2020 in Art
Season 10: Year in Review
A message from Melissa Auf der Maur, Basilica Hudson Co-Founder and Director:
“What role does art play in joy, change and cultural movements?
I grew up in the City of Montreal where it felt like art was everywhere and from everywhere. All cultures, shapes and sizes on the streets, in the schools, on the big stages and walls, to the underground ones. We founded Basilica Hudson in 2010 as an “art factory” in an industrial landscape, to be a place that immerses people in the experience and discovery of art and expression.
The last decade, and of course the dramatic shift we have all experienced in the last year, has changed us. We do not take this change in the world lightly; there is such important work to be done to listen and unite the many voices and people of our community.
We are reimagining and reflecting on what Basilica can be in the next decade for Hudson and this region. Between the climate crisis, the social and economic inequity crisis and the devastating impacts of COVID yet to be fully understood, there is big work to be done. But one thing is certain: ART can be a part of the solution in bringing us together.
Looking back on last year’s season, we thank the artists who took on our building to raise questions and offer connection. Art has the power to transform and our commitment to being a platform for independent artists was fortified in 2020.” – Melissa Auf der Maur, Basilica Hudson Co-Founder and Director
With so many other aspects of Basilica programming put on hold, art at Basilica moved OUTSIDE in 2020 to allow for immersive experiences in times of social distancing. Visual artists brought us ambitious and striking pieces that met both the challenges and opportunities of this moment in our changing world.
KRIS PERRY: MOTHER EARTH
Longtime Basilica friend and collaborator Kris Perry returned to our campus to once again showcase the might and captivating presence of steel sculpture on a grand scale. In the spring and summer months of 2020, Perry’s Mother Earth adorned our lawn in all its 35′ tall CorTen steel beauty.
The sculpture combines skyward directed elements common in temples, mosques, and churches with the open columned spaces seen in Classical Greek public buildings. Mother Earth’s upward reaching spire represents a moral compass and is reflected by an inverse spire, focused towards the Earth. This outdoor installation commanded quiet self reflection, guiding visitors through its columns to contemplate their relationship to the natural world. In the early months of the pandemic, we were grateful to offer our community a moment to connect with Basilica, the Earth and each other when we could not physically be together in our halls.
“Since its inception, Basilica has proven itself a thriving hub for the arts in the Hudson Valley. A multinational array of artists, makers, and other creatives have worked in this venue; it has proven to be a welcoming place for all, and has become the epicenter of a vibrant community…I hope that during its stay at Basilica Hudson, Mother Earth will serve as symbol of hope and a testament to resilience in the days ahead.” – Kris Perry
As a part of the Basilica Installation Series, flags from the ongoing Brooklyn-based project Grand Flag cloaked Basilica’s North facade for the month of October. These 10 artist-designed flags by Justin Amrhein, K.K. Kozik, Lee Boroson, Laura Miller Tomaselli, James Esber, Bob Seng, Jane Fine, Katro Storm, David Humphrey and Deborah Zlotsky promote the free expression of art and ideas in a public space, encouraging viewers to engage in their right to free speech.
These evocative flags on the backdrop of our industrial brick exterior brought a vibrant and poignant display of creativity to our factory. As a platform for independent artists, Basilica was proud to display the work of creative minds pushing the boundaries of public discourse.
ANITA GLESTA: WATERSHED
Multi-media artist Anita Glesta brought WATERSHED, a large-scale video installation, to the Hudson waterfront, projected from Basilica onto the industrial concrete buttress building across the train tracks. The projection showed mesmerizing images of swimming fish that enveloped the harsh concrete in a blanket of serenity and color.
WATERSHED created a new kind of public art initiative, highlighting how climate change impacts our lives in intimate ways, from the food we eat, to where we can live and our emotional health. This installation bore witness to a symbolic resurrection of the relationship between water and land on the Hudson shortline.
Basilica has long been committed to the sanctity and preservation of the Hudson waterfront, which, as a delicate ecosystem, faces constant threat. Glesta discussed WATERSHED in detail and the role of public art in imagining the future with Back Gallery Artist In Residence Mary Mattingly as a part of the Basilica Conversation Series, which you can watch here.
MARY MATTINGLY: ECOTOPIAN LIBRARY
In our first 2020 installment of Hudson As Muse Basilica Back Gallery Artist in Residence Series, Mary Mattingly forged an Ecotopian Library from within Basilica, creating a toolkit of artwork, fossils from the Eocene era pointing towards regenerative future forestry, almanacs for assisted plant migration with changing climates, poetry, ecosophical manifestos intended to integrate an ecological ethics into practice, and more, to help cultivate systemic social change in the City of Hudson.
With fostering a sustainable community at the heart of our mission, we were proud to launch into our first NEA Art Works Visual Arts Grant with such a Hudson-focused residency. Mattingly’s work was also supported and created in collaboration with Toolshed.
“The Ecotopian Library brings together the work of object-makers, farmers, philosophers, ecologists, librarians, indigenous knowledge holders, and neighbors to build stories contributing pathways towards regenerative ecological futures.” – Mary Mattingly
Thank you to all the Basilica artists and allies who generously donated cherished works of art to our Kickstarter campaign: Mary Mattingly, Annie Bielski, LikeMindedObjects, Jim Krewson, James Esber, Dylan Kraus, Haley Josephs, Kris Perry and Sayler/Morris.
Supporters: National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, Toolshed
Photos: Basilica Hudson by Camphill Village for 24-HOUR DRONE in 2018, Mother Earth by Allison Young, Grand Flag by Allison Young, WATERSHED by Antia Glesta, Mary Mattingly by Angelina Dreem