Based on the number of artists represented, the 20e The annual Saugerties Artist Studio Tour has the second highest number of artists represented, organizer Barbara Bravo said.
The tour, spread throughout the town of Saugerties, is scheduled for the weekend of August 13-14; a preview, “Art in the Barn,” opened July 15 and will run through July 31 at Dutch Barn at Kiersted House, located at 119 Main Street. Although it is difficult to estimate the number of people attending a changing event like the opening of the art, the barn was full and many people gathered on the lawn outside before or after seeing the art inside. Bravo said usual attendance for previous tours had been estimated at around 200 people; this year’s attendance seemed much larger.
The art on the tour, a small sample of which was on display, runs the gamut from painting and photography to sculpture, including some that wouldn’t fit in an indoor display, such as the large outdoor sculptures by Michael Ciccone. Ciccone also creates smaller works, one of which is included in the exhibition at the Dutch Barn.
Interest in the arts in Saugerties has grown, with many new residents of New York moving to the Hudson Valley to escape Covid. Also among the new residents are new artists, who were hoping to join the tour, Bravo said. “We had to put four artists on the roster for next year,” she said. Over the past 20 years, the tour has earned a reputation for attracting excellent artists.
Ana Bergen described her painting “After the Storm” as a dreamscape based on the scene of real storms. Bergen also had photographs in the barn’s collection; the photos looked as much like paintings as the paintings around them. The “cityscape” buildings appear abstract, but the work is a photograph. “When you look at these water towers, you never know what you’ll find,” Bergen said. Glare reflected from the lights appeared in the image; “I don’t really like glass,” she says.
Joan Reinmuth, who has been on the tour in the past but hasn’t exhibited her work this year, said “this was the year to be on it.”
The question of how to define art arose later, when Reinmuth said she had a coffee mug from the tour that she had been using for years. Is it art, if used every day? “You’re bringing up a subject that comes to blows,” Bravo said. Gus Pedersen gave the Metropolitan Museum of Art as an example. “Find me a room without furniture,” he said. He noted that “some people say if you can use it, it’s craftsmanship. If you can’t use it, it’s art,” a formulation he disagrees with. “It’s an interesting and unanswerable discussion.”