Going to Woodstock is kind of like entering this parallel universe, untouched by time. If it weren’t for modern cars that roll down Tinker Street, for a moment, I might think that I had entered 1969. Woodstock is still the place for hedonists with an interest in activism. Much of the same music is still shared and sold around town and depending on which scraggly local you encounter, tie-dye is still the rage. What you’ll find in Woodstock may be a little hokie—more costume, imitation hippie, than what was really seen or worn during the greatest festival of all-time. Still, it is the remembrance for the decade and the spirit of peace and love, which keeps this small-town alive.
One thing that does always change about Woodstock is the art. In front of a store selling zen essentials was this unusual mosaic sculpture tiled with random knick knacks such as I Love Lucy memorabilia and doll parts.
Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild 34 Tinker Street Woodstock, NY 12498
One of my favorite galleries I’ve ever been to is the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild’s Kleinert/JamesArts Center. The space itself is extremely modest; the gallery is essentially a one-room home-y space, curating local Catskill work. However, it is here that I have encountered some of the most refreshing and magical art moments over the years. Their latest installation (which just finished on August 12th, 2012), “Beautiful Garbage” was suffice to say one of their best. One of the first pieces I noticed when walking into Byrdcliffe were the trash bag vignettes that were painted, collaged, and weaved into by artist Josh Blackwell, to give the illusion of fabric. Trash bags are so ubiquitous---common at any convenience store or department store, but I love how Blackwell makes them alive again with new vigor.
As a writer, I’m occasionally asked to review art openings, and the art that strikes me most are one with a story. I think it’s so interesting to think about the trajectory of trash, where it’s been, who it’s been with, and how it ended up here. Like, if your trash could talk, what story would it say? In our culture there’s a certain dissociation between the person and their trash, that once we discard of it it’s no longer in our possession, but trash makes, among other things, such a big eco-logical footprint, that we should really be looking at it more personally. I really did fall in love with the exhibit. It’s a perfect example of “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” so I ended up buying one of the artists’, Josh Blackwell’s book, “Plastic Bag as Humble Present,” to remind me of this serendipitous art treat.
I had to match my vintage garden gnome skirt to this beautiful garbage!
Kristen Wicklund, another eco-artist featured at Byrdcliffe, not only makes tie-dyed dollies, but also somehow crochets each piece using recycled trashbags. How she does this is beyond me, but the effect is amazing, and makes each piece look like a dreamcatcher.
The pieces that surprised me most on display at “Beautiful Garage” were the Christy Rupp’s sculptures, placed on pedestals around the gallery. From afar, Rupp’s art look like expensive and breakable glass vases, vessels, and jars, but their genius is that they were really sculpted from plastic bottles of the soda variety.
Guerilla street art hits Woodstock.
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