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For the sixth year, the Wassaic Project‘s annual festival filled its reclaimed former mill with eclectic art that bounded through the old wood beams and into the surrounding landscape among the Hudson Valley hills.
The festival, held last weekend, is the exclamation point of the nonprofit’s summer programming, although the two exhibitions in the former Maxon Mills’ towering structure continue through the beginning of September and events happen there year-round. Over 100 artists contributed to the shows, with installations ranging from Carmen Osterlye’s “Den of Blossomy” (shown above), where the blooming of flowers filmed in the Wassaic, New York, area were 3D-mapped over furniture, to Louie Hinnen’s “Cornbread and Buttermilk” kitchen, which could be played like an instrument with pistons that made its cabinets and appliances slam open and closed in a clatter.
This was my third visit to the Wassaic Project, having stopped by in 2011 and in 2012, and while there wasn’t as much art as in previous years, it did seem to be more focused, even if the somewhat undisciplined nature of the installations rambling through the worn wooden space is definitely an appeal. As Bowie Zunino, one of the founders and co-executive directors, explained to me: “This year the work has more of a presence; it’s matured.” And there was a clear refinement in much of the work.
While I didn’t take the camping option to stay all three days, I did spend most of the day Saturday exploring the festival. Here are some highlights in photographs:
The former panels, removed in 2017, featured images dedicated to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.
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Part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Art Preserve also functions as a curated collection facility and is filled with immersive installations.