Regional Landscape Exhibitions on View Now at Munson
May. 22 2024

Regional Landscape Exhibitions on View Now at Munson

“Views of New York: Wilderness and Waters” and “Trenton Falls: Stilled Waters | Still Here” show the majesty of local landscapes

 In celebration of some of New York State’s most famous landscapes, Munson Museum of Art has organized “Views of New York: Wilderness and Waters,” a collection of works depicting the areas around the Hudson and Mohawk River valleys, and “Trenton Falls: Stilled Waters | Still Here,” which brings focus to Native relationships with our local landscape through a focus on the art of Trenton Falls. Featuring works produced over two centuries in diverse mediums and styles, both exhibitions offer the chance to explore the rich beauty of landscape art. Both exhibitions are free and open to the public through the fall.

“Views of New York” was created from the Museum’s collections of both recent additions and art purchased in the late 1800s by Munson’s founders. Artists who have become familiar favorites find new company in local and contemporary artists interested in the same subjects. Some works, including selections from William Henry Bartlett’s famous 1840 publication “American Scenery,” are on display for the first time.

Many artists share not only subject matter but also social, cultural, and spiritual connections to the wilderness and waters around them. Museum visitors will see the surprising continuity and dynamic changes to New York landscape art over the past two hundred years.

Trenton Falls was a major tourist destination between 1825 and about 1895 when a dam project marked the end of the “golden age” of the site. During its heyday, the falls and the nearby resort hotel attracted tourists interested in experiencing the “new” natural wonder. The Haudenosaunee peoples knew the falls first as Tetwaˀsʌthaˀkó, meaning Great Falls. Paintings, prints, and drawings show the falls as they once were, allowing viewers to imagine what it was like to hike Trenton Gorge when water rushed through it.

An exciting array of programming will accompany both exhibitions throughout their run. Elisa Harkins, whose work is featured in “Still Here,” will perform at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 21, in the Sinnott Family – Bank of Utica Auditorium. Harkins, a Native American (Cherokee/Muscogee) artist and composer, honors and reimagines Native language and song traditions in her dynamic performances. The event is free, open to the public, and will be followed by an opportunity to ask the artist questions.

Both exhibitions complement Munson’s summer exhibition, “American Landscapes from the New-York Historical Society,” opening June 14, which highlights the resplendent vistas of the Hudson River and Catskill, Adirondack, and White mountains and features the artists known as the Hudson River School for their shared exploration of the region’s natural spaces.

“As visitors will see this summer, this art is important not just because it celebrates familiar places in compelling ways but also because it defined a particularly American style for generations of artists in New York and beyond,” said Elizabeth Welch, assistant curator of American art at Munson.