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Seeking the artful bounty 

Members of the Rochester Association of Art Dealers already inaugurated the new season; they strutted their stuff during Galleries Week, which started the second weekend of September. Most of their exhibits will remain up for several weeks, giving you plenty to see. And that's just the beginning of what's on tap for the Greater Rochester area and beyond.

This past spring, the community received news that the position of executive director of the newly remodeled and relocated Rochester Contemporary had been eliminated. But, six months later, it seems the Board of Directors did indeed preserve an important cultural institution. On September 10 RoCo opened its Upstate Invitational, an annual exhibition (through October 17) of provocative artwork by four emerging or under-recognized regional artists.

A local 19th-century artist is the subject of an exhibition that opened September 17 in RIT's Bevier Gallery (through October 13). M. Louise Stowell, who lived her entire life in Rochester, was a staunch supporter of the Arts and Crafts movement as well as an accomplished watercolorist and graphics designer. She was also an educator, teaching classes off and on until 1908 at RIT's Mechanics Institute.

Also on the RIT Campus is The Uncommon Denominator: A Tribute to Rick Hirsch at the Dyer Arts Center through Friday, October 15. Hirsch has achieved professional recognition both as a ceramic artist and teacher. In fact, he has been a professor in RIT's School for American Crafts for over 15 years. The exhibition will include works by Hirsch as well as by former students who have also achieved notable success in their own careers.

At SUNY Brockport, The Tower Fine Arts Center Gallery starts the month of September off with a selection of intaglio prints from the Teaberry Press. The show includes works by Philip Pearlstein, Ed Pashke, Claes Oldenburg, and Press founder Tim Berry (through September 26).

Two new exhibitions at Artisan Works, Light Years: A Selection of Photographs by Douglas Kirkland and New Works by George Maharis, opened this month and will run through the first of the year. Artisan Works is a non-profit organization committed to supporting regional artists and to sharing with the public various forms of art. If you've never entered the brightly painted doors of M.E.T.A.L., home to Artisan Works, then it's about time to do so. It'll be an experience you won't soon forget.

The Oxford Gallery will kick off the 2004-2005 art season with In the Present Tense, an exhibit of new work by Oxford's contemporary masters. For this exhibit, gallery artists selected a major piece from his or her most recent oeuvre to be included. Visitors to the gallery willhave the opportunity to vote for their favorites in the eighth Patrons' Choice Award. One of the artists participating is David Walsh, an art historian at the University of Rochester, whose paintings are reminiscent of another, earlier landscape painter, Camille Corot.

Opening at the Memorial Art Gallery on Saturday, October 9, is the Walter O. Evans Collection of African-American Art (through January 9, 2005). As an African-American who grew up in Georgia and South Carolina, Dr. Evans remembers not being allowed to visit museums and galleries because of the color of his skin. Apparently, being denied these opportunities eventually led him to assemble "one of the world's most important collections" of art by 19th- and 20th-century African-American artists. Also continuing is Protected for Eternity: The Coffins of Pa-debehu-Aest --- the inner coffin of an Egyptian official of the 4th century BCE that has become the focal point of a very family-friendly installation.

Marking the 150th celebration of George Eastman's birthday is The Remarkable George Eastman: Vision and Obsession, which just opened at the George Eastman House and will run through January 9. For all of you that think you've seen everything to see about the man, just wait. The exhibition promises to reveal never-before-seen artifacts (with a little help from interactive media) and re-creations of his Kodak office.

And here's a list of suggestions of new and continuing exhibitions just a short drive away. If you missed Embracing Eatonville: A Photographic Survey (with Dawoud Bey, Lonnie Graham, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, and Deborah Willis Kennedy) when it was at Light Work in Syracuse last fall, take heart. It will debut at the Lockhart Gallery, located in the McClellan House on the SUNY Geneseo campus, on October 27. The exhibit is a photographic survey of the people and history of Eatonville, Florida, the nation's first incorporated African-American town. Accompanying the opening of the exhibit will be a public lecture by artist Carrie Mae Weems and Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston.

At the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica is Richard Serra: Monument Graphics (through November 7) and Voces y Visiones: Highlights from El Museu del Barrio's Permanent Collection opening October 31. Continuing through October 3 at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University is African Forms: Objects of Use and Beauty from the Ginzberg Collection, and through May 15 is Point of View: An Anthology of the Moving Image, where a selection of the films and videos by 11 of today's leading artists will be shown --- each one for approximately three weeks. (See for the schedule.)

Meanwhile, in Buffalo, In Focus: Themes in Photography is a two-part exhibition examining the extensive photographic collection of the Albright-Knox. Part one opens September 24 and part two opens November 5. And at the Corning Museum of Glass through October 17, take a tour of Renaissance Europe through glass. Beyond Glass: Glass in the Venetian Style, 1500-1750 examines Venetian glassmaking techniques and its impact on the objects of elite desire from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.

In This Guide...

  • Hitting the lecture circuit

    OK, all you nerds out there, it's time to get down to work. Stock your pencil boxes, pull out your literary anthologies, and check the batteries in your tape recorders: fall is bursting with enough lectures and literary events to make us all feel like we're back in school again.

  • Lack not music’s pleasures

    It may be years, decades, centuries, before the Olympics come to Rochester. While you're waiting, enjoy the abundant classical music Rochester offers every year, all year round.

  • Putting on a good show

    It is, in my opinion, the best moment in the world: after the lights go down and before the show starts. Voices hush, bodies settle, and you wait.

  • City’s choice: family theater

    Theater is not just for grownups. Besides the magical tradition of The Nutcracker, during the fall there are other performances around town for the family to enjoy.

  • Failure is so possible

    Fall arrives in Rochester with a flurry of colorful brochures announcing dance, music, and theater events. It's an exciting time of year for arts lovers --- authors start arriving, film festivals hit town, and art exhibitions open.

  • Searching for the Holy Grail (of fruit)

    The fall harvest season is one of my favorites, with cool nights and an almost endless variety of fruits and vegetables to sample, some more well-known than others. Lately, I have fallen in love with the heirloom tomato "Brandywine" --- which is not very red, is impossible to slice for the perfect sandwich, and has a thin skin unsuitable for shipping.

  • Hear your live delights

    I figure since we got screwed out of summer we deserve a cool fall. And I'm not talking about the mercury either.

  • Only the movies you want to see

    As I was thinking about how to structure this piece on the films of autumn, I became hung up on the notion of film criticism versus movie reviewing. Film criticism is an art that seems to require a thorough steeping in film history, astute reasoning, an extremely keen eye, and the ability to concisely convey your thoughts using clever word-type thingies.

  • Fall Guide 2004

    Fall with grace It leads us into the grip of colder, darker winter, but fall is a gentle warden.

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