September 29, 2018 – February 25, 2019
It’s been nearly 200 years since Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School, wrote Essay on American Scenery. In this important text he extolls the virtues of a distinctly American landscape, and warns against the threat of encroaching industry. While much has changed since then, the legacy of Thomas Cole’s urgent, eloquent message to the world continues to ring true today. In this exhibition, ten visual artists and seven writers collectively reflect the numerous ways in which landscape continues to be – quite literally – the ground upon which we cultivate our relationship to places that are both familiar and far-flung.
This project was developed as a multi-disciplinary conversation with Thomas Cole’s 1836 Essay on American Scenery. Kathy Greenwood, Director, Albany International Airport Art & Culture Program and Kate Menconeri, Curator, Thomas Cole National Historic Site joined forces to invite the participation of ten contemporary artists whose works resonate with Cole’s text, and offer critical and at times poetic perspectives about our current moment. The project was inspired by Madeline Conley, a 2017-2018 Cole Fellow who launched a call for new writing in response to Cole’s Essay with the prompt of, “How is our landscape changing?” The written works selected for Landmark were chosen by an esteemed panel of readers, who included: J. Jeffrey Anzevino, Land Use Advocacy Director, Scenic Hudson; Kathy Greenwood, Director, Art & Culture Program, Albany International Airport; W. Douglas McCombs, Chief Curator, Albany Institute of History and Art; Kate Menconeri, Curator, Thomas Cole National Historic Site; Nancy Siegel, Professor of Art History, Towson University; and Allan Wallach, Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and Professor of American Studies Emeritus, Professorial Lecturer in Art History, George Washington University. The Albany International Airport expresses sincere thanks to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Fellows Adam Grimes and Madeline Conley, and the artists, writers, and readers who made this project possible.