Roadshow of Dutch Graphic Design
exhibit is an attempt to represent the diversity of work
produced by Dutch graphic designers over the last decade.
Incorporating posters, brochures, catalogs, magazines and
Web sites (though, with the Web sites, we’re not sure how),
the works come from both the Netherlands’ public and private
sectors. It is the contention of the curator that the exhibit
will make it “evident that graphic design is well integrated
in all forms of expression in Dutch companies, cultural
institutions and government agencies.”
Apparently, graphic design is a Big Deal in the Netherlands,
and graphic designers are allowed more freedom to express
As graphic artist Peter Bilak explained in an article titled
“Contemporary Dutch Graphic Design: An Insider/Outsider’s
View” a few years back, “the position of a graphic designer
in the Netherlands remains very different from other countries,
even neighboring ones such as Germany or Belgium.” While
most European countries were putting national heroes on
their currency, for example, Bilak notes that the Dutch
put birds and lighthouses and sunflowers on theirs.
It’s a Dutch thing—you got to understand.
A Roadshow of Dutch Graphic Design opens tomorrow (Friday,
July 25) at Skidmore College’s Schick Art Gallery (815 N.
Broadway, Saratoga Springs). The opening reception is from
6:30 to 7:30 PM. Regular summer gallery hours are weekdays
9 AM to 4 PM and Saturdays 1 to 4 PM. Admission is free.
The gallery is closed from Aug. 2 through Sept. 1; regular
hours resume Sept. 2. There will be a gallery talk with
exhibition curator Toon Lauwen on Sept. 10 at 6 PM. For
more information, call 580-5049.
Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits
his native Zimbabwe, Oliver Mtukudzi—who will appear at
Schenectady’s Central Park on Sunday—is a superstar. He’s
won prestigious awards as an actor, as a writer and director,
and as a composer of soundtracks. Impressive as his accomplishments
in these fields are, though, they’re really just sidelines
that bolster his fame. It is as a pop musician that he is
most revered. So much so, in fact, that in Africa Mtukudzi’s
nickname has become a generic label: “tuku” music. Over
a career that spans two decades, Mtukudzi has found influence
in African music “from Cape Town to Cairo,” weaving together
disparate ethnic styles and sounds, imbuing them with an
overtly political consciousness, and giving them (a distinctly
Sadly, most American listeners will miss out on the force
of Mtukudzi’s lyrics (written, as they are in the Shona
language of Zimbabwe). But by all knowledgeable reports,
Mtukudzi’s combination of myth and folklore, his poetic
use of spiritual tradition to address the many political
and social ills of Africa, is powerfully evocative. The
good news is that his equally forceful way with melody and
his band’s dexterous employment of the katekwe drumming
rhythms of Mtukudzi’s clan are considerably more likely
Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits will play the Music
Haven stage (Central Park, Schenectady) on Sunday (July
27). Also on the bill will be Umoja African Dance and Drumming.
The concert is free. For more information, call (866) 333-8191.
built the stunning, Frank Gehry-designed Richard B. Fisher
Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College has expanded
one of its traditional events to make it commensurate with
the grand scale of the new architecture. The 14th annual
Bard Music Festival, which celebrates the music of Leos
Janácek and the musical context in which he worked, has
been folded into SummerScape, which focuses on the entire
cultural world surrounding the Czech composer.
The grand-opening event of SummerScape is the American stage
premiere of Janácek’s experimental 1904 opera Osud.
Performed by the American Symphony Orchestra with conductor
Leon Botstein, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis and featuring
sets designed by architect Gehry, Osud tells the
semi-autobiographical story of a composer on holiday who
unexpectedly comes face-to-face with his past; it has been
enthusiastically praised for its “glorious music.”
Other events include a Czech film festival; the world premiere
of Don Juan in Prague, David Chambers’ adaptation
of Mozart’s Don Giovanni; performances by Moscow
New Generations Theatre; a puppet-theater production of
Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen; and, of course,
the Bard Music Festival. In addition to numerous examples
of Janácek’s work—orchestral pieces, songs, religious works—the
Bard Music Festival also will showcase music composed by
his contemporaries and successors, including Josef Suk,
Vitezslav Novák, Béla Bartók and many more.
Bard SummerScape begins with Janácek’s Osud in the
Sosnoff Theater tomorrow (Friday, July 25) at 8 PM. Additional
performances will be Sunday (July 27) at 4 PM; and Aug.
1 and 2 at 8 PM. The Czech Film Festival, also presented
in the Sosnoff Theater, begins tonight (Thursday, July 24)
at 8 PM with The Joke and runs through Aug. 3. The
puppet-theater production of The Cunning Little Vixen,
in the Drak Theater, runs from Aug. 13 through Aug. 17.
The Bard Music Festival, with concerts and lectures in the
Sosnoff Theater, Olin Hall and Theater Two, begins Aug.
8 and continues through Aug. 17. Tickets for the various
events range from $65 to $10, and can be purchased by calling
the box office at (845) 758-7900. Reservations and information
can also be obtained at www.bard.edu/fishercenter.