In New York State's Hudson River Valley this fall, an exhibition celebrates something old ... and something new. "River Crossings," a show featuring works by 28 contemporary artists, is set in the homes of two giants of American Art: Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School movement; and Frederic Church, his student, and one of America's finest landscape painters. The 21st century artists' paintings, sculptures and mixed media reveal influences and inspirations from Cole and Church's scenic works.
Left: "River Crossings" at the Thomas Cole Historic Site in Catskill, N.Y.
Credit: Peter Aaron/Thomas Cole Historic Site
Thomas Cole and Frederic Church
Pictured: Thomas Cole (1801-1848), who founded the Hudson River School movement with his sweeping, romantic landscape paintings; and Frederic Church (1826-1900), renowned for his panoramic images of Nature and classical cityscapes.
The exhibition "River Crossings" is being shown jointly at Cole and Church's estates on opposite sides of the Hudson River, in Hudson and Catskill, N.Y.
Credit: Thomas Cole Historic Site/Olana Partnership
"Heart of the Andes"
Thousands paid a quarter a piece to view Frederic Church's "The Heart of the Andes" (inspired by the artist's trips to South America), when the ten-foot-long painting was exhibited on tour during the mid-19th century.
Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art
"View From Mt. Holyoke"
Thomas Cole's "View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm - The Oxbow" (1836). The painting shows both untamed wilderness and farmed land, promoting the possibilities of the vast American continent.
Credit: Thomas Cole Historic Site
"The Oxbow, Flooded"
In a nod to Thomas Cole's vision of the Oxbow (an extension of the Connecticut River), Stephen Hannock's "The Oxbow, Flooded," hangs in Cole's parlor.
The exhibition "River Crossings" was the brainchild of Hannock, who enjoyed discovering the links between old and new. "Sometimes, the connection is absolutely direct," he said. "Other times, it's convoluted. And that's the fun of the show."
Credit: Stephen Hannock
In the grand entryway at Olana, Church's estate, an enormous wooden arch by sculptor Martin Puryear welcomes visitors to "River Crossings," who have been lining up to tour these rooms since the show opened to rave reviews.
"It's called 'Question,'" said co-curator Jason Rosenfeld. "It, on the surface, resembles a question mark. But I take it as a directive, meaning question. Question authority, question the past, question tradition, question what you expect to see in art. Question everything!"
Credit: Olana Partnership
At Olana, new works nestle comfortably among the art and curiosities that Frederic Church collected. Among the works on display: Will Cotton's amusing portrait, "Untitled" (right).
Credit: Peter Aaron/Olana Partnership
Will Cotton's refined painting technique was inspired by the Hudson River School, even when his subjects are sweets.
Pictured: "Untitled" (2014), oil on linen, by Will Cotton.
Credit: Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery
Pictured: "Untitled (9-25) (Sams Point)," (2012), oil on linen on panel by Thomas Nozkowski.
"Cole has always been something of a hero of mine," said Nozkowski. "So the idea that I might be able to show here in his house was very exciting."
Nozkowski's landscapes are "very abstract," noted CBS News' Serena Altschul.
"Yeah, well, I think abstraction is a kind of a tool that allows people to kind of find their own systems and ideas and meanings. And I like that freedom. I think it's a real American idea, you know?"
Credit: Photograph by Kerry Ryan McFate; Courtesy Pace Gallery
"Horseshoe Falls, Ontario, Canada," Lynn Davis' 1992 silver gelatin print similar to scenes that Frederic Church painted a century and a half ago.