Art

Art Revitalizes an Old Mill: Photographs from the Wassaic Project

Carmen Osterlye, "Den of Blossomy" (2013), found furniture, two-channel video projection
Carmen Osterlye, “Den of Blossomy” (2013), found furniture, two-channel video projection (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)

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.

Art by Biddle/Frankel
Art by Biddle/Frankel

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:

Maxon Mills
Maxon Mills, where the exhibitions are installed
Whacks (a collaboration between Amanda White and Brinton Jaecks), "M.A.R.D.I.", poly micro suede, 2 fans
Whacks (a collaboration between Amanda White and Brinton Jaecks), “M.A.R.D.I.”, poly micro suede, 2 fans
Luther Barn Stage
Luther Barn Stage
Shuffle Speaker
A speaker in Byron Westbrook’s participatory performance “Shuffle,” where volunteers carried contrasting electronic rhythms
Maxon Mills
Maxon Mills, home of the Wassaic Project
Nails in the Key of Life
Nails in the Key of Life manicure trailer
Flowers
Flowers and an old tractor at the edge of the grounds
Kevin Cyr, "Grey Coyote Camp" (2013)
Kevin Cyr, “Grey Coyote Camp” (2013). The artist also exhibited a full-size tent that you could enter.
Ian Addison Hall, "help yourself (it's all yours)" (2012), digital collage
Ian Addison Hall, “help yourself (it’s all yours)” (2012), digital collage
Jonathan Schipper, "To Dust" (ongoing), mixed media
Jonathan Schipper, “To Dust” (ongoing), mixed media, where the two sculptures gradually wear each other to dust
Markel Uriu, "The Pelt" (2013), moss, burlap, thread (left) and MaryKate Maher, "Scholars Rock" (2012), resin and steel (right)
Left: Markel Uriu, “The Pelt” (2013), moss, burlap, thread; right: MaryKate Maher, “Scholars Rock” (2012), resin and steel
Giada Crispiels, "Climbing Ivy, Wassaic" (2013), newspapers, masking tape, iron wire; Tora Lopez, "Two Cheers for the Bundle of Sticks Metaphor" (2012), found wood from Wassaic, tinted beeswax, tinted twine
Left: Giada Crispiels, “Climbing Ivy, Wassaic” (2013), newspapers, masking tape, iron wire; center, on floor:Tora Lopez, “Two Cheers for the Bundle of Sticks Metaphor” (2012), found wood from Wassaic, tinted beeswax, tinted twine
Louie Hinnen, "Cornbread and Buttermilk" (2013), wood, pneumatic equipment, appliances, linoleum, paint
Controlling Louie Hinnen’s “Cornbread and Buttermilk” (2013), wood, pneumatic equipment, appliances, linoleum, paint
Louie Hinnen, "Cornbread and Buttermilk" (2013), wood, pneumatic equipment, appliances, linoleum, paint
Inside Louie Hinnen’s “Cornbread and Buttermilk” (2013), wood, pneumatic equipment, appliances, linoleum, paint. The components of the kitchen slammed open and closed depending on the audience’s control.
Shana Siegal, "Mildred" (2013), viewed trough binoculars
Shana Siegal, “Mildred” (2013), which you viewed through binoculars (see the sea serpent?)
R. Justin Stewart
R. Justin Stewart’s “12th century Messiah Project,” part of his ongoing project of mapping the messiah in Judaism. The installation represents connections and has QR codes you can scan.
New Academy Press, "Passive Aggression" and "Aerial Aggression"
New Academy Press, “Passive Aggression” and “Aerial Aggression”
Ben Ripley, "Traveling Camera (river journey)", mixed media. boat camera load with 200 square feet of film and floated down the rier. images on the wall.
Ben Ripley, “Traveling Camera (river journey),” mixed media, including boat camera loaded with 200 square feet of film and floated down the river, images on the wall
Shannon Finnegan, "Both: Change is impossible / Change is inevitable" (2012), pen in custom frame
Shannon Finnegan, “Both: Change is impossible / Change is inevitable” (2012), pen in custom frame. The reverse side says “Change is inevitable.”

The Wassaic Project Summer Festival (37 Furnace Bank Road, Wassaic, New York) took place August 2–4. The exhibitions continue through September 2. 

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