Just 13 miles up Route 9 from Hudson, in the village of Kinderhook, NY, is gallerist Jack Shainman’s latest venture, aptly named The School. Repurposed from a decommissioned Federal Revival public school built in 1929, this beautiful new exhibition venue has been thoughtfully redesigned by Spanish architect Antonio Jimenez Torrecillas into a multifaceted project space and gallery featuring work and projects by Shainman’s roster of internationally known artists.
The School opened this past May to much fanfare, with a performance and exhibition of new and recent work by Nick Cave. Since then, construction on the building continues, with the gallery open to the public on Saturdays from 11–5 and by appointment. Since we were to pass through the area on a Tuesday, we made an appointment to tour the facility with the affable Chris Davison, Manager of Operations. Although just a party of four, we received a warm welcome upon arrival and Davison’s knowledge and enthusiasm brought the project to life as he guided us through the stunning building and exhibitions.
The architect’s thoughtful consideration of the building’s promenade maximizes viewer interaction with the artwork on display, heightening the visual impact of Cave’s exquisitely constructed Soundsuits and powerful sculptural assemblages. Installed within widely varying spatial conditions, from the jewelbox-like entryway on up to traditional white rooms, rougher spaces with unfinished walls, and bright, double-height corridors flanking the building’s centre, the unique features of each space allow the artworks to be experienced from multiple vantage points — above, below, up close, and afar. Cave’s meticulous attention to detail, both in his well-known Soundsuits and more recent works which recontextualize racially charged design objects that the artist found in local flea markets and junk shops, amply rewards the viewer’s close inspection.
Below, a series of images from the exhibition. If you are local and/or planning a visit to The School before summer’s end, do yourself a favour and skip the photo spoilers in favour of experiencing the real thing — a tour through the building encompasses much surprise and delight for the uninitiated. However, if you will not have the opportunity to visit anytime soon, the photos below provide a wonderful sampling of Cave’s work and the way they interact with the spaces at The School.
Please contact the gallery for more information on the works shown. An overview of Cave’s work, including performance footage, can be found here. For more information on The School, see here. All photos by Shani K Parsons, except top image by James Prinz Photography.