There was no shortage of intriguing exhibits at Capital Region museums and art galleries in 2022.
Some of the most exciting came out of the Electric City, including the new sculpture park and the national touring Van Gogh show. Outside the city, some of the best shows highlighted artists working in the region, especially Takeyce Walter’s “A Breath of Fresh Air” and John Van Alstine’s “Transformations.”
Here are some of the most notable exhibits from 2022.
Van Gogh in Schenectady
This one tops the list in part because of all the buzz that surrounded it. “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” opened at Armory Studios in May and has remained so popular its run has been extended several times.
With towering projections of Vincent van Gogh’s work, prints, a drawing room and a virtual-reality experience to boot, the exhibit has drawn thousands of viewers.
It includes roughly 400 representations of the artist’s drawings and paintings from throughout his life. In one of the main rooms, paintings are projected on the walls and floor, literally washing over viewers.
The virtual reality experience is another highlight, guiding viewers along a journey through “a day in the life of the artist,” and includes scenes that inspired some of the artist’s most beloved works, including “Bedroom at Arles” and “Starry Night Over The Rhone River.”
The exhibit is on view into February. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays and holidays; and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $39.90 for adults and $23.90 for children. For information, visit vangoghexpo.com/albany.
Sankofa Sculpture Park
Hamilton Hill gained a new park this summer thanks to the Hamilton Hill Arts Center. The Sankofa Sculpture Park at 412 Schenectady St. pays homage to the arts center’s 50-plus years of history — and makes way for its future.
The half-acre park features a stunning sculpture designed by Jerome Meadows, an artist based in Savannah, Georgia, known for designing and creating public art. The piece was inspired by Ogun, the Yoruba god of blacksmithing, considered the foundation of civilization.
The park also features work by local artists and there are plans to add more works in ensuing years.
“A Breath of Fresh Air”
The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy gifted viewers with “A Breath of Fresh Air” this fall.
Peaceful landscape paintings from Round Lake artist Takeyce Walter dotted the walls in an exhibit that was neither packed nor sparse. Walter has an eye for capturing the transient nature of sunlight or ripples on lakes and ponds, and takes a plein-air approach to her work, rendering not only the landscape but also the atmosphere in a contemporary impressionist style.
The exhibit featured some of her best recent work and was a visual delight.
Johnstown native John Van Alstine’s retrospective at the Hyde Collection was another highlight of the year. Featuring sweeping steel and stone sculptures, “Transformations” marked five decades of work for the artist, whose studio is in Wells.
Displayed in two of the larger galleries in the museum, his sculptures juxtaposed natural and man-made materials, balancing the two in ways that seemed to defy gravity.
Opalka Gallery presented “Judith Braun: My Pleasure,” a cheeky and disquieting exhibit that seemed to capture the moment. It included 15 paintings and a series of painted sculptures along with site-specific murals by Braun, an Albany native. The works were tied together by the idea of pleasure.
While there were a fair number of unnerving pieces, the show resisted hitting a single note, and some paintings rang with a more playful tone.
“Split and Becloud”
This year’s Artists of the Mohawk-Hudson Region exhibit was a fresh take on a long-running show. Known for showcasing some of the best artists in the area, the show brought together some of the newest local voices for an intriguing and at times disorienting display. It’s on view at the Hyde Collection through the end of the year.