pokoik

EXTENDED for the Williamsburg, Northside Festival!

Williamsburg Gallery Association 2nd friday walk.
Reception Friday, June 12th from 6-9pm

May 14 - June 14
Gallery open Thursday - Sunday, 12-6pm
through June 14th.

Exhibition is free and open to the public.

Spend the evening in Williamsburg or just drop by for a drink.
After after WGA party at My Moon bar.
Clink on the links below for more info on the Northside Festival
or the Williamsburg Gallery Association.

CPR - Center for Performance Research
361 Manhattan Ave.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
www.cprnyc.org


©Mathew Pokoik

Recent Press

Submitted by Mathew Pokoik on Wed, 2009-05-20 05:17
Summary

We've had some excellent recent press (and a collective audience review) for our off site Spring Season at CPR - Center for Performance Research, in Williamsburg Brooklyn and for our upcoming summer festival at MTA...

We've had some excellent recent press (and a collective audience review) both for the upcoming Summer Festival and for our Spring Season at CPR - Center for Performance Research, in Williamsburg Brooklyn:

WNYC, Art Cult
Performance Club: Collective Criticism
By Caudia La Rocca

"More often than not these days, when I open a program at a dance performance I find some version of “choreographed in collaboration with the performers.”So it was on Saturday night at the Center for Performance Research, where the Aynsley Vandenbroucke Movement Group performed “3 Dancers, 4 Chairs, 26 Words” (presented in partnership with “Simulacrum, Signs, and Stacks,” a photography exhibition by Mathew Pokoik, Aynsley’s husband)"

Read More and join the online conversation, the collective audience review


The New York Times
Dance In Review

"Ms. Vandenbroucke creates clear, pared-down movement — walking and turning, gestures to the side, a hand to the face — that works well with the allusive, associative piece, lighted with shadowy care (and huge Kara Walker-like shadows) by Nelson R. Downend Jr. “3 Dancers” is modest in its aims. But it has an integrity that many grander projects don’t achieve."
-Roslyn Sulcas, May 15, 2009

Read More


 The Village Voice
Summer Guide: Mount Tremper Arts Festival

"New Yorkers get a reason to escape upstate for some downtown art. It's closer than Jacob's Pillow."
-Brian Seibert, May 12, 2009

Read More


The New York Times
Summer Stages: Dance

"In true do-it-yourself New Yorker fashion, the choreographer Aynsley Vandenbroucke and the photographer Mathew Pokoik have started a multidisciplinary arts center in the Catskills, complete with residencies and this festival. Who doesn’t want to escape to the Catskills? Artists like robbinschilds and the Collective Opera Company are just the icing on the cake.
-Claudia La Rocco, May 8, 2009

 

 

SIGNS panel discussion, audience reflection by Shea Settimi

Submitted by Mathew Pokoik on Wed, 2008-08-20 09:30
Summary

“…This was back in the 70’s. I was sitting with my dad and his friends in a cloud of blue pot smoke looking at cigarette ads for subliminal messages. That’s how I learned about photography—that there could be a lot of meaning packed into a photographic image, whether it’s real or not.” Thus began “SIGNS and the Language of Photography,” the final installment in Mt. Tremper Arts’s Thursday Night Lecture Series. The above quote is from Tim Davis, who along with Lisa Kereszi and Mathew Pokoik (who curated SIGNS) showed slides of their work and talked about how and why they photograph signs....

with Tim Davis, Lisa Kereszi, and Mathew Pokoik

Reflection by Shea Settimi

“…This was back in the 70’s. I was sitting with my dad and his friends in a cloud of blue pot smoke looking at cigarette ads for subliminal messages. That’s how I learned about photography—that there could be a lot of meaning packed into a photographic image, whether it’s real or not.”

Thus began “SIGNS and the Language of Photography,” the final installment in Mt. Tremper Arts’s Thursday Night Lecture Series. The above quote is from Tim Davis, who along with Lisa Kereszi and Mathew Pokoik (who curated SIGNS) showed slides of their work and talked about how and why they photograph signs.

Signs communicate. Photographs communicate. But what does a photograph of a sign communicate? Davis showed a slide of a photograph he made of a huge red painting of the United States, inexpertly rendered on the side of an abandoned building. “It’s the perfect symbol of America,” said Davis. “A distorted, stretched-out, blood-red map of the US used to cover up a failed business venture.”

©Tim Davis, "McDonalds In Clover"

©Tim Davis,

The discussion reminded me of a cruise I took with my family in Alaska. Out of all the majestic natural beauty that I saw, what I ended up taking pictures of were the signs on the cruise ship. Signs telling one what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet, telling one how to indicate a desire for fresh towels, telling one where to go in case of an emergency. My amusement and confusion at these signs created the photographs as much as my Canon PowerShot digital camera did.

“I had a professor who said I didn’t have the love of language to be a poet,” said Lisa Kereszi. “He drove me right into the arms of the photography department. But I never lost my fascination with language.”

Kereszi showed a series of photos in her slide show that didn’t look like signs at all. One was a straight-on shot of a brushed stainless steel water fountain. The photograph lacked text, but all the same seemed to scream: WATER FOUNTAIN. “I get kind of myopic,” Kereszi said of her process. “It’s like I’ve been dropped into this place to see this thing and show it to people.”

The artists took questions and comments from the audience. Marcel Duchamp’s name was brought up more than once. “Ready-made [art] paved the way for photography,” said Kereszi. “Everything is sort of there, and it’s your experience that makes you notice it and want to communicate it. It’s a shift from the artist-as-creative-genius to the artist-as-looking-at-something-in-the-world.”

Mathew Pokoik showed slides of photographs he’s made in different parts of the world: a pile of brightly colored athletic-type bags that create a sort of mosaic. Another photograph showed a riot of hanging t-shirts of every color. Another was a mind-bending pastiche of images hanging in a sales kiosk—a picture of a Caucasian baby wearing a Santa hat in one corner, traditional Indian deities occupying the center.

Pokoik talked about the art photographer versus the photographer who is entering the world as it happens. “I began wondering—are these distinctions still relevant? All photographs are illusions yet we have an implicit trust in the veracity of images even in our modern digital age.”

Pokoik’s photographs evoke the strange bedfellows that globalization creates. A billboard of a lightened and airbrushed Beyoncé looms over a crowd of Asian pedestrians, blurred in their movements. He asked, “How does the media and image-culture create the tenuous but powerful illusion of centrality?”

The panel participants were refreshingly articulate, talking about their work and about photography in a way that even a layperson such as myself could appreciate. Towards the end of the discussion, the question of the photographer’s judgment of his or her subject came up. Pokoik, referencing the Walker Evans photograph of an early twentieth century minstrel poster that is on display in the SIGNS show, questioned whether the artist who captures and communicates a slice of contemporary reality is making a judgment about his subject at all.

This, to me, is the most intriguing issue that the lecture—and that photography and art in general—raised for me: Is it even possible to separate the artist’s mind from the mind of the person who looks at the photograph? Or to separate the artist’s mind from the subject he or she is photographing? It seems to me that in creating a work of art and seeing a work of art, these boundaries are not clear, perhaps not even there at all. And to attribute an attitude or judgment to the artist seems slippery when looked at more deeply. Where does one’s experience of a work of art come from? What is it? And in photographs especially, the ideas of time and space also seem to slip away as the conditions that caused the artist to open the shutter in that particular place, at that particular time, resonate in my present experience of seeing it.

STACKS by Anne Carson, Peter Cole, and Jonah Bokear

Submitted by Mathew Pokoik on Mon, 2008-08-04 09:30
Summary
Audience Review

By Mika Dashman

Last night I attended a performance by dancer/choreographer Jonah Bokaer and poet Anne Carson. I have seen plenty of mixed-media performance events over the years and I find they often suffer from a certain imbalance, where one aspect of what is going on on stage captures the attention much more than the other. This was not such an occasion. In two pieces “Falling” & “Stacks” the choreographer and the writer collaborated with a sculptor, Peter Cole.

STACKS at Mount Tremper Arts

STACKS at Mount Tremper Arts

The stage was filled with stacks of cardboard boxes which were stacked, re-stacked, knocked down and manipulated in a a wide variety of ways by the dancers...

Audience Review

By Mika Dashman

Last night I attended a performance by dancer/choreographer Jonah Bokaer and poet Anne Carson. I have seen plenty of mixed-media performance events over the years and I find they often suffer from a certain imbalance, where one aspect of what is going on on stage captures the attention much more than the other. This was not such an occasion. In two pieces “Falling” & “Stacks” the choreographer and the writer collaborated with a sculptor, Peter Cole.

STACKS at Mount Tremper Arts

STACKS at Mount Tremper Arts

The stage was filled with stacks of cardboard boxes which were stacked, re-stacked, knocked down and manipulated in a a wide variety of ways by the dancers. In Falling Ms. Carson wove memories of her father and stories from her father’s life with musings on the idea of falling while Mr. Bokaer executed slow and meditative movements around her. In Stacks, the themes in the writing were more far reaching–from Jezebel to garbage in Detroit–and spun around various concepts of stacks. Ms. Carson’s reading voice was monotone, and her themes repetitive enough that it didn’t overwhelm or distract from the movement on stage. The movement was precise yet playful and all four of the dancers were a joy to watch. The dancers worked together in a tight ensemble, that much more impressive when it was revealed in the post-show Q&A that they’d only had 2 prior rehearsals.

Mt. Tremper Arts (MTA) is a testament to the vision and commitment of it’s founders/creators, Matt & Aynsley. I met Aynsley in 1999 when we shared a small West Village apartment with an assortment of other dancer-types. Although we lived together for less than a year, we shared many late-night, talks over cups of tea in our tiny kitchen about the act of creating a life and sustaining a creative life and how to build community. I have watched Aynsley’s vision grow over the years and merge with Matt’s. This beautiful oasis at the base of Mt. Tremper seems to embody their energy and ambition as individuals and as a team. Aynsley has always believed that if you create a welcoming and nurturing space (something she’s exceptionally good at), the artists will come. This is clearly the case. But what I found especially touching was the words of praise and appreciation offered by the artists when they were given the opportunity to comment about their experience of working at MTA after the performance. For New York City artists in particular, this place is a real gift. Without exception, all of the performers had carved time out of their very hectic schedules to travel Upstate and work and play together in this idyllic studio/performance/gallery space. Hats off to Aynsley and Matt! Your dream-come-true is a blessing for the artists who come to create and perform and for all the arts-lovers in the area (and there are many).
-Mika Dashman
(Raised in Woodstock/Mt. Tremper, resides in Manhattan)

SIGNS

Submitted by aynsleyv on Tue, 2008-07-29 09:30
Summary

SIGNS

July 19 - August 31, 2008

Curated by Mathew Pokoik

Featuring: Tim Davis, Shannon Ebner, Lisa Kereszi, John Lehr, Christian Patterson, Mathew Pokoik, Zoe Strauss, Brian Ulrich, along with Stephen Shore and Walker Evans.

Additional resources about SIGNS and its artists will be posted throughout the festival.

.

Stephen Shore
Amarillo, Texas July, 1972
5″ x 7.5″, C-print
Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York City

July 19 - August 31, 2008

Curated by Mathew Pokoik

Featuring: Tim Davis, Shannon Ebner, Lisa Kereszi, John Lehr, Christian Patterson, Mathew Pokoik, Zoe Strauss, Brian Ulrich, along with Stephen Shore and Walker Evans.

Additional resources about SIGNS and its artists will be posted throughout the festival.

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Stephen Shore
Amarillo, Texas July, 1972
5″ x 7.5″, C-print
Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York City

Mathew Pokoik
Mexico City, 2007
24″ x 30″, C-Print

Lisa Kereszi
“Fun N Games”
20″ x 24″, C-print
Courtesy of the artist

Shannon Ebner,
“RAW WAR”
16″ x 20″, Gelatin-silver print, AP
Courtesy of Wallspace, New York City

Christian Patterson
“New Century Lighting, New York, NY, July 2007″
48″ x 60″, C-print
Courtesy of the artist

Lisa Kereszi
“Thrilling, Exciting, Spinetingling”
20″ x 24″, C-print
Courtesy of the artist

Zoe Strauss
“We Love Having You Here”
32″ x 22″, Ink jet print
Courtesy of the artist

Brian Ulrich
“Is This Place Great Or What!”
48″ x 60″, C-print
Courtesy of the artist and Julie Saul Gallery, New York City

Christian Patterson
“Book of Stones, Woodstock, NY, September 2007″
20″ x 16″, C-print
Courtesy of the artist

Tim Davis
“Ciao”
48″ x 381/2″, Ink jet print
Courtesy of the artist and Greenberg Van Doren Gallery

Mathew Pokoik
“Eden, Berlin, 2007″
24″ x 30″, C-print

Tim Davis
“McDonalds In Clover”
41″ x 321/2″, Ink jet print
Courtesy of the artist and Greenberg Van Doren Gallery

John Lehr
“Ripped Billboard, 2006″
40″ x 30″, C-print
Courtesy of the artist and Kate Werble Gallery

Walker Evans
Minstrel Poster, Alabama 1936
17″ x 21″, Gelatin Silver print