Cutting Edge Exhibit Down by the Riverside
by Betsy Miller
Picture Shirley Bassey singing her hit song This is My Life in one of her dramatic costumes. Now imagine her singing the same song at different points in her career, all captured on video that has been fragmented by an artist, who further fractures the images with disco ball mirrors and projections on uneven brick walls. This is a rough description of a kaleidoscopic piece by Conrad Ventur, one of 51 artists who will be participating in NADA Hudson, an art exhibition taking place at the Basilica on July 30 and 31.
Heather Hubbs, Director of NADA, the New Art Dealers Alliance, says of the membership, “They are art professionals who share resources, networking, and education opportunities.” The exhibition in Hudson will include sculpture, installations, videos and performance pieces and will occupy nearly 8,000 square feet of indoor space, the theater and over 10,000 square feet of outdoor space as well. Artists from the U.S., Canada and Europe will be showing, several having developed site-specific works for this show.
The site was suggested by NADA Vice President James Fuentes, who heard about it from one of the artists he represents, sculptor Bill Stone, a co-owner of the Basilica. Other principals in the Basilica are Stone’s son, the filmmaker Tony Stone, Tony’s partner, the musician and performance artist Melissa Auf Der Maur, and Bill’s wife, Nancy Stone, a ceramicist.
“It made a lot of sense,” says Hubbs. “The Basilica is across from the Hudson train station. The town is close by, walkable, and has a large number of art galleries. We think it’s an easy way for folks to get out of New York City for a couple days and see some great art.”
Auf Der Maur is hoping to build this event into a destination “like Art Basil Miami.”—a lofty ambition considering that NADA Miami, in its 8th year, attracts 20,000 people annually whereas Art Basel Miami draws 46,000.
Though they’ve already held several events at the Basilica, the co-owners consider the NADA art fair to be their official “soft opening.” They’ve done a lot of prep—installing a crowd-sized restroom, to name just one upgrade. But there is still plenty to be done, including a planned exterior landscaping that promises to link the picturesque 19th-century industrial site to its view, a glorious sweep of the Hudson River and the Catskills. “Nancy [Stone] has an incredible garden in Germantown,” says Auf Der Maur. “She’s planning on making the surroundings here just as spectacular.”
The Basilica has a number of events scheduled for the remainder of this year, including the Hudson MusicFest in August, film nights with Director Q & As, and fundraisers for the Opera House and Walking the Dog Theatre. At the moment, however, the owners are focusing on NADA Hudson, which is expected to draw thousands of people to their doors.
“I read a statistic that 70% of the artists in the New York Art Biennial were from New York State and of those, 50% were based upstate,” Auf Der Maur says. “That says a lot about the New York art scene. We think the art world is gravitating towards Hudson.” Using the Basilica as a hub for this creative community is exactly what the owners have in mind. “We have an incredible investment in this waterfront property. With our blood, sweat and tears, we are hoping to build a beautiful creative community down here.”
110 S. Front Street, Hudson
Saturday & Sunday, July 30 & 31; 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.