Tags Posts tagged with "Karli Wurzelbacher"

Karli Wurzelbacher

By Tara Mae

Proud portraits. Mixed media meditations. Vibrant colors and muted tones. A true exploration of artistic expression, the 26th annual Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum student exhibition is now on view in Huntington through May 29.

Jurors Karli Wurzelbacher, (Curator, at The Heckscher Museum), and local artist Emily Martin (a weaver, installation artist, and textile designer) had the difficult task of selecting 79 works out of 399 entries from 55 different schools. “It is our most competitive year yet,” said Director of Visitor Experience Kristina Schaaf.

Top awards went to four distinct mixed media works of art. 11th grader Ashley Park of Half Hollow Hills High School West won the  Celebrate Achievement Best in Show award for This is Who I Am; 12th grader Anjali Gauld of Manhasset High School received Second Place for Bowerbird’s Baubles; 12th grader Khizran Fatima of Hicksville High School captured Third Place for Sinf e Aahan (Women of Steel); 12th grader Charlotte Quintero of Hicksville High School received Fourth Place for Tattered Flesh. 

Long Island’s Best is a way to highlight the talent we have in our communities and connect it with the public. People come in and cannot believe that teenagers have created such high caliber art,” said Director of Education and Public Programs Joy Weiner.

The museum is an educational institution at its core and Long Island’s Best is the culmination of its school outreach program. High school art teachers arrange for their students to visit the museum either in person, or since the pandemic began, virtually. 

Educators at the museum guide the students through detailed study and discourse about works of art; students then select the works of art that most appeal to them as   inspiration for their own pieces. Participants include Artist Statements in their submissions, describing their methods, inspirations, and reactions to what they saw in the museum, as well as how it led them to creating their art. 

“Jurors reading about their work in their own words is a huge part of the process; it is so important for students to have to speak about what they are making,” Schaaf said. “The statements are also on view in exhibition. We take what every student has written about their process and ideas and we put it on the walls. Visitors hear from students themselves when they visit and we include little images of works that inspired them.” 

There are two awards that have not yet been determined: Visitors’ Choice, for which museum-goers may vote in person and Virtual Visitors Choice, for which website viewers may vote online. 

In addition to the month-long exhibition in the galleries, Mitchell’s, the Huntington-based retailer, and Firefly Gallery in Northport are currently showing select student works in their stores through May. 

Beyond the immediate satisfaction of having their efforts recognized, guest juror Martin, a finalist in Long Island’s Best when she was a junior at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School in 2014, identifies with the impact participating in the exhibit can have on the students. 

“I was always interested in art, but was unsure if it would be something I would pursue until I got into the LI Best show. Being chosen for this exhibit jump started my journey to become an artist,” Martin said. 

The Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Avenue, Huntington is open Thursday to Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. $5 admission is suggested for adults, free for children under the age of 13. For more information, call 631-380-3230 or visit www.heckscher.org.

By Tara Mae

It’s time to celebrate! In honor of the Heckscher Museum of Art’s 100th anniversary, the museum will present a centennial exhibit, The Heckscher Museum Celebrates 100: Tracing History, Inspiring the Future from June 5 to Jan. 10, 2022. 

The exhibit is both a retrospective and a promise of future endeavors. Grouped chronologically by year, it encompasses the entire museum and features art and artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media, acquired as part of its collection over the years.

“The work in our collection belongs to us. Because of the size of the museum, our permanent collection includes 2300 objects and at any one time we can only show about 100 things. It fills the entire museum; one big show,” said curator Karli Wurzelbacher. “I looked at the museum’s 100 year history and identified four key moments that are important to who we are as an institution.”

These elements are the museum’s founding, its relationship with local artist George Grosz, the influence of Long Island artists Arthur Dove and Helen Torr, and the largest donation ever received by the museum ­— a 363 piece Baker/Pisano collection of American Modernism in multiple forms: sculpture, watercolor, paintings, and pastels.

Founded in 1920 by Anna Atkins Heckscher and August Heckscher, the museum’s original collection was donated by the couple, who built it from scratch and gathered artwork with the museum in mind, according to Wurzelbacher. 

Having emigrated from Germany to escape the Nazis’ rise to power in the 1930s, Grosz lived in Huntington from 1947 until his death in 1959 and became very involved in the work of the Heckscher. 

“He visited the museum, served as a juror for contemporary art shows, taught private art lessons for adults in the community, and then the museum started collecting his works. [Our] collection didn’t start growing until the 1960s when we started adding works, slowly … He is one of the first artists we started collecting,” said Wurzelbacher.

Grosz’ most famous painting, Eclipse of the Sun, is featured in the centennial exhibit and serves perhaps as a symbol for both the artist and museum’s ties to the local community. 

After Grosz painted Eclipse in 1926, it was shown once at a European exhibition. It was then lost to the public for the next 40 years, until a visitor to the museum disclosed that they were in possession of it. The Heckscher’s art director at the time, Eva Gatling, launched a campaign to acquire the painting.

“…Gatling was one of the first female [museum] art directors in the country. She saw the painting and mobilized the community to pitch in and buy the work. About 200 people donated money to purchase work,” Wurzelbacher said. “Students at Huntington High School took up a collection. It’s a fantastic story about the community coming together collectively to buy one of the most important works of the 20th century by a local artist.”

Like Grosz, Arthur Dove and Helen Torr made Long Island their adopted home. The museum, which has the largest collection of Torr’s work, will display archival materials such as paint brushes and paints used by the couple, as well as their artwork. 

Peers of Georgia O’Keefe and figures of American Modernism, they lived on a boat docked in Huntington Harbor during the 1920s to 1930s and purchased a cottage in Centerport that was acquired by the museum in 1998.

“Their artwork, while abstract, distills their experiences living on the Long Island Sound. They are so important in the history of American Modernism and the history of Long Island art. Dove is considered the first American artist to work with abstraction in the 1910s … In 1972, Eva Gatling [organized] the first ever museum exhibition of Helen Torr, whose work is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,” said Wurzelbacher. 

Unlike many other museums, the Heckscher owns its entire collection, built up over the years largely through acquisitions and donations. The Baker/Pisano collection, featuring work by O’Keefe and Florine Stettheimer, was donated in 2001. It also contains work by Long Island artists and reflects a connection to the area.  

“In doing this process, it has been remarkable in seeing these deep local ties. We show Long Island and local art, and are able to put it in a national and international context,” Wurzelbacher explained. 

The scope of the exhibit, however, embraces and extends beyond these motifs. “We also have outstanding acquisitions that don’t relate to these themes,” she added. 

“A lot of the show is masterworks of collections … things we exhibit rarely but that we wanted to get out for this occasion, as well as historical ephemera: old photos of previous exhibits and photos of the museum as it looked soon after it opened.”  

In September, about two dozen objects will go off-view and other art will go on-view. Originally intended for 2020, the museum’s centennial plans were postponed due to the pandemic. “I am happy to have the extra time; it allowed us to end the show with recent acquisitions. Had we done the show a year ago, we wouldn’t have been able to include them,” Wurzelbacher said. 

Tickets are available for purchase online at www.heckscher.org. Timed ticketing is required. The museum is open Thursday to Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-380-3230.

'The 2021 Press' by Ashley Park

The Heckscher Museum in Huntington has announced the top prizewinners for its student exhibition, Long Island’s Best: Young Artists. This edition marks 25 years of celebrating young artists across Suffolk and Nassau Counties. More than 300 student submissions, representing more than 50 schools across Long Island participated. Jurors chose 83 works of art for exhibition. The following students were awarded the top four prizes:  

‘Cultivating the Mustard’ by Keren Dial

Celebrate Achievement Best in Show

Keren Dial, Valley Stream South High School, Grade 11 for Cultivating the Mustard, colored pencil.

Second Place, Judith Sposato Memorial Prize

Ashley Park, Half Hollow Hills High School West in Dix Hills, Grade 10, for The 2021 Press, mixed media.

Third Place, The Hadley Prize

Aleena Abraham, Hicksville High School, Grade 12, for Storge, oil pastel.

Fourth Place, The Stan Brodsky Scholarship Award

Ariel Kim, Jericho Senior High School, Grade 12, for Personal Garden, oil pastel and colored pencil.

The exhibition’s anniversary milestone comes during a year where virtual visits and online classes were held in lieu of in-person programs. Despite challenges, art teachers and Museum educators worked together to give high school students meaningful experiences with exhibitions on view.  Museum educators involved students through in-depth study and discussion about works of art. Each student then selected a work of art as their inspiration piece. They went on to create an original artwork and write an artist’s statement explaining their creative process.

‘Storge’ by Aleena Abraham

Jurors for the 2021 exhibition are Karli Wurzelbacher, Curator, and artist Melissa Misla, guest juror. Misla is a New York artist who holds an MFA from Queens College and is represented by Praxis Art Gallery, New York City. 

“I was eager to see the students’ approaches to creating,” said Misla, adding, “Long Island’s Best can impact a young artist in a transformative way.”  

Long Island’s Best: Young Artists will be on view at The Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington and online at www.heckscher.org through May 23. 

A virtual opening reception and awards ceremony will be held live on Instagram @heckschermuseum on May 1 from 7 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 631-380-3230.

'Us' by William King, 1996, brushed stainless steel. Image courtesy of Heckscher Museum

Some good news: The Heckscher Museum of Art will reopen on Aug. 1.

Visitors will finally be able to see the incredible artwork from Long Island’s Best: Young Artists at the Heckscher Museum and Amanda Valdez: Piecework in person (through Heckscher at Home, the museum had presented these exhibitions virtually) as well as a new installation titled Balancing Act: Three Sculptures by William King. The mini-exhibition features whimsical works by Long Island sculptor William King who was known for his ability to breathe life into static sculptures, especially these stainless steel pieces that at first glance look precariously balanced.

“This is the first time that all three of King’s sculptures from the museum collection are on view together,” noted curator Karli Wurzelbacher. “The themes they address are central to our shared human experience and strike me as especially timely. The need for social distancing means that the gatherings and activities that usually take place in the museum’s lobby are on pause. I’m thrilled that King’s freewheeling figures can populate the space and greet our visitors as they return!”

To ensure all visitors’ safety, admission will be by advance reservation and timed ticketing only. Frequent cleaning schedules are in place and the museum will be a touch-free experience. New modified hours, updated admission policies, and complete health and safety guidelines can be found at www.heckscher.org/reopening. For the time being, admission will be free. To reserve your ticket, visit www.heckscher.org or call 631-380-3230.

Hog Wild
A visual and virtual feast for the eyes opens in Huntington

By Melissa Arnold

As the Heckscher Museum of Art marks 100 years since its founding this year, they have taken time to explore both the past and future through art.

Over the next few months, the Huntington museum will exhibit the work of contemporary abstract artist Amanda Valdez, whose deep appreciation for art history, beauty and feminism have led her to a unique and interesting style. While Valdez has an extensive commercial exhibition history from coast to coast, this will be just the second time she’s exhibited a range of paintings from various points in her career.

log punch

“I came to art as a teenager by the grace of an amazing high school art teacher. I had the false assumption that artists were the kids who draw naturally and render everything they could see to everyone’s astonishment,” said Valdez, 37, of New York City. “My teacher exposed me to the concept that art could be learned — that I had a creative pulse — so if I worked hard I could make something with that pulse.”  

The exhibit, titled Amanda Valdez: Piecework, is aptly named for the way the artist creates complex works of art with a variety of techniques, including embroidery, sewing and painting.

“While we think of a painting as putting paint on a canvas, [Amanda] reminds us that canvas is, in fact, cloth. She hand-dyes other types of cloth and sews them to the canvas to create her works of art,” explained Karli Wurzelbacher, curator at the Heckscher Museum. “The different types of media she combines are very interesting. For example, embroidery is very feminine — she likes to celebrate feminine things. But while embroidered fabrics are usually delicate, she works with thick, heavy layers. She also hand-dyes her own fabric. She even lent the museum her dye notebook, where she keeps track of how she achieves certain colors.”

Amanda Valdez

Wurzelbacher said she’s been aware of Valdez for about 10 years — they both studied at CUNY’s Hunter College, albeit in different programs. Wurzelbacher always found Valdez’s work beautiful and interesting, and thought that she would be a good fit for this historic milestone at the museum.

“We’re dedicating a lot of time to looking back through our history and where the museum has been, as well as looking forward into the next 100 years,” the curator explained. “Amanda is a contemporary artist in the middle of her career. Part of her practice is looking back at art history and then making something new out of that. She also celebrates the traditional ways that women have made things — textiles, embroidery, sewing, dye, quilting — while also tapping into modernist history and ideas. She marries those two traditions and brings them into dialogue with each other.”

Valdez said she enjoys abstract art for its ability to portray aspects of humanity without having to assign elements of age, gender or nationality in a painting. “Human history is endlessly inspiring to me. I find moments of interest, such as Islamic patterning, women’s history as told through fiber objects, or pagan iconography in Renaissance art, and I spend time researching these moments and movements, and slowly let it seep into my work. I love thinking about all the things all the humans have made with their hands over time,” she said.  

Nine Patch Tanit

The exhibit features a total of 19 paintings chronicling Valdez’s career from 2013 through 2019. She has also included one pencil sketch to show a bit of the preparation and brainstorming behind her artistic process.

The included paintings show an evolution in style over time, Wurzelbacher said. “Diamond Pressure,” a piece from 2013, has minimal embroidery and features bleeding, blending acrylic paints. Later pieces include more complex embroidery or the use of oil sticks, which can be handheld like pastels for a more immediate mark.

The unique exhibit will be on display at the same time as the Long Island’s Best exhibit, a juried collection of art from 100 high school students from Nassau and Suffolk Counties with impressive artistic talent. Wurzelbacher said she believes the young artists and their loved ones will appreciate sharing space with Valdez as a relatable contemporary and possible inspiration.

“This is the first time Amanda’s work is being made accessible right here in our community, and while it’s beautiful to see in print and online, it’s even more impressive viewed in person,” Wurzelbacher said. “You’ll get to see the incredible detail, colors, layers and textures in each piece. It’s special.”

Fourth place winner 'Check Mate' by Bridget Buckmaster

The Heckscher Museum in Huntington has announced the top prize winners for its 2020 Long Island’s Best: Young Artists show.

Now in its 24th year, Long Island’s Best is the only juried exhibition for Long Island high school students that provides the opportunity to exhibit in a museum. Students are encouraged to think outside the box as they work in a broad range of media, styles, and subjects.

This year there were more than 388 student submissions, representing 58 participating high schools. Jurors selected 100 as finalists. The following students were awarded the top four prizes. 

Best in Show: ‘Prismatic Bubble’ by Stephanie Lopez

Stephanie Lopez, an 11th grader at Hicksville High School, captured the Celebrate Achievement Best in Show for her acrylic painting titled “Prismatic Bubble.” 

Matthew Diesing, Grade 11, John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore won second place, the Judith Sposato Memorial Prize, for his oil pastel, “A Seat at the Table.”

Micarlys Ramirez, a senior at Brentwood High School, was awarded third place, The Hadley Prize, for her acrylic on canvas piece, “Ydelim in a Green Chair.”

Northport High School junior Bridget Buckmaster garnered Fourth Place, The Stan Brodsky Scholarship Award, for her digital photograph titled “Check Mate.” 

Bridget is the first to receive a Long Island’s Best Stan Brodsky Scholarship Award. Stan Brodsky (1924-2019) was a Long Island artist, teacher and friend to the Museum. Generous donations from members, friends, and former students, endowed the scholarship, to be given every year in memory of the artist.

The Firefly Artist Gallery, Northport, has also donated a new award for a deserving Long Island’s Best student. Voting for the Virtual Visitors Choice Award will be open on Heckscher.org beginning April 24. 

The Long Island’s Best experience begins with students visiting the Museum where they see and discuss works on view. Each student then chooses a work of art as an inspiration piece. They go on to create an original artwork and write an Artist’s Statement explaining their creative process.  

Jurors for the 2020 exhibition were Karli Wurzelbacher, Curator, The Heckscher Museum of Art; and guest juror Nancy Richner, Director (retired), Hofstra University Museum of Art. “[As a juror], I hoped to gain a sense of the high school artist’s curiosity and response to this challenge set before them,” said Richner. “I can’t imagine a better feeling of affirmation and support for students. Long Island’s Best fosters students’ sense of curiosity and daringness to engage and try – and everyone wins – students, community, the art world – and of course, the Museum!”

To see all 100 images and all of this year’s award winners, visit www.Heckscher.org.

By Melissa Arnold

In 1867, August Heckscher left his native Germany and, like so many others of that time, embarked on a journey to start a new life of prosperity in the United States. He immediately set to work mining coal for his cousin’s business, all the while studying English. Heckscher’s efforts led him to a lucrative career in iron and zinc mining, and he ultimately became a multimillionaire.

Heckscher was well-known for his philanthropy, and in 1920, he gave back to the town of Huntington with the establishment of Heckscher Park. The beautiful setting of the park became home to the Heckscher Museum of Art, which was founded with a gift of 185 works from Heckscher’s personal collection including art from the Renaissance, the Hudson River School and early modernist American art.

The museum has since weathered the Great Depression, eras of war and peace and changing artistic tastes in the community. That early collection has blossomed to include more than 2,000 pieces that include many styles, media and historical time periods from artists all over the world.

Today, the Heckscher Museum of Art is looking ahead to 2020 and honoring its home with a museum-wide exhibit entitled Locally Sourced: Celebrating Long Island Artists.

At the helm for this exhibit is the Heckscher Museum’s new curator, Karli Wurzelbacher, who joined the staff in August. Wurzelbacher studied art history in college and spent the better part of a decade in and around Manhattan before coming out to Long Island.

“We wanted to take a broad view of all the artists who have visited and worked on Long Island at some point in their lifetime,” she said. “In this exhibit, we’ve represented more than 130 years of art in all styles, from very abstract to very representational. It’s about all the different perspectives that Long Island has inspired. I think everyone here has been looking forward to our 100th anniversary and wanting to commemorate it in a special way. The museum has always been so supportive of artists who have lived and worked here, and it’s part of our mission to preserve and share the history of Long Island through art.”

The process of planning Locally Sourced was already underway when Wurzelbacher arrived on Long Island. She acknowledged that an exhibit that encompasses the whole museum was quite the undertaking, but it allowed her to dive deep into the Heckscher’s permanent collection.

“Curating gives the opportunity to tell stories and create narratives visually using objects, and to help people make connections between artists,” said Wurzelbacher. “Some of the artists in this exhibit were teachers or students to other [artists], and you can see that in their work.”

The exhibit is divided into four sections, each offering a unique view of Long Island. They include Huntington’s Own featuring the works of renowned painters George Grosz, Arthur Dove, Stan Brodsky, Mary Callery and many more who live or lived and worked around Huntington; East End Exchanges which explores the connections and influences of artists of the East End, including Fairfield Porter and Jane Wilson; Women Artists which features the work of female artists who have made a profound impact on their field, such as Miriam Schapiro, Betty Parsons and Esphyr Slobodkina with a nod to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing women the right to vote; and Landscapes that trace the changes in environment and in art throughout the Island’s history. This gallery includes 19th-century images from Thomas Moran, to modern works by Ty Stroudsburg who interpret Long Island’s land, sea and air.

The exhibit includes work in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture and mixed projects. In all, more than 100 pieces represent the work of 89 artists — just a fraction of the museum’s permanent collection, Wurzelbacher said.

Visitors to the museum will have a chance to weigh in on the places and things that they believe make Long Island special. Stop by and leave a pin on the 15-foot graphic of Long Island in the Huntington exhibit. The graphic will also show where the exhibit’s artists lived.

“Artists have been escaping the city to come out to the country and take part in the natural life here from very early on. To see the rugged terrain and vegetation of the North Shore, it’s easy to understand why artists would be drawn here,” said Michael Schantz, the museum’s president and CEO. “Ultimately this collection belongs to the community, and everyone should be proud that there are so many artists that have called Long Island home. We want to celebrate that.”

The Heckscher Museum, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington will present Locally Sourced: Celebrating Long Island Artists from Nov. 23 through March 15, 2020. The museum is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission discounts are available for children, students, members of the military, first responders and residents of the Town of Huntington. For more information, call 631-351-3250 or visit www.heckscher.org.