Visit Audubon Park: Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts and Letters

37b68-exhibition1The American Academy of Arts and Letters will exhibit more than 120 paintings, photographs, sculptures, and works on paper by 37 contemporary artists in its galleries on historic Audubon Terrace, adjacent to the Audubon Park Historic District from Thursday, March 11 through Sunday, April 11, 2010. The Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, open to the public Thursdays through Sundays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (except Easter Sunday) will feature many works on view for the first time in New York.

The artists, chosen from a pool of nearly 175 nominees submitted by the Academy members, include:

Painters and graphic artists: Gabrielle Bakker, Laura Battle, Robert Barnes, Robert Bordo, Rebecca Campbell, Suzanne Caporael, Beverly Fishman, Aaron Gilbert, Elliott Green, Mark Grotjahn, Dan Gustin, Suzanne Joelson, Michael Knutson, John Lees, Sangram Majumdar, Andrew Masullo, Mary Putman, Lisa Sanditz, Joseph Santore, Gwen Strahle, Dorothea Tanning, Mette Tommerup, Tom Uttech, John Wesley, Stanley Whitney, and Alexi Worth.

Photographers: William Christenberry and Lothar Osterburg.

Sculptors: Ethan Breckenridge, Anne Chu, Judy Fox, John Grade, Anna Hepler, Leonid Lerman, Jane Rosen, Julianne Swartz, and Jack Wax.

The Academy and Audubon Park

Founded in 1898, the Academy moved to its present headquarters in the Audubon Terrace Museum complex in 1923, its first building, a design by William Mitchell Kendall of McKim Mead & White, occupying the site of a house the Audubon brothers Victor and John Woodhouse built for Wellington Clapp in the early 1850s when they began parceling Minnie’s Land, the family farm, selling plots, renting some houses and selling others to raise much needed cash to support the family’s failing subscription book business. In the 1880s, when Clapp and his wife Cornelia left Audubon Park, George Blake Grinnell bought the house, carriage house, and property and added it to his holdings in Audubon Park, the suburban enclave of villas that replaced Minnie’s Land in the second half of the 19th Century.

139ab-exhibition2Grinnell’s five surviving children inherited more than two-thirds of Audubon Park after their mother’s death in 1894, and after some extensive inter-family bickering about the future of their land, decided to sell a long swath of property along 155th Street, including the Clapp house and grounds, to Archer M. Huntington, a family friend and founder of the Hispanic Society and the Audubon Terrace museum complex. Huntington’s brother Charles designed the first museums there, the Hispanic Society and American Numismatic Society, and Huntington’s wife Anna Hyatt Huntington created sculpture for the terrace. In 1930, Cass Gilbert designed a second building for the Academy, this one on 156th Street, with major entrances on both the terrace and the street. In the latter part of the 19th Century, lawns, gardens, and a scattering of rocky outcroppings had occupied this space between the Clapp and Grinnell houses, tall forest trees shading both, though earlier, the Audubons had used the space as their chicken yard. In 2005, the Academy purchased an adjacent building the American Numismatic Society had vacated, joining it to the original building with a Glass Link.

Images from the Academy of Arts and Letters website.