Collection: Rivers Flow / Artists Connect

 Hudson River Museum

February 2–September 1, 2024

The cultural, social, and spiritual significance of rivers is universal, as proven by their enduring presence in art and in our collective imagination. In Rivers Flow / Artists Connect, American artists from the 1820s to the present day explore and illuminate our profound, symbiotic relationship with significant rivers across the globe, from the Hudson and the Susquehanna to the Indus and the Seine.

The Hudson River Museum’s new West Wing galleries, basking in a dramatic view of the Hudson River and the Palisades, are an opportune setting for this exhibition. It features works by more than forty exceptional artists exploring various aspects of river subject matter from diverse perspectives and heritages, through realistic depiction and symbolic representation. Together, the artists demonstrate—in painting, prints, photographs, sculpture, and video—their role in recalling and reinforcing our instinctive connection with rivers.

The exhibition considers these bodies of water through aesthetic, functional, spiritual, and ecological lenses. The Allure of the River section addresses the interrelation of scenic beauty and our attraction to rivers. In Sustainer of Life, artists investigate the essential need for access to rivers for water, food, and transportation—our daily infrastructure—as well as profound sacred connections. Finally, Endangered Rivers: A Call to Action reflects on urbanization, industry, and the critical need for continued conservation and activism.

In many ways, the artists and the rivers they depict are kindred spirits. Just as rivers shape the land and surmount obstacles on their inexorable journey to the sea, artists also boldly confront barriers and challenges, from land access to environmental change. Their creative expressions help us see rivers with new eyes, and perhaps even a renewed sense of wonder, connection, and purpose, as we consider our own community’s rivers and our own responsibility for stewardship.

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Manifest Destiny by Alexis Rockman
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