From August 5 to November 13, artists and art institutions, both local and international, will present exhibitions, programs and publications under the title Transitions-Rochester. For the past several years a consortium of international artists, curators, and administrators has organized to consider Rochester, NY. As a rapidly changing city, Rochester’s days as a company town are over and urban sprawl and ineffective city planning have left it a disabled core surrounded by middle-class wealth. How is the city dealing with the transition? What does it mean for the quality of life? How can the center of this former industrial city survive? How can new residential and commercial areas develop to reinvent Rochester? What do area leaders and residents expect from their city? What does segregation (black-white/rich-poor) look like? How can the city center be revitalized?
This project, initiated by Dutch photographers Theo Baart and Cary Markerink, and Rochester-based curators Rick Hock of Visual Studies Workshop and Alison Nordström of Eastman House, has grown to include support from Visual Studies Workshop, FOTODOK (The Netherlands), Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Eastman House, photographer Andrea Stultiens (The Netherlands), photographers Gregory Halpern, and Oscar Palacio, sound artist Jason Bernagozzi, and graffiti mural artists the FUA Krew, all currently based in Rochester.
Throughout the project, Visual Studies Workshop has provided access to its production facilities and research materials. From September 2 through November 13, VSW’s exhibitions program will present works by these artists as well as documentary projects on Rochester by current graduate students in The College at Brockport, Visual Studies MFA program. In addition, six books that use the international language of photography to examine and document Rochester will be co-published by Visual Studies Workshop Press and FOTODOK.
As part of to Transitions, Rochester Contemporary Art Center will present State of the City 2011: In the Loop. State of the City is an annual program of exhibitions, lectures and community events that bring together artists from various backgrounds and disciplines to document and explore Upstate NY cities. State of the City 2011: In The Loop will take Rochester’s unmistakable, much maligned, and nearly 50-year-old ring highway “The Inner Loop” as a departure point. The artists in the exhibition will employ diverse methods such as traditional landscape painting, photo documentation, interactive video, and psychogeography, to consider and discuss the history, present moment, and future of Downtown Rochester. This vital series of exhibitions will continue to generate important discussions across the art community and foster productive collaborations between artists, cultural institutions, urban planning/architecture professionals and the general public in Upstate/Western NY.
As one of the three presenting institutions regionally, Eastman House will allocate a gallery in the historic mansion for a survey exhibition of the work of the three Dutch photographers, Cary Markerink, Theo Baart and Andrea Stultiens, and two US photographers, Oscar Palacio and Gregory Halpern. Much of the exhibition considers the role of Kodak and popular photography in the shaping of Rochester’s self-image. Curator of Photographs Alison Nordström will write an introductory text for the project as a whole and is coordinating the Eastman House installation.
Events and programs that span the fall will include exhibition opening receptions, artists’ talks, informal panels, open houses, and opportunities for people of all backgrounds to share their visions of what Rochester could be.