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Art Beat

LET THERE BE LIGHT It’s now less than nine months until the official opening of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s opening of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. The curators at EMPAC, the organization, aren’t waiting for the opening to showcase EMPAC, the building, under construction. Beginning this weekend, internationally renowned lighting designer Jennifer Tipton’s installation, Light Above the Hudson will dazzle Troy (and beyond) every night from dusk to 10 PM through Feb. 3.

Reached by phone at the EMPAC offices, Tipton explained that while the installation of the lights began last Friday (Jan. 4), the computer programming that will direct the lighting had just begun.

“We will proceed over these four days to program the cycle of lighting events that will happen on and in the building during the cycle of the evening.”

Asked about the structure-in-progress, Tipton enthused, “I think the building is just spectacular. I wanted very much to reveal some elements of the building that perhaps were not visible before.”

Unfortunately, she explained, changes in construction necessitated a change in plan. Tipton had wanted to highlight the “beautiful” ship-like structure of the main theater space, but “that’s not quite going to happen.”

“But never mind: The new plans are just as beautiful as the old plan, she said”

“On the other side of the building, the artists’ studios, I intend to have lights reflecting off of the side of the building, moving and changing color and, perhaps, delivering messages in Morse code. That will come to a crescendo in the cycle at some point, and one will be aware of what seems to be movement in the studio space,” she said, adding that it will be “a harbinger of what is to come.”

The first tests upon her arrival were promising: “I programmed some things, and then we drove around Troy—and across the river from Troy,” to gauge how the installation will look from a myriad of angles.

There will be a free, open-to-the-public opening reception tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 11) from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the EMPAC construction site on the RPI campus. Refreshments will be served. For more information, visit


NEW DIRECTIONS Our critic Meisha Rosenberg pretty much summed up how many people (including Metrolanders) feel about The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls: “Note to self: Visit the Hyde more often, especially for spiritual uplift in the dregs of winter.” It’s worth noting, then, that Hyde has selected a new director. He is David Setford, who is currently director of curatorial affairs at the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, Florida. Setford will assume his new duties on Feb. 4.


JUST A REMINDER The exhibit Venetian Scenes by Walter Launt Palmer is up until June 1 at the Albany Institute of History and Art. It contains 10 paintings—including eight long unseen, borrowed from private collections—sketches, diaries and photographs related to the works. For more info, visit

—Shawn Stone

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