The Weeks Gallery at Jamestown Community College will present an ArtHappening on Sept. 29 to introduce Robert Hirsch's exhibition, "The Sixties Cubed: Signs, Symbols, and Celebrities," and to celebrate the 1960s' golden anniversary. Hirsch's photographic installations present more than 40,000 images encased within 4x4x4-inch plastic cubes. Several composites form singular personalities such as Jackie Kennedy, Tricky Dicky, Lenny Bruce, Rachael Carson and Neil Armstrong. The multifaceted, pyramidal sculptures present hundreds of celebrity and consumer icons.
Hirsch, summarizing the show and era, wrote, "No decade in recent U.S. history has reverberated and been mythologized more than the '60s. This venture explores how visual media interacts with the exceptional as well as daily life. Although its legacy is hotly debated, one overarching theme that defined this turbulent decade was an intense drive by a minority counterculture to generate alternatives to conventional institutions and social customs. At its best, the 1960s was a chapter of new possibilities."
Visit lightresearch.net for Robert Hirsch's detailed essay.
Visitors will experience the 1960s' aura to reflect on the counter-culture's movers and shakers, the ins and outs, and the ups and downs. For baby boomers, the show will summon histories, stories and confessions. The program presents live and recorded music, including folk, psychedelic rock, protest songs, rhythm and blues, beat, and soul. The unique and stimulating show, infused with 1960s music, promises to be one of the most entertaining gallery events in recent history.
To add to the fun, blend in, and prepare for this groovy experience, administrators, faculty, students, and community members are invited to search their wardrobes or visit a vintage store to dress mod or to wear a few 1960s accessories.
The Weeks Gallery program will begin at 6 p.m. with a viewing of "The Sixties Cubed: Signs, Symbols, and Celebrities." At 6:30, Hirsch will discuss his cubed photomontages, monolithic "Peace Sign," "Spinning Mobile," "Timeline," "Button Women," and "Dream Machine."
At 7 p.m., Oliver Burdo, an Infinity Visual and Performing Arts student, will open the Scharmann Theatre concert with his rendition of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'." At 7:15, Mercury Rising, featuring Nelson Starr and members of Stinger, a Buffalo-based 1960s/classic rock band, will present songs by the Beatles, Country Joe and the Fish, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Steppenwolf, and others. Visit NelsonStarr.com and stingerband.com for more information.
The reception, which will begin at 8:30 in the Scharmann lobby and Weeks Reception Hall, includes hors d'oeuvres and wine and beer tasting. Family Function and the Sitar Jams, a Buffalo-based band that just completed a Colorado tour, will enliven the festivities with its East-West fusion that melds Indian classical and folk roots with funk, rock and jazz. Their instrumentation is reminiscent of Ravi Shankar, a visionary sitar player who gained world attention in the 1960s and influenced The Byrds and The Beatles. Visit sitarjams.com for information.
Tickets for the ArtHappening (exhibition, talk, concert, and post concert reception) are available through JCC's FSA bookstore box office by calling 338-1187, or at the door. Prices are: general admission, $20; JCC/FSA members, $15; area students, $10. The bookstore is open Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHY THE 1960s SHOW, WHY NOW?
Historians agree that 1962's sociopolitical events like the cascading civil rights and Vietnam War protests, the liberal movement and conservative backlash, and the emergence of Beatles signified the new era. This exhibition stimulates the visual senses and sparks critical thinking and imagining. Like the 1960s, our times reflect change, uncertainty and division. A historical look at the 1960s may provide context, comparison and insights.
Many events, movements and personalities from this controversial era fueled the 1960s metamorphosis and are rooted in our culture: Haight Ashbury, Woodstock and hippies; the Vietnam War, draft and demonstrations; The Beatles, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Aretha Franklin; Andy Warhol, Louise Nevelson, and Allen Ginsberg; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, sit-ins, marches and riots; Billie Jean King, Mohammed Ali and Johnny Unitas; Presidents Nixon, Kennedy and Johnson; and the Women's Movement, Shirley Chisholm, and Betty Friedan. Histories are better understood after time; some transformations improve with age and others sour. What distillations, from the 1960s infusion of experimentation, remain pure and central to the American spirit?
Hirsch, a Buffalo resident, is one of the most prolific and multi-talented artist/writers to exhibit in the Weeks Gallery. He authored "Seizing the Light: A Social History of Photography," "Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age," "Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Equipment, Ideas, Materials, and Processes," and "Exploring Color Photography: From Film to Pixels."
He has published scores of articles explaining visual culture and has interviewed eminent imagemakers. Hirsch is the former Associate Editor for Photovision and Digital Camera magazines and a contributing writer for Afterimage, exposure, Fotophile, The History of Photography, The Photo Review, and World Book Encyclopedia, among others.
Hirsch's work has been exhibited in more than 200 solo and group shows. His "The Sixties Cubed" project premiered this spring at both CEPA Gallery and Indigo Art in Buffalo. His installation, "World in a Jar: War and Trauma," has traveled to more than a dozen venues around the world and is now in the Burchfield-Penney Art Center Collection in Buffalo. He has served as an SPE regional chair and member of the SPE National Board. A past executive director and chief curator of CEPA Gallery, Hirsch currently operates Light Research.
The Weeks Gallery favors exhibitions that present teaching opportunities and ArtRreach.
JCC and area high school students will visit the show to take part in gallery talks, discussions and critical thinking exercises. Infinity Visual and Performing Arts and JCC music students will participate in a workshop presented by Family Function and the Sitar Jams.
This event and related ArtReach programs are made possible by JCC, JCC Faculty Student Association, JCC Foundation, Katharine Jackson Carnahan Endowment for the Humanities, Sarita Hopkins Weeks Concert Fund/Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Arthur R. Gren Company, and Southern Tier Brewing Company.
The Weeks Gallery welcomes diverse citizens, singles, couples, senior citizens, area students and everyone in between. The event includes culinary treats for food lovers, diverse bands for music fans and a stimulating social atmosphere. "It's an urban experience brought home to a state-of-the-art facility that is packed with familiar friends," noted a Weeks Gallery visitor.
If you have not attended a Weeks Gallery event, this special ArtHappening provides the perfect opportunity to visit Jamestown Community College.
The show runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 7. Visit weeksgallery.sunyjcc.edu for gallery hours, to be added to the mailing lists, for contributions, or for more details on Weeks Gallery programs.