Monday, September 21, 2015

Last Fair of the Year and the Hyde Collection

Over the summer I have been to numerous local fairs, and other events to occupy my time. Some of these events have allowed me to make connections and to promote my novel, Legend of the Mystic Knights.

Some of these events were just for sheer pleasure.  These include the numerous county fairs I attended, and this included the  Great SchaghticokeFair.  Like the Washington County Fair I spoke of in my last blog, this one too is an agricultural fair.

This fair had its share of rides and games of chance, and although I did not participate in any, it was fun to see them.  I did, however, like to view some of the farm displays, especially those of antique farm equipment. I always like hearing the sputtering of an old engine as it runs and turns a belt to run a saw or other machinery.

I will say there were some glitches at the fair.  One was they had a horse judging competition. This is where riders parade their horses, showing their riding techniques along with the skills of their horses.  I am not complaining about this event, I am just stating they should not have had it scheduled at the same time that less than 100 feet away, that there was a monster truck show going on.  Loud noises from a huge truck and trying to ride a horse do not mix.

One thing I did visit was a tent with numerous tools, and clothing available.  I always visit these tents because they do have good deals on tools.  I ended up buying several leather making kits for use in constructing my leather armor (future blog coming).

The Schaghticoke Fair will be one of the last, if not the last type of country fair I will attend this year. It is sad to think that summer has ended and the fall has begun, and soon my world will have a white covering of snow. However, before my world freezes, I do have October to look forward to and this means Halloween season.

My next adventure was to go to the Hyde Collection.

The Hyde Collection- Is an art museum and historic house located in Glens Falls, NY. It was founded by Louis and Charlotte Hyde. Today it is a museum that embraces a diversity of styles, periods, and media.

For full disclosure, I found out about the Hyde Collection from my friend Caitlin Stedman, who works at the collection. She also directed in me several short films, “Lemonaid” and “Home” produced by her SnarkyAardvark Films.

During the day that I attended there was a special exhibit featuring the works by Andy Warhol and Winslow Homer.

Let’s talk first about Andy Warhol.  He was probably the leading figure in what we call the ‘visual art movement” or commonly referred to as “pop art”.  Warhol is probably the most famous artist in American culture since the 1950’s. The exhibition was entitled “The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol (1973-1987)”.

“The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol (1973-1987)”, although I do not even think of myself as any type of art critic, I am going to criticize these works. This in no way reflects on the Hyde Collection, (or some of the other works by Warhol which are brilliant) for these works are considered masterpieces by most of the modern art world.

What I do have an issue with these “drawings” is the way Warhol did them. Most of these drawings were of famous people, (from James Dean to Mao Zedong) and were simple pencil sketches. How he did them was to take a picture of these famous people, and using an overhead projector traced them on a piece of paper.

Now if you listen to the “art world” experts their explanation for this work: “This technique used throughout his lifetime allowed Warhol to produce “machine made” lines that are equally automatic and expressive, impersonal and intimate.”

This is my take on his drawings. When an artist becomes so iconic, such as Warhol, it becomes almost impossible to criticize him. His reputation supersedes his ability, and hence he can almost do anything and it is classified as a masterpiece.  What he did “copying” these pictures onto a piece of paper are called genius, if you and I did this; we would have failed 7th grade art class.

Now let me say something about the exhibit I truly enjoyed, Winslow Homer.

Winslow Homer was an American artist and printmaker. He was almost entirely self –taught, but was a well-respected artist and worked as a commercial illustrator.  Later he worked in oil painting and water color.

Many of Homer’s work concentrated on landscapes. During the Civil War, he worked for Harper’s and was sent to the battle field. His drew and painting not only numerous battles, but also quiet times of the camp life. Homer was also noted not only for painting military life, but also woman during this time, showing the effects of war on the home front.

Homer’s art was a realistic look at everyday life. His work shows nature, and man, during hard times, and good times. It showed the nobility and savagery that each showed, and had to endure.

Next week.  I may speak, if I go, about the last Renaissance festival of the year.


  1. William, I have never been an Andy Warhol fan but that is just me. I like paintings that are realistic and I can actually know what it means - much more along the Homer Winslow line. We have a lot of Amish/Mennonites living in our area and there are a number of painters who portray their lifestyle in paint - those I love.
    Too bad about the horses and monster truck events happening at the same time. I can well imagine that some of the riders must have had a terrible time controlling their animals. Have fun at your next event.

  2. It's been great visiting all these fairs with you. But I remember when I lived in Wisconsin, they had several fall fairs as well. And how interesting to learn that about Andy Warhol! Personally, I never found much to love about his work and maybe now you've explained to me why!

  3. I'm hoping to make it to at least one fair this year. I'm jealous you've been to so many. At least I get to live them through your posts :)

  4. Personally like Andrew Warhol's work. If he was a genius or not doesn't matter to me. The vast majority of people, and artists for that matter, are not:-)

  5. You have some of the most interesting adventures at the fairs you go to! It's got to be satisfying to promote your novel at the same time you enjoy the last of the fairs.

    Warhol: never a huge fan. I'm more into some of what you describe about Homer.

    Thanks William.

  6. I bet you will miss all the fairs if it is the end of the season. I am trying to imagine the scene when the poor horses had to put up with the monster truck noise. I wonder if there are too many people managing small portions and nobody taking a look at the overall layout of the fair. Interesting post as usual.

  7. How on earth does one pronounce "Schaghticoke"?? Locales with unusual names often know how to put on a good fair! I'll bet it was a blast to check out some of that farm equipment, some of it is very sophisticated.

    1. Interesting question. Depends on where you live and what time you lived in.
      It is a Native American word meaning meeting of two rivers.
      Older people say "SKAT-I-cook" while younger people call it "SKAT-I-coke", go back even further and there is dozens of way to pronounce it.

  8. I also enjoy seeing old agricultural equipment. There is a fair I usually go to, the Sussex County (N.J.) Farm and Horse Show, an where they have rigged up an antique John Deere tractor as an ice cream maker. The motor from the old tractor powers the churning of the ice cream.

  9. William, if you love Agricultural fairs, the best one we've attended has been just outside of Fargo, North Dakota. I believe it's called Rollag. They have so many exhibitors that their parade alone takes 1.5 hours! In Canada, we have the Museums of Western Development that are a real gem of the Prairies. Put them on your Bucket List!

  10. Really enjoyable William. I didn't know that about Andy Warhol's work, probably because I never cared for it so pretty much ignored it. But for the record I agree with you.

  11. Warhol to me was more about being a personality than an artist, and he used his fame to produce art, that while questionable in quality in many ways, also sheds light on the viewer and how reputation feeds into perception. If that makes any sense...

  12. I live in Warhol's hometown and have yet to find a good reason to go to his museum. Although Friday nights they often have events involving wine and cheese. Ha. I am not a fan at all--but then I am hard-pressed to like much modern art. To each our own, right?

  13. Hopefully I can fins a couple fairs to attend this fall near my area.

  14. It would be interesting to know what Warhol himself thought of the drawings in question: perhaps he would admit that they are nothing to write home about and would have a good laugh at what the critics say about them. Anyway, I have no doubt that if I were to try my hand at such drawings I wouldn't do nearly as good a job as Warhol did - I reckon that 7th grade art teacher would give me a C- and Warhol at least a B+.

  15. This reminded me of the annual fair in our town.Rides, good food, circus, magic shows and what not!
    Every year in the month of February we experience similar things in the fair.
    I can bet you enjoyed a lot!
    Thanks for sharing

  16. I was born in Glens Falls, NY but I've never heard of the Hyde Collection. To my defense, I only lived there until I was 4, so that collection was very likely not even there at the time. I don't know a ton about Andy Warhol so I can't even judge his work. However, I find him very interesting from what I know about him as an iconic figure. However, I think you hit it right on the noise. Once someone has created a name for themselves, everything they do is considered a masterpiece, whether it really merits it or not.

  17. William, I really enjoyed reading this recent post on your blog. I do agree with you though, the monster truck showing should not have been scheduled near a horse riding show. Pity that there are those that have no forethought but are just thinking selfishly about their own benefit. Anyhow, In regards to Warhol? I don't really see him as a genius just an iconic cult status symbol. I don't dislike the guy it's just that his artwork doesn't appeal to me and I think it's fair to say that everyone has their preferential (artistic) tastes and mine just isn't Warhol. There are individuals who idolize his work and all I can say is good for them & "to each ones own". However, I have no idea what has happened to art critics judgement on what actual good artwork is nowadays, I can safely say that quite a number of them have no idea what art really is. I'd seen some artwork (?) recently and all it had on the canvas was one colour on it and it was valued for $$$. I looked at it and thought WTH??? It wasn't art it was just ONE colour put on a canvas and it was sold for a lot of money. However, "The Hyde Collection" you mentioned sounds very interesting, and looking at some of the artwork online there are some lovely works of art in the collection.