A few years ago, Angel Garcia had just completed what he described as an anti-racism mural, “balanced with positive imagery,” at New York City’s Dual Language Middle School on West 77th Street.
“The theme idea was to create a mural that would explore the topic of racism – and healing,” said the Brooklyn artist, who will be creating a mural in Pioneer Park this summer in connection with the Keith Haring exhibit that opens May 29, Memorial Day Weekend, at The Fenimore Art Museum.
He was leaving the school soon after it was completed, and there, in front of the mural, “was one student explaining the imagery to another. They were using the mural to educate each other.
“It was beautiful moment,” said Garcia, now 29, a prolific artist whose opus to date includes 10 public murals in New York City and many individual canvases.
The Fenimore’s president, Paul D’Ambrosio, said the idea of commissioning a mural downtown in connection with muralist Haring’s exhibit came out of staff brainstorming during the grant application process.
“Everybody loved the idea,” he said. “We couldn’t put the (Haring) artwork downtown. But we could create one.”
A wooden wall will be built in Pioneer Park’s left-hand corner. After the Haring exhibit closes, the mural will become part of The Fenimore’s permanent collection, D’Ambrosio said.
‘Though he died in 1990, in many ways Keith Haring is still alive. His art is everywhere. There are Haring T-shirts, Haring shoes, Haring chairs. You can buy Haring baseball hats and badges and baby-carriers and playing cards and stickers and keyrings.
“Keith Haring’s work pops up all over the place – his radiant baby, the barking dog, the dancer, the three-eyed smiling face. Simple, cheerful, upbeat, instantly recognisable …
“But Haring did much more than provide cute cartoons … His art faced outwards. He wanted to inform, to start a conversation, to question authority and convention, to represent the oppressed.”
The Guardian, June 2, 2019, on opening of major Haring exhibit at the Tate Liverpool
The Fenimore’s come a long way, baby, from “Grandma Moses: Grandmother to the Nation,” 15 years ago, to Keith Haring, the highlight of the museum’s 2021 season.
If Grandma Moses harkened back to simpler times, Haring’s concerns – though he died on Feb. 16, 1990 – are center stage in the 21st Century.
“It’s a whole new ballgame,” said Fenimore President/CEO Paul D’Ambrosio. “It’s very different from what you’d expect from The Fenimore.”
The Fenimore’s season begins April 1, but anticipation is centering on “Keith Haring: Radiant Vision,” which will open May 29, Memorial Day Weekend, and run through Sept. 6, Labor Day.
It will include more than 100 pieces, D’Ambrosio said.
If you haven’t heard, Dr. Seuss is being canceled.
The same boneheads who claim that the “mister” in Mr. Potato Head is overly “exclusive,” that Aunt Jemima syrup encouraged racial stereotyping, that math is a vestige of White supremacy and that gender reveal parties are “transphobic,” want you to find racism in the pages of “Hop on Pop.”
This is absurd, of course, and makes Democrats who applaud such virtue signaling look stupid. But the urge to condemn people who challenge the woke mob and cancel every icon of American life – the founders of our nation, the historical monuments that adorn our cities, the books we grew up reading – has reached a tipping point.
Even the famously left-wing Bill Maher is calling for an end to the excess, telling his TV audience, “Cancel culture is real, it’s insane and it’s growing exponentially.”
Oneonta Sculptors ‘Terrible Beauty’ Opens At Munson-Williams-Proctor
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
As 2010 arrived, Richard Friedberg was feeling “dispirited, unhappy that we did not have a great chance of solving our environmental problems, our climate problems.”
“I needed a change,” said Friedberg, who has a studio in a Harpersfield barn, halfway from Oneonta to Stamford.
Then, on April 20, change arrived: BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded; 11 workers died, 17 more were injured. After two days of billowing flames, the rig sank into the Gulf of Mexico, and oil – 60,000 barrels a day at the peak – began to pour through a ruptured riser.
What resulted was the largest oil spill in history.
The artist had found his muse.
Friedberg had watched “the incredible fire.” He was “compelled by the awesomeness of the catastrophe.”
In the Atrium of Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute the other day, where his show, “Terrible Beauty,” will run from Saturday, Feb. 27, through May 30, he searched for the right word to describe the disaster.
In 1992, Bill and Janet Rigby were walking through 73 Elm St., deciding whether to buy that imposing Victorian home that, broken up into eight apartments, had fallen on hard times.
Hard times, yes. But there were hints of its former glory as home to Judge Walter H. Bunn’s clan, none moreso than the 30-step staircase that wound up from the ground floor to the third-floor attic.
All 67 balusters – the supports that connect the railing and the staircase foundation – were in place.
Bill Rigby, who had worked on restoration projects on Staten Island – he also operates American Historic Hardware here, replacing original hinges and fixtures – and Janet, who
had collaborated with him, couldn’t wait to get started.
But on buying the home and taking possession, they discovered: One of the balusters was gone.
“It was obvious: One was missing,” said Bill. “It was there when we walked through the house. It wasn’t there on the day of the closing.”
Cecily Rush watched the Super Bowl along with 96.4 million Americans, and there they were: Her handmade angel-wing creations in Hellman’s “Fairy Godmayo” commercial, starring Amy Schumer.
“I was given no details beyond the fact that it was a Super Bowl commercial and that the wings were going to be worn by a blonde celebrity who recently had a baby,” said a thrilled Cecily Monday, Feb. 8, the day after the Tampa Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9.
It was Amy Schumer. “Just move over and watch the wings,” she tells a confused homeowner, at a loss for what to do with his leftovers.
Be-winged Schumer solves his dilemma with a wave of her butter knife before the commercial ends.
While making gifts for family and friends, Sara O’Brien realized that she could not only bring a smile to someone at Christmas, but to her fellow cancer survivors.
“Tracy Abrams hasn’t been able to do fundraisers for her Wigs for Wishes charity because of the pandemic,” she said. “I took a few of the ornaments over to her, and she called me back that night and said they’d all sold.”
Wigs for Wishes ($5)
They were in such high demand that she brought in Abrams, Gail Baden and granddaughter Susan Morell to help cut, glue and finish each handmade wooden ornament. “We’re making 160 of them,” she said.
The ornaments, which sell for a suggested donation of $5 each at Abrams Head to Toe salon, will help raise money to give free, custom wigs to women undergoing cancer treatments.
“Some people have donated more than $5,” said Abrams. “But we wanted to make them available to everyone.”
O’Brien’s handmade Rocky ornaments are just one of many local gifts you can pick up this Christmas, with many stores offering curbside pickup, online shopping or shipping to keep shoppers safe during the pandemic.
• TO DO:
“Half Truths” ($34.99)
Billed as this year’s big after-dinner party game by Nate Roberts, owner of Serenity Hobbies, “Half-Truths,” created by Richard Garfield (“Magic: The Gathering”) and “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings, asks players to place bets on which three of the six answers are truths, and which ones are lies.
“It follows the logic that everyone can play,” said Roberts. “Even grandma and the little kids, who might not have that trivia knowledge, because it’s multiple choice, so they can still guess.”
The game, which got started on Kickstarter, includes more than 500 questions, plenty to keep the party going. “It’s a party game that makes you feel smart,” he said. “And it’s a laugh riot.”
• TO WEAR
Poncho and scarves, Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, The Artisan’s Guild, (Price Varies)
It’s rare that you get to see exactly where your garment came from, but with each hand-spun and hand-woven scarf and poncho, you get a photo of the Icelandic sheep who gave the wool.
“This poncho came from Fosco,” said Roxanne Marcellino. “All of these are made from the wool of sheep raised on the farm.”
In addition to the Holy Myrrhbearers garments, the Artisan’s Guild also offers handmade capes and children’s clothing, hand-knit scarves and hats, dyed silk scarves and other locally made crafts.
• TO READ
Richard Duncan, “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” ($39.99)
Photographer Duncan wants you to see his “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” book as a window to the world.
“I hope it stimulates memories,” he said. “Since there isn’t a whole lot we can do right now, we can look at pictures of places we used to go.”
The coffee-table book, his third, uses his own photos of the county, taken over two years, as well as photos from days past.
“I went to every historical society in the county and asked them to send me photos,” he said. “There’s a romantic bent to it, we have all of this precious land to take care of.”
The Utica-printed book is available at The Farmers’ and Fenimore museums, and through their website, and at the Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta.
The photos range from a parade of elephants down Oneonta’s Main Street, to an early 1900s Decoration Day in Unadilla Flats.
“If you have the COVID blues,” he said. “Go for a drive with my book and try to find where I stood to take each picture.”
• TO EAT
Custom Gift Baskets, The Fly Creek Cider Mill, (Price Varies)
It’s easier to survive these dismal times if you’ve got the right kind of snacks.
That’s Bill Michaels’ approach at the Fly Creek Cider Mill, where he’s spent the last two weeks in his own version of Santa’s Workshop. “We do 60 percent of our online business during the holidays,” he said. “You can go online, fill your cart and we pack it up for you.”
Pick out some of the mill’s famous cheese, sauces and jellies, apple goodies and maybe some fudge, and Michaels will box it, tie it with a bow and mail it to the recipient of your choice. “This year, our corn salsa has been really popular,” he said.
But if you’re in a hurry, there are pre-made gift baskets ready to order, including a “Stay At Home Survival Kit” – with pancake mix, fudge, maple candy, apple crisp mix and more – or a “Celebrate Your Heroes” snack basket, with cheese, sausage and, most curiously, gummy frogs.
And he even throws in a few extras, including a catalog, a map of the Cooperstown Beverage Trail and an Otsego County Guide – for when the pandemic is over and they can come visit the mill for themselves.
• TO DRINK
Tay’s Tea (from $4) and Roman Roaster Coffee (from $10) Green Earth Market
“Nini Ordoubadi is very particular about her tea,” said Mike Shaughnessy, manager, The Green Earth. “And she does it very well.”
Also from Delhi – and new to the Green Earth – is Roman Roaster Coffee, an artisanal, small-batch roaster owned by Andrea Ghersi, a former chef who moved to Delhi to open his business.
Both use sustainably sourced and fair trade ingredients in their blends.
“Buying local helps all of us stay in business,” said Shaughnessy.