Lives of the Hudson explores the long history of one of America’s greatest rivers. Four themes have guided the organization of this exhibition: the natural river, the imagined river, the human river, and the working river.
Along with important works by Hudson River School painters, Lives of the Hudson presents objects of material culture, science, and recent art by Bob Braine and Leslie Reed, Matthew Buckingham, Margaret Cogswell, Maxine Henryson, Yvonne Jacquette, Kysa Johnson, Michael Light, Annea Lockwood, Alan Michelson, Jason Middlebrook, and An My-Lê. We have combined information about the river from physical descriptions to the human effects of tourism and industry, with provocative images by contemporary artists who ask us to reconsider our use of the river and our relationships with nature and history.
The exhibition’s focus is the last two hundred years and thus presents an intersection of contrasting and varied stories – environmental, historical, and individual – whose journeys all lead back to the Hudson itself.
The stories told here raise numerous questions about the Hudson’s many lives. We invite you to consider them as you look with a renewed vision at a river that has flowed through millennia of geological and ecological history and centuries of civilization and culture.
Curated by Ian Berry, Susan Rabinowitz Malloy ’45 Curator, and Tom Lewis, Professor of English, Skidmore College, Lives of the Hudson is presented with major exhibition support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Getty Foundation, the Tadahisa Kuroda Exhibition Fund, the Virginia Gooch Puzak ’44 Faculty Curatorial Endowment, and Friends of the Tang, with additional support from The Henry R. Luce Foundation and the Creative Thought Fund at Skidmore.
Special thanks to the following Skidmore faculty members for their counsel and contributions to this project, including wall texts and catalogue essays: Peg Boyers, Terence Diggory, Judith Halstead, Mimi Hellman, Robert Jones, Karen Kellogg, Gregory Pfitzer, and Rik Scarce.
Thanks also to other writers and scholars whose thoughts and words have helped shape the project: Robert Boyle, Akiko Busch, John Cronin, Kathryn Davis, Carolyn Forche, Larry Hott, Ginny Kollak, Fred LeBrun, Phillip Lopate, Rick Moody, Tom Sleigh, John Stilgoe, and Paul Tucker.
Thanks to the many lenders to the exhibition and to Tang curatorial assistant Kristen Boyle for her dedication to this project.