Tags Posts tagged with "Joshua Ruff"

Joshua Ruff

Accepting the award, from left Nina Sangimino Curator at the LIM; Kristin Cuomo, Educator at the LIM; Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director at the LIM; and Kelynn Alder, guest curator of the exhibition 'SOMOS/WE ARE: Latinx Artists of Long Island.' Photo courtesy of LIM

The Long Island Museum (LIM), a Smithsonian Affiliate, has announced that it has been awarded the prestigious Engaging Communities Award of Distinction for its groundbreaking exhibition SOMOS/WE ARE: Latinx Artists of Long Island. 

Photo courtesy of LIM

The LIM was part of a group of selected museums, museum professionals, industry partners, and legislative leaders that were recognized for their exceptional achievements at MANY’s 2024 annual conference “Giving Voice to Value” in Albany on April 8. The fifteen awards celebrated unique leadership, dedicated community service, transformational visitor experiences, community engagement, and innovative programs that use collections and resources to support museums and to tell stories of everyone who calls New York home.

The Engaging Communities Award of Distinction recognizes organizations that demonstrate exceptional and resourceful methods in engaging their communities and cultivating new audiences. The LIM’s exhibition, SOMOS/WE ARE, stood out for its immersive approach in showcasing the rich cultural heritage and artistic contributions of the Latinx community on Long Island.

“This was such an important and institution-changing exhibition for us,” says Co-Executive Director, Joshua Ruff. “It helped us collaborate and connect with community partners such as the Latino Arts Council of Long Island. We were able to make some significant new accessions for our art collection from some of the artists involved. And this project confirmed that LIM is a museum dedicated to the history and culture of all people across our region, including the more than 20% of Nassau-Suffolk’s total population that has Hispanic heritage.” 

Photo from LIM

On view during the fall of 2023, SOMOS/WE ARE was guest-curated by Mexican-American artist Kelynn Alder and curator Nina Sangimino of the LIM. This collaborative exhibition with associated programming focused on the rich cultural heritage and artistic contributions of the Latinx community on Long Island, featured 82 regional artists and explored their diverse styles, media, personal stories, and familial national origins. 

In addition to bilingual exhibition text, the museum’s education staff published a bilingual Family Gallery Guide and offered Spanish language tours, including one for the Long Island Latino Teachers Association which contributed to an increase in school tours from school districts on Long Island with a high percentage of Latinx students, including Hempstead, Springs, Copiague, Tuckahoe, North Babylon, and Brentwood. 

The museum also hosted a ¡ESTAMOS! symposium that featured an artist discussion and performances as well as a free Family Fun Day in October which set a record 600 person attendance for Día de los Muertos, many of whom were first-time visitors.

The LIM’s SOMOS/WE ARE: Latinx Artists of Long Island exhibition exemplifies the power of museums to connect, inspire, and celebrate diverse voices and communities. For more information, visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

By Tara Mae

Perspective and reality merge in imagination, creating art that is tethered to truth and yet unfettered from realism. Finding Hidden Treasures: The Art of Sam Adoquei, a retrospective of the artist’s oil paintings, explores the scope of such interplay.

On view at the Long Island Museum (LIM) in Stony Brook through June 2, the show features 25 oil paintings of various sizes as well as an excerpt of The Unseen Beauty (2012), a film written and directed by Gabriel de Urioste about Adoquei and his work.

The entire exhibit is a milestone for Adoquei. 

“It is the first time in my life to have my large figurative works and small paintings, my traditional pieces and my outdoor oil paintings, my still lifes and my figurative pieces come together in the same room. It is also interesting to see some of my earliest paintings next to some recent canvases,” he said in an email. “Same with technique/approach: there are paintings that were approached with the most careful traditional/classical method while some of the canvases were approached with fun spontaneous innovative spirit.”

Finding Hidden Treasures reveals scenes of certainty and surprise, calmly tranquil or intensely evocative. During a recent guided tour of the exhibit before it goes on view to the public, I was immersed in a world of soothing still lifes, inviting landscapes, and compelling figures. 

For Adoquei, a Ghanaian immigrant who is also a writer and teacher, oil painting is a language through which he communicates, inviting viewers to enmesh themselves in the core of the work and the feelings they invoke. 

“Oils provide that unlimited range of expressing myself: from the leanest and thinnest effects to the thickest layers of impasto pigments,” Adoquei said. 

In many ways, the show is a reflection and meditation on moments in time, both simple and profound. It is an intimate invitation to become acquainted with new characters and reintroduced to uncommon elements of common knowledge.  

“Sam is very ambitious to be taking on some of the subjects he takes on, like these sort of massive scale history paintings. Then there is the sensitivity that he has in his figurative and portrait work, the expressiveness, the fact that you look at the people in the paintings, you feel a connection,” said LIM’s Co-Executive Director Joshua Ruff. 

Such a kinship is formed via a shared visual dialogue between artist and audience. The paintings in this exhibit entice the breadth of human emotion in what they depict and what they evoke. 

“My approach is diverse: traditional, innovative…Creating a painting to me is always communication with the enthusiasts: whether short and poetic, a short essay, or long and epic depends on the subject and what I aim to extract from it,” he added.

Two of the most arrestingly captivating pieces in the exhibit combine narrative tradition with creative interpretation: a 10-foot-wide triptych titled “The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (The Entombment)” which was featured in the New York Times and displayed at the S. Dillon Ripley Center of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., and “Death of a President (John F. Kennedy).” These history paintings reimagine hauntingly human tragedies with interpersonal, even fantastical, elements.

In these renderings, persons from the artist’s life, as well as Adoquei, appear as bystanders or sympathetic participants. Adoquei frequently includes himself or his associates in his paintings, a practice that adds emotional depth to the works.  

“I love people, I am always inspired by the love of people, and humanistic pursuits are part of sentiments that I try to include in my mission to unveil my vision,” he said.

This generosity and warmth extends to pieces that do not include human figures, like idyllic interpretations of Long Island vistas and other settings. They encourage onlookers to step into them, feel the sand beneath their feet, the breeze as it rustles tall grasses, the sun on their faces, the sound of the sea, the taste of salt in the air. 

Adoquei’s still life paintings are intriguing and alluring, alluding to larger stories of which patrons are only catching a glimpse: two quinces with their stems and leaves attached, lilting sunflowers and daisies in vase, a partially sectioned grapefruit, with what appears to be a thumbprint left on the endocarp. 

“All that I do is inspired by nature, life and living, and the needs of the future. Turning nature and people into beautiful timeless paintings to inspire others inspires me daily,” Adoquei said. “As lives, works, and legacies of great minds took me from oceans and cultures away and offered me the support to create art that hangs on museum walls and in private collections, so do I hope to create meaningful timeless art worthy of inspiring future generations.” 

Versatility of technique underscores the scope and impact of Adoquei’s subject matter. His art contains and honors a multitude of human experiences, including his own journey from Ghanaian art student, to sign and billboard painter in Nigeria, and then working artist, educator, and author in the United States, where he arrived in 1987. 

Adoquei’s paintings welcome patrons to participate in moments fraught and freeing, stunning and serene. Finding Hidden Treasures is an opportunity for artist and art appreciators to enter the field of humanistic imagination.  

“I have never seen this collection of my paintings exhibited together, and knowing they wouldn’t be in the same room together again, I hope art lovers of Long Island will take advantage of the opportunity to come enjoy them at The Long Island Museum,” Adoquei said.

Also on view at the Long Island Museum: 

Painting Partnership: Reynold and Joan Ruffins in the Art Museum from Feb. 8 to June 30

Organized in conjunction with The Power of Two (see next exhibit), this exhibition presents a unique story of love, creativity, and art. Sharing 60 years of marriage and settling in Sag Harbor in 1992, Painting Partnership features close to 25 paintings and sculptures from the remarkable artistic duo, Reynold Dash Ruffins (1930-2021) and Joan B. Young Ruffins (1932-2013). Reynold began making his mark in graphic and advertising design in the 1950s and the 1960s, later working on such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, and Essence, and creating award-winning illustrations for children’s books. Meanwhile, as Joan raised the couple’s four children, she created a studio in the family’s St. Albans home, creating art and teaching both children and adults.

The Power of Two: Artist Couples of Long Island in the Art Museum from Feb. 8 to June 30

Experience the dynamic interplay of creativity as The Power of Two: Artist Couple of Long Island exhibition showcases over 50 artworks comparing and contrasting the work produced by 14 artist couples of Long Island. From the 1880s to contemporary couples today, this exhibition provides a captivating insight into the collaborative spirit of artist partnerships.

Colors of Long Island in the History Museum from Feb. 8 to April 7

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the  Annual Colors of Long Island Student Art Exhibition, a show that affords an opportunity for hundreds of students from across Long Island to display their artwork in a museum setting. Art teachers from public and private schools in grades pre-k through 12th grade were invited to submit up to two pieces of student artwork that capture the essence of the region’s landscapes, history, and cultural diversity through various mediums including watercolor, sculpture, pencil, ink, oil pastel, photographs and computer graphics.

Located at 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $7 for seniors (age 62 and older); $5 for students (ages 5-17, and college students with an ID); $3.50 for persons with disabilities (personal care assistants are free); and, free for active and retired military personnel. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org. 

By Tara Mae

The chaos of creation yields the quietude of reflection. 

Newly installed at the Long Island Museum of Art, History, & Carriages (LIM), the Little Free Library came from just such a process. It was assembled by Brownie Troop 1343, which consists of fourteen local 3rd graders from the Three Village School District and horticultural art therapist/mediations instructor Fred Ellman, with troop co-leaders Lisa Unander, Kaethe Cuomo, and Christine Colavito offering practical support.

Cultivated from a sort magical mayhem on a series of manic Mondays as the girls painted their projects and maybe themselves, the Little Free Library is the result of artistic exuberance and pragmatic craftsmanship. Ellman previously worked with Unander on LIM’s In the Moment programs, which are garden activities designed for people with memory loss.

“To my pure delight, he volunteered to help us design and build the project! It was Fred’s idea to use the popcorn wagon [design], inspired by the Popcorn Wagon, 1907, C. Cretors & Company, Chicago, which is prominently featured in our carriage museum collection,” Unander, who is also LIM’s Director of Education, said.

Ellman donated his time, talents, and materials, functioning as artistic advisor, serene supervisor, and pragmatic visionary. He created a digital template and used that as the blueprint for the actual pieces of wood.   

“Lisa told me about this incredible project, and I really enjoy working with her. I wanted this library to be very playful and encourage children to come use books and connect to the  collection. With this installation, we are using a fresh way of looking at a free library, inviting and enticing patrons with its welcoming appearance,” Ellman said. 

This  22”x24” box, made of birch and cedar, is a blend of functional fun, with its bright colors and and unique shape. Installed adjacent to LIM”s aromatic herb garden, visitors will be able to take a book and immerse themselves in the stories as they settle in the tranquility of nature.

This visage belies the Brownies determined diligence in creating and maintaining the free library. A requirement for being formally recognized as an officially chartered member of the nonprofit Little Free Library network is that the girls are stewards of this installation. Each Brownie will be assigned certain weeks of the year to check on the library, including cleaning, maintaining, and restocking it as well as reporting any needs to Troop 1343.  

“To have a long term project that [the troop] could get excited about and work on collaboratively created responsibility and pride in what they accomplished,” Unander said. “Since all the girls live in the Three Village area, we know they will grow up helping keep the library well maintained and bring friends and family to see what they helped create.” 

For the Brownies, its motivations for the Little Free Library are multifaceted. Starting when the girls were Daisies, the Girl Scouts program for kindergarten-first grade, their meetings frequently commenced with a co-leader reading them a story that related to a project on which they were working.

“They always responded in a positive way to each book that was read to them and we felt it created a strong bond between the girls and the badges that they were about to take on,” said Unander. 

Then last year, the group began working on its World of Journey badges, a four part certification that focuses on “girls around the world and how stories can give you ideas for helping others,” according to Girl Scouts USA’s website.

Inspired by a pamphlet that depicted girls traveling the world in a flying bookmobile to learn about different cultures, and having recently read a book about Little Free Libraries’ founder Todd Bol, Troop 1343 decided to create a Little Free Library of its own in pursuit of the badges.

“Many troops do a simpler project to complete this journey, but we felt the girls in our troop were willing and ready to make a true and lasting impact,” Unander added. 

They were not the only ones embarking on a new adventure; it was Ellman’s first time constructing a free library too, though he anticipates it will not be his last. “I definitely want to build another one,” he said.  

As reading invites the imagination to explore, facilitating LIM’s free library has alerted everyone involved in this endeavor to other possibilities: Troop 1343 and its co-leaders are discussing developing a book about this process.  

“Fred had the idea of the girls creating a book that would tell visitors a little bit about them and some of their favorite books; I loved it,” Unander said. “Next year the girls will be Junior level Girl Scouts, and we plan to incorporate this project into our meetings. Ideally, this book would be attached to the Little Free Library onsite for all to read.”

In the meantime, the girls collected and donated their own books to launch the library. Given its location, Unander believes that as the library continues to expand its collection, visitors will be particularly inclined to leave books about art and history; its public accessibility binds the library to the community and encourages any visitor to the museum to indulge in the exchange of ideas. 

“We are grateful to our Co-Executive Directors Sarah Abruzzi and Joshua Ruff for enthusiastically giving us the green light to use this magnificent space to host our Little Free Library. We all feel this small structure will bring a large amount of joy to all who see it,” said Unander. 

To take a book, leave a book, visit the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook Thursdays to Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. To learn more about the museum’s exhibits and other programs, visit www.longislandmuseum.org. 

By Heidi Sutton

May is one of the prettiest times of the year on Long Island with the trees in bloom and the pleasant weather. The month also signals the return of a beautiful event, the Setauket Artists’ annual spring exhibit at Deepwells Mansion in St. James. 

The juried show, which opens on May 21, will feature approximately 100 paintings in various types of mediums including oil, watercolor and pastel along with etchings and painted photographs by Setauket Artist members in addition to two guest artists: Charles Wildbank, a well known and respected artist from Jamesport, and Russell Pulick, founder of Pulick Pottery. 

This year’s distinguished judge is Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook. Ruff will have the difficult job of choosing winners from a pool of incredible local talent.

“Because we live in such a beautiful area, many of the paintings are Long Island landscapes and seascapes of the Sound. Other paintings reflect artists’ travels and daily inspirations, which range from tea cups to trailers,” said Paula Pelletier, a member of the Setauket Artists for over 10 years and whose painting “Flax Pond Inlet” will be in the show.

“Recently, my husband and I discovered the walk at Flax Pond Marine Lab. The views took my breath away; I had to paint them,” she explained.

The exhibit will also feature a gift boutique with matted unframed smaller works, cards, and books written by the artists. The group will raffle off four paintings including “Watching the Stillness of a Setting Sun” by Shain Bard, “Daffodils by Joanne Liff, “Along the Coast” by Renee Caine, and “Road in Mt. Sinai” by Angela Stratton on June 18, the exhibit’s last day. Visitors can enter the raffle throughout the exhibit’s run and do not need to be present to win. 

According to Pelletier, the show will fill the Deepwells Mansion’s first floor and extend to the upstairs. The back rooms on the second floor will house three of the Setauket Artists’ personal “studios” with additional artwork available for sale.

The mansion, which is part of the Suffolk County Parks Department, was built in 1845 in the 16th century Greek-Revival architecture for Joel Smith, a descendant of Smithtown’s founder Richard ‘Bull’ Smith. It is now managed by the Deepwells Farm Historical Society.

“It’s wonderful to return to Deepwells,” said Pelletier. “The rooms are expansive with natural light flooding in from the floor to ceiling windows. For visitors, it’s an opportunity to view the period wallpaper and distinctive crown moulding.”

This year’s Honored Artist is Irene Ruddock, the Setauket Artists’ president and mentor for the past 18 years. “A woman of elegance, grace and great kindness, she has worked tirelessly ensuring that our exhibitions are successful, professional and beautiful. Her artistic talents inspire us all. We send her our love and a sincere thank you,” said Pelletier.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:

Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, William Dodge, Paul Edelson, Margaret Governale, William Graf, Melissa Imossi, Larry Johnston, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Joanne Liff, John Mansueto, Jane McGraw Teubner, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra,  Paula Pelletier, Russell Pulick, Catherine Rezin, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Susan Trawick, Maria  Lourdes Velez, Marlene Weinstein, Charles Wildbank, and Patricia Yantz.

The Setauket Artists’ Spring Exhibit will be held at Deepwells Mansion, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James from May 21 through June 18. The community is invited to an opening  reception on May 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is always free. For more information, visit www.setauketartists.com.

Lou Gehrig with his teammates June 21 1939. Photographer unknown

By Daniel Dunaief

‘The greatest of all, the game which seems to breathe the restless spirit of American life, that calls for quick action and quicker thinking, that seems characteristic of a great nation itself, is baseball.’

Photographer Charles M. Conlon, 1913

Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Yogi Berra, Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente and pictures of numerous other legends of the baseball diamond are coming to the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

Starting May 18 and going through October 15, the History Museum at the LIM is featuring two baseball exhibits.

In one, called Picturing America’s Pastime, the museum is showcasing a collection of images from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Archive. In the other, called Home Fields, the museum has brought together objects and photos from the Ducks field in Central Islip, the new and old Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Citi Field, Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. The objects come from regional private collections, including some from the Shea family for whom the home of the original Mets was named.

The museum, which charges $10 admission, is hosting a members only opening reception on June 15. Membership costs $40 for an individual and $60 for a family. At the reception, the museum will serve baseball-inspired food, including Cracker Jacks and popcorn.

Picturing America’s Pastime

In one of the pictures, photographer Charles Conlon captured a determined Ty Cobb successfully stealing third base on July 23, 1910, with the throw going by New York Highlanders third baseman Jimmy Austin. Unlike the instant gratification of modern-day digital photographs, Conlon didn’t know he caught and immortalized the moment until later, when he developed the picture.

The exhibit mixes intimate photos of heroes and legends, with a picture from an unidentified photographer of Yankee legend Lou Gehrig holding court in the dugout with his teammates on June 21, 1939 at Yankee Stadium after returning from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Diagnosed with amyotropic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which is now widely known as “Lou Gehrig disease,” Gehrig gave his speech in which he declares himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth” 13 days after the photographer snapped the dugout picture.

“He’s having this semi-private moment with his second family,” described Joshua Ruff, the Co-Executive Director of Collections and Programming at the Long Island Museum. “It’s just amazing that somebody had the wherewithal to capture that photographically and to save that memory for us.”

The pictures also feature an image of Jackie Robinson, clad in a Montreal Royals uniform, entering the Dodgers clubhouse on April 10th, 1947, five days before Robinson became the first black player in Major League Baseball and seven years before the Supreme Court struck down segregation in public schools in Brown vs. the Board of Education. In the photo, taken by William C. Greene, Robinson is holding up a baseball glove in the air and entering a door with the words “Dodgers Club House” above and “Keep Out” below.

The pictures featured in the exhibit are “much more than about the history that’s being achieved on the field,” Ruff added.

The Picturing America’s Pastime exhibit also includes a photo of the 1920 St. Louis Giants from the Negro League, as well as the Muskegon Lassies with the team bus in 1947.

In a snapshot from Chicago’s Comiskey Park in May 1916 by an unidentified photographer, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson sits on the ground with four bats across his right knee. The photo was taken four years before Baseball Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned Jackson and seven of his teammates for life from the sport for the Black Sox scandal of 1919.

The pictures also include more recent heroes, such as Japanese sensation Ichiro Suzuki, photographed by Brad Mangin in 2006 at Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum. In his trademark move before he hit, Suzuki is tugging at the right shoulder of his uniform with his left hand while holding the bat vertically in his right.

Home Fields

The Home Fields exhibit, meanwhile, features a collection of paraphernalia from local ballparks, such as a bleacher from the old Yankee Stadium, and seats from the Polo Grounds (where the Yankees and, for two years, the Mets played), Shea (home of the Mets) and Ebbets Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played before leaving in 1958.

The museum, which has a Derek Jeter bat from 2007, will display a World Series ring from 1969, when the Miracle Mets defeated the heavily favored, 109-win Baltimore Orioles that included stars Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer.

A replay of seven minutes of the fifth and final game from the 1969 NBC radio broadcast will play in the background, providing ambient baseball sounds for guests. The museum is coordinating a revolving slide show of images from that game in the Home Fields exhibition.

The museum also has a piece of the outfield fence from Shea and pieces of the scoreboard from Yankee and Shea stadiums.

A private collector loaned the museum the on deck circle from 2000 subway series between the Mets and the Yankees. In that series, which was the third consecutive World Series victory for the Yankees, Yankee pitcher Roger Clemens threw a piece of Met Mike Piazza’s broken bat towards the Mets catcher as he made his way towards first on a foul ball, bringing both teams out of their dugouts.

Ruff suggested that the exhibits could spur a range of memories from fans of all ages. Born in Baltimore, he calls himself a “lifetime baseball fan” whose favorite players are Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray. He has loved attending Mets and Yankees games.

Ruff likens these two exhibitions to “playing in the sand box. Hopefully, that will be the same for people that walk through. Whether you’re a fan of the Mets, the Yankees, the Reds or whoever your team is, there’s a lot to appreciate and enjoy when you come see these shows.”

The Long Island Museum is located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Portraits of Mrs. Nancy Williamson Smith and her husband Captain Jonas Smith by William Sidney Mount,1836

By Tara Mae

An opportunity to own priceless art is a chance to be part of living history. It does not come without a cost, but it can be worth the expenditure. On Saturday, Oct. 22, starting at noon, South Bay Auctions of East Moriches will offer such a possibility when it auctions off portraits of Captain Jonas Smith and his wife Nancy Williamson Smith of Stony Brook by local 19th century artist William Sidney Mount.

Portrait of Captain Jonas Smith

“Mount is significant to both art and local history. It is not often that his paintings come up for auction,” said Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director of the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook which has the largest collection of Mount’s paintings, drawings, correspondence, and archives. 

Primarily known for his genre paintings, Mount was born in Setauket in 1807 and spent many years living in Stony Brook in between and after brief periods in New York City. He painted the places and people he knew, frequently of the Three Villages. Initially drawn to history painting, which he greatly admired, Mount’s portraiture was not born of his inherent interest in the material but rather a timeless dilemma for so many artists: his other work was not selling and Mount needed to earn a living. 

Mount’s first portrait subjects were easily acquired; he initially painted himself and close relatives before offering his services to a better paying public. Among his early patrons were members of the Weeks, Mills, Strong, and Smith families, all of whom have prominent ties to the Three Villages. 

Captain Jonas Smith and his wife Nancy Williamson Smith were particularly lucrative commissions. Captain Smith, who owned and operated a fleet of merchant ships that sailed internationally, is considered to be Long Island’s first self-made millionaire. 

Their oil portraits were most likely done in Mount’s studio, according to Jean-Paul Napoli, Co-Owner and President of South Bay Auctions. Mount apparently charged Captain Smith $70 for the pair in 1836, the equivalent of about $2000 today, when adjusted for inflation. 

Portrait of Mrs. Nancy Williamson Smith

Privately owned, the portraits were obtained by the auction house from a collector who had moved from Long Island to Boston. “The owner felt they should be offered on Long Island where they originated,” said Napoli. 

Also up for auction is two portraits by Mount’s brother Shepard Alonzo Mount; a painting of Port Jefferson Harbor by William Moore Davis; two lithographs by Stow Wengenroth; a recently uncovered oil painting by Robert Motherwell; and works by Whitney M. Hubbard, Caroline Bell, Julia Wickham, William Steeple Davis and Joseph Hartranft.

The artwork is available for viewing at no charge from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 21 and by appointment. “I think this auction has a nice collection of fine art from Long Island and New York artists. Even if you are not interested in acquiring anything, it is an opportunity to see works that will in most cases not be in the public eye after the sale,” Napoli added.

South Bay Auctions is located at 485 Montauk Highway, East Moriches. Participants in the auction may bid in person or live online at www.Invaluable.com and www.LiveAuctioneers.com. Telephone and absentee bidding is also available. For more information, call 631-878-2909. 

Cindy M. Smith was over many years an enthusiastic champion of Long Island artists. She and her husband Warren Strugatch shared the art collecting bug, owning landscapes and abstractions by Ty Stroudsburg, Nan Kemp, Doug Reina and many others. In nice weather, the Stony Brook couple climbed into their white Miata, put the top down, and toured art spaces between Manhattan and Montauk. Whether they bought or not, they offered words of encouragement to artists, praising what they liked and asking where the artists would be exhibiting next.

Over time they struck up many artworld friendships. The pair frequently invited painters and other creative folks to visit them in their sprawling, sun-drenched home off Stony Brook Road where the works they collected went on display.

Cindy gave special encouragement to women artists, her husband said. “I think she realized that many women must work harder to be taken seriously as artists. She was highly empathetic to that. When she bought a painting from a female artist, she felt she was not only saying the right thing, but doing the right thing, too.”

Sadly, Cindy passed away Feb. 15 after a long battle with leukemia. The Long Island Museum has dedicated its current exhibition, “Two Centuries of Women Artists,” to her memory. On June 9th the museum held a reception for “Two Centuries,” which Joshua Ruff, the museum’s deputy director, said was one “Cindy would have loved.”

“We miss her greatly,” Ruff said, “not least because she lived her passion for the arts every day. Without passion, the arts wither. Without inclusivity, the arts deflate. She and Warren helped establish connections to some of the finest artists we have added to our campus is recent years. Their boundless energy boosted our exhibition openings, energized our concerts, and bolstered our community.”

Warren, who sponsored the reception in his wife’s memory, said that he would be leaving their house in Stony Brook as it was now “too big just for me.” A writer and consultant, he is keeping their art trove intact. He plans to transport it and much of the couple’s Midcentury Modern furniture collection to his new apartment in Astoria. 

“The walls are pretty tall” in his new apartment, he said. “I’m pretty sure there will be room for all the art we collected. Seeing the art every day helps keep Cindy in mind for me. Her enthusiasm was true and contagious.”

See video footage of the reception below.

Video1

Video2

Executive Director of the Long Island Museum, Neil Watson (center) with his successors, Joshua Ruff (left) and Sarah Abruzzi (right) on the grounds of the LIM in front of the sculpture by Hans Van de Bovenkamp, “Montauk Sun & Moon,” 1986. Photo by Kristin Cuomo
Deputy Directors Sarah Abruzzi and Joshua Ruff named as successors

The Long Island Museum (LIM) in Stony Brook a Smithsonian affiliate dedicated to American history and art with a Long Island connection, announced May 5 that Executive Director, Neil Watson, will retire in October of 2022. During his nine years of dedicated leadership to the LIM, Watson introduced visitors to award winning exhibitions and educational programs, increased Museum membership, and enhanced musical programs. Along with Watson’s retirement, the LIM’s Board of Trustees also announced that the LIM’s current Deputy Directors, Sarah Abruzzi and Joshua Ruff will succeed Watson as Co-Executive Directors of the LIM.

Neil Watson’s contributions to the Long Island Museum have been beyond measure,” said Thomas M. Sullivan, the LIM’s Board of Trustees Chair. “His leadership and vision transformed the Museum into a more dynamic and representative reflection of our history and art. By assembling a fantastic group of talented people who shared his vision for how the museum serves the community, it is without question that Neil Watson had a transformative impact on the Long Island Museum.”

Since 2013, under Watson’s distinguished leadership, the LIM reopened the History Museum, initiated a new outdoor sculpture program and partnered with local organizations, such as the Sunday Street singer/songwriter series and North Shore Pro Musica, to bring a chamber music series to the community. During Watson’s tenure, the Museum’s annual operating budget has grown to nearly 3 million dollars and the Museum’s Endowment funds have doubled to over 40 million dollars. He also created a new level of membership to enhance and support the rich artistic talent on Long Island, entitled LIMarts: A Collaborative Arts Group, which currently has over 125 active artist members and offers the opportunity and space for the exhibition and sale of artwork.

“Retirement is never an easy decision, but it is even more difficult when you love what you do,” said Watson. “Here at LIM we are all dedicated to the idea that a museum can tell stories about who we are, through art, craft, history, music, and film. I could not be prouder of our accomplishments over the past nine years. Part of a director’s job is to imagine the future, and I felt strongly that we had two people in place who had the vision to take on the dual leadership model. Creative solutions make for creative outcomes, and the LIM culture is about trust, respect, and innovative thinking. I’m thankful to the Board, who were open to implementing a different model of museum leadership. I have the utmost confidence that Sarah and Joshua will bring their enthusiasm and expertise to guide the Museum into the next phase. As I take my exit, I can only thank them, the Board of Trustees, the gifted staff, and the community for giving me the most fulfilling years of my career.”

Sarah Abruzzi is an accomplished executive and fundraising professional with over 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector. Throughout her career, she has worked in all aspects of museum operations, including education, interpretation, collections management, volunteer coordination, fundraising, finance, HR, communications, and government relations.

Abruzzi grew up in Port Jefferson and remembers with great fondness her childhood visits to the LIM with her family. She first worked at the LIM in the late 2000s before spending eight years outside of the museum field serving as the lead fundraiser for Dr. Richard Leakey’s Kenya-based human origins research project at Stony Brook University. Abruzzi jumped at the chance to return to the LIM in 2017 as Director of Major Gifts and Special Projects. Abruzzi’s amiable management style and thoughtful approach to leadership paved the way for her promotion to Deputy Director/Director of Advancement & External Affairs in February 2019. Additionally, she previously served as Director of Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay,  and The Three Village Historical Society in Setauket.

Entering his 25th year at the LIM, including the last three as a Deputy Director and the last nine as the Director of Collections & Interpretation, managing both the Curatorial and Education departments, Joshua Ruff has a proven track record of strong leadership, excellence, and versatility as well as years of expertise in all facets of museum operations.

A lifelong resident of New York State, he is a graduate of Syracuse University with BAs in Broadcast Journalism and in History, and Stony Brook University with a MA in History. After curating or co-curating nearly 70 exhibitions of a variety of scale and scope and many publications, Ruff is a recognized scholar of Long Island art and history, two crucial components of the Museum’s mission. In addition to co-authoring several books and exhibition catalogs, his articles have appeared in publications including the Magazine Antiques; American Art Review; New York Archives Magazine; and American History magazine. Beyond his work at the Long Island Museum, Ruff has served in a variety of service capacities for outside organizations, including as Grant Reviewer for NYSCA’s Museum Program (2015-2018) and as an incoming member of the Board of Directors for the Museum Association of New York (2022-2025).

Neil Watson has been such a dynamic and collaborative leader for this museum, and we have learned and gained so much from him. We will miss him,” said Joshua Ruff,  Deputy Director and Director of Collections & Interpretation at the LIM.  “Sarah and I are thankful to the Board for this leadership opportunity and we are really excited for this new chapter. We’ll work hard with all our talented colleagues to take the LIM to new and exciting achievements,” Ruff continued.

Neil’s humility and humor have helped shape the LIM into the treasured community resource it is today,” said Sarah Abruzzi, Deputy Director and Director of Advancement & External Affairs. “Josh and I are honored to be a special part of Neil’s legacy and look forward to continuing his tradition of honest, inclusive, and transparent leadership in service of the Museum, our colleagues, and the community we all care so deeply about.”

The new organizational structure builds upon the strong and collaborative work environment that Watson cultivated at the LIM during his tenure. Over the past several years, the three have worked closely with the rest of the LIM’s talented Senior Staff to create a culture of equability and opportunity among the entire LIM staff of 39 people. Watson’s visionary plan of streamlining LIM’s work flow into two main areas will take place in October with Ruff responsible for Collections and Programming, and Abruzzi responsible for Operations.

“I can’t stress enough how supportive and instrumental Neil was to the expansion of the LIM’s Education Department,” said Lisa Unander, Director of Education at the Long Island Museum since 2013 and at the Museum for the past 16 years.

“His unique non-hierarchical and highly creative approach can be credited for how the LIM has been able to push the boundaries of our programs and become the even more inclusive community centered organization it is today. It won’t be the same without him, but he has instilled a welcoming, positive and vibrant workplace culture that I know Sarah and Joshua will continue to build upon as they continue the museum’s mission,” Unander continued.

Exhibitions during Watson’s career at the LIM include the groundbreaking Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island, the first major museum project to examine slavery from a Long Island regional historical perspective, Walt Whitman’s Arcadia: Long Island Through the Eyes of a Poet & Painters to mark the American bard’s 200th Birthday, and Fire & Form: New Directions in Glass, a visually striking exhibition featuring more than 50 works from nine contemporary artists.

Watson is known for his community engagement and charismatic style, and while serving as the Executive Director of the Katonah Museum of Art for nearly eight years, he also served on the Board of the Katonah Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Board of Arts Westchester, and as a museum panelist for the New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA). Prior to joining the LIM, Watson was the former Chief Curator of the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington and the former Curator of Contemporary Art at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL.

About the Long Island Museum

Located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults and children with an understanding of Long Island’s rich history and diverse cultures. Regular museum hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $5 for students 6 -17 and college students with I.D. Children under six are admitted for free. For more information visit longislandmuseum.org.

 

Milinda Abeykoon, lead beamline scientist at Pair Distribution Function Beamline, NSLS-II, aligning a sample holder for high-speed measurements, 2019. Photo courtesy of BNL

By Melissa Arnold

Over the past 75 years, Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) in Upton has become an international hub for innovative research and problem-solving. Their hard work has led to advancements in energy, medicine, physics and more, as well as seven Nobel Prizes.

A scientist at a fast neutron chopper at the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR), 1953. Photo courtesy of BNL

This year, the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook will celebrate the lab’s myriad achievements and explore their deep roots in the area. The new exhibit, titled Atoms to Cosmos: The Story of Brookhaven National Laboratory, opens April 21.

BNL and the Long Island Museum started working on ideas for a future exhibition back in 2018 with plans to open in April of 2020. But as with other museums, the pandemic led to a halt in operations.

In some ways, the rescheduled timing of the exhibit is better than their initial plans.

“While the exhibition was temporarily shelved, both the lab and the museum wanted very much to still make it happen. We had done so much work in advance and preparation for it in 2020, and so we really wanted to get back to this opportunity,” said Joshua Ruff, Deputy Director and Director of Collections and Interpretation for the Long Island Museum. “We are especially pleased we were able to do it now, as it fits nicely with the lab’s 75th anniversary celebration.”

Brookhaven National Laboratory was founded in 1947 at the former site of the U.S. Army’s Camp Upton, becoming the first large research facility in the Northeast. At the time, they were exploring peaceful ways to utilize atomic energy. 

“The BNL site has been in federal ownership since 1917 when it became the location of Camp Upton. Before that, the site was used for the cordwood industry and there was a small farm near the eastern edge of what is now the lab,” explained Timothy Green, BNL’s Environmental Compliance Section manager. “After World War I, all of the buildings were sold at auction and the site sat empty until around 1934, when it was declared the Upton National Forest and the Civilian Conservation Corps started planting trees. At the end of World War II [and a second period as Camp Upton], the land was transferred to the Atomic Energy Commission and became Brookhaven National Laboratory.”

It took some time for local residents to adjust to having a laboratory in the area, Ruff said.

A Positron Emission Tomography Halo Scanner/Detector.
Photo courtesy of BNL

“The lab has often been misunderstood in its past, in fact from its origins. Many Suffolk County residents were not entirely sure that atomic research was safe, nor did they fully understand the relevance and significance [of that research] to their lives,” he explained. “The lab devoted years of hard work and financial resources to strengthen public dialogue and communication, which the exhibition details.”

Today, the lab employs almost 3,000 people and spans 5,320 acres.

The exhibit is co-curated by Joshua Ruff and Long Island Museum curator Jonathan Olly. They’ve included more than 140 items that showcase the lab’s growth and varied discoveries from the 1950s to the present day. The Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington is lending four of the objects, including a 1,000-pound, 94-inch square magnet lamina from the Cosmotron, BNL’s first major particle accelerator. 

Another 40 objects are coming directly from the lab. Their contribution includes equipment from their facilities, personal belongings of former director Maurice Goldhaber, and “Atoms for Peace,” a famous painting that came to symbolize the lab’s work in its early years.

“A lot of the scientific research at BNL over the years has involved [developing] and testing cutting edge technologies. When these machines are no longer useful they’re usually recycled. Fortunately we do have two examples in the exhibition of early PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanners, one from 1961 and another from 1981,” Olly said. “In the case of these early machines, the focus was on the brain — the machines used radiation sensors arranged in a ring to produce a picture of a slice of your brain. Brookhaven scientists have used this PET technology (specifically the PETT VI scanner in the exhibition) in studying drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, ADHD, aging, and neurodegenerative disorders. The 1961 version is a prototype that was never used on patients.”

Also on view are an original chalkboard from the Graphite Research Reactor that still has writing on it; a 7-foot window from a bubble chamber that helped track the paths of atomic particles; and a detector that aided BNL chemist Raymond Davis Jr. in his Nobel Prize-winning neutrino research. 

Recently, the lab was a part of the ongoing effort to study and contain COVID-19. The exhibit will include a model of the virus, with the familiar spiky shape that’s become commonplace since the pandemic began.

“Scientists at the lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II worked on imaging the virus and the proteins … that allowed it to attach to human cells. At the same time, BNL computer scientists began developing algorithms to evaluate existing chemicals and drugs that could potentially prevent infection. One past experiment by [BNL biophysicist] William Studier, the T7 expression system, ended up being critical to the rapid development of two of the vaccines,” Green said.

Both the Long Island Museum and BNL staff hope that visitors to the exhibit come away with a deeper interest in science and an appreciation for the lab’s work.

“There are 17 national laboratories scattered throughout the United States, and Long Islanders can be proud to have one in their backyard. Long Island children have been inspired to pursue careers in science as a result of attending educational programs at the lab during public visitor days dating back to the 1950s. And the lab is invested in addressing our real-world problems, whether the dangers posed by DDT on Long Island in the 1960s or COVID now. This summer BNL should be resuming their “Summer Sundays” visitor program, and I encourage everyone to visit the lab, walk around, talk to staff, and get a glimpse of our scientific present and future,” Olly said.

Atoms to Cosmos: The Story of Brookhaven National Lab is on view now through Oct. 16 in the Long Island Museum’s History Museum and Visitor Center’s Main Gallery, 1200 Rt. 25A, Stony Brook. Regular museum hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Masks are required at this time, though health and safety guidelines are subject to change Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $5 for students 6 to 17 and college students with I.D. Children under six are admitted for free. Tickets are available at the door; pre-registration is not required. For more information visit longislandmuseum.org or call 631-751-0066. 

Learn more about Brookhaven National Lab at www.BNL.gov.

'Sagaponack' by Cecile Gray Bazelon will be on view at the museum through Sept. 4. Image from LIM
‘Roses’ by Jane Freilicher

The Long Island Museum (LIM) has announced it will reopen to the public on March 3, 2022 after a seasonal closure. The museum will invite visitors to explore two new exhibitions, Two Centuries of Long Island Women Artists, 1800-2000 and The 23rd annual Colors of Long Island Student Art Exhibition.

Two Centuries of Long Island Women Artists, 1800-2000, on view from March 3 to Sept. 4, is an exhibition that aims to provide a survey of the history of women artists on Long Island, exploring and emphasizing their significance, which has reverberated far beyond this region. 

Visiting Curator and Assistant Director at Questroyal Fine Art, Inc. Nina Sangimino, along with LIM Curators, Joshua Ruff and Jonathan Olly, took part in this project that draws from LIM’s own collection, private collections, and the collections of museums that include the Parrish Museum of Art, the Heckscher Museum of Art, and Guild Hall. 

The exhibition will present over 80 works from close to 70 different artists, both celebrated and those that are relatively lesser-known, from different eras and a diverse set of backgrounds, stylistic approaches, and materials. 

“Focusing an exhibition entirely on women’s contributions to art history, in this region, is an exciting opportunity for the LIM,” said Joshua Ruff, Deputy Director, Director of Collections and Interpretations at the Long Island Museum. “There are internationally-renowned artists in this exhibition, such as Grace Hartigan and April Gornik. But we also are presenting the work of less famous women artists who have had far less coverage but deserve to be known,” said Ruff. 

‘Shattered Color’ by Lee Krasner

The LIM’s 23rd annual Colors of Long Island Student Art Exhibition, on view from March 3 to April 3, affords an opportunity for hundreds of students from across Long Island to display their artwork in a museum setting. Art teachers from Long Island’s public and private schools in grades pre-k through 12th grade were invited to submit up to two pieces of student artwork for the exhibition.

Traditionally, the theme, “Colors of Long Island,” allows for many creative interpretations. While some students refer to Long Island’s landscapes, others prefer to focus on the cultural diversity that makes Long Island so beautiful. The varying interpretations of this theme will be portrayed through a selection of media, including watercolor, sculpture, pencil, ink, oil pastel, photographs and computer graphics.   

“The museum’s education department is excited to return to hosting student artwork in our History Museum gallery,” said Kristin Cuomo, Senior Educator at the Long Island Museum. 

“This year’s exhibition features 107 schools from across Nassau and Suffolk, with work from over 200 students in grades pre-k through 12 displayed. The art spans a variety of styles and media, reflecting the talent and dedication of our teachers and young people. As a whole, the gallery reflects the joy of creativity and the excitement of being able to once again exhibit in person,” she said.

In addition to exploring the new exhibitions, visitors are also welcome to explore the state-of-the-art Carriage Museum, which includes eight renovated galleries that tell the story of transportation before the automobile. 

The Long Island Museum is located at 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook. Hours are Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.