Friday, July 17, 2009

Peter Schjeldahl's Fireworks

Schjeldahl Potluck 2009. Photo by Richard McCabe.

During the 4th of July weekend of this year, the Ogden's chief preparator, Richard McCabe, and I travelled to New York to return works from previous exhibitions of Hunt Slonem and Margaret Evangeline. As luck would have it, the final delivery of Evangeline's work to the Catskills was scheduled to coincide with Peter Schjeldahl's private Independence Day celebration and fireworks display. In their turn-of-the-century farmhouse located just a few miles from the celebration, artists Ruth Hardinger and C. Michael Norton were gracious hosts for the night to a small group including Margaret Evangeline, art critic Dominique Nahas, Susan Smith, Richard and myself, among others.

Schjeldahl's Driveway 2009. Photo by Richard McCabe.

Susan Smith 2009. Photo by Richard McCabe.

Ruth Hardinger 2009. Photo by Richard McCabe.

Currently head art critic at The New Yorker, for nearly 45 years, Schjeldahl has written art criticism in New York. He is also a contemporary postmodern poet in the tradition of the New York School. In a 2006 questionnaire published in Frieze Magazine, Schjeldahl was asked, "What could you imagine doing if you didn't do what you do?". His answer was pyrotechnician. For over twenty years, he has staged his fireworks performance in the Catskills, an event that he aptly describes as "terror and delight."

Peter Schjeldahl 2009. Photo by Richard McCabe.

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