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Hudson’s New Gallery Serves Up The Rock and Roll Circus Art Show

The worlds of fine art and pop music have been intertwined since the dawn of the rock era. Many of the biggest names in rock, from John Lennon and Pete Townsend to David Byrne and Michael Stipe, were set upon their creative journeys during their time in art school. Now some of the finest art inspired by rock, and some of it created by music luminaries who call the Hudson Valley home, has come to our area in a loud and proud new gallery show entitled The Rock and Roll Circus.


The exhibition is the brainchild of gallerist/musician Luis Accorsi and his wife, Haleh, who relocated from NYC to Hudson a couple of years back to open The New Gallery. An art dealer since 1988, the Venezuelan-born Accorsi is best known for his efforts to break out some of NYC’s now world-renowned graffiti artists. The list includes Keith Haring, Crash, Futura and LA 2, whose wildly colorful Fender Stratocaster is a centerpiece of the exhibit.

The New Gallery’s latest show includes 38 works, from photography, sculpture, painting and poster art to fashion illustration, collage, animation cels and even sheet music.

The Rock and Roll Circus | Melissa Auf der Maur |Inside+Out Upstate NY

“As someone who has always used multiple mediums to express myself, I’m always very excited when asked to participate in a project that connects music and visual art,” says Melissa Auf der Maur, former bassist for Hole and The Smashing Pumpkins. Auf der Maur photography is represented in the gallery show with a self-portrait shot while on stage in Capetown, South Africa, in 2000.

“As someone who has always used multiple mediums to express myself, I’m always very excited when asked to participate in a project that connects music and visual art,” says Melissa Auf der Maur, former bassist for Hole and The Smashing Pumpkins

“I’ve been making music and photographs simultaneously since I was a teenager,” continues Auf der Maur, who co-founded Basilica Hudson, another of the Hudson Valley’s most renowned cultural institutions. “It often felt like society parsed them each into their own silos, but they are connected within me. I love it when a visual art team wants to bring the music in or the music team wants to bring in the visual art. It’s such a natural pairing. This show is a fun way to be a part of that dialogue.”  

Auf der Maur’s photo work is showcased alongside limited edition prints from several of the world’s most famous photographers. These include: Francesco Scavullo’s 1969 portrait of Janis Joplin, lithographs of Richard Avedon’s “psychedelicized,” individual portraits of The Beatles shot for Look Magazine in 1967, a Harvey Wang’s stage shot of otherworldly singer Klaus Nomi, a Robin Rice performance snap of Patti Smith circa 1979 and Christophe Von Hohenberg portraits of Britney Spears and Debbie Harry, the latter taken at Andy Warhol’s memorial in 1987.

“The work of photographers and musicians is sort of a connected inverse,” says Von Hohenberg, whose portraiture was a staple of Andy Warhol’s Interview, Vanity Fair and other magazines. “Songwriters use words and sounds to evoke images and feelings. And we photographers create images that can evoke words and even music in the minds of viewers.”

The Rock and Roll Circus | Wes Wilson |Inside+Out Upstate NY

Other highlights include a lithograph of a Wes Wilson poster made for a performance by Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable with the Velvet Underground and Nico at the Fillmore in San Francisco, one signed by Warhol himself. There’s also an original poster from Jimi Hendrix’s legendary New Year’s performance with his Band of Gypsies at the Fillmore East and a unique, uncut 2-up poster by Rick Griffin for a Hendrix performance at Royal Albert Hall. Beatles fanatics will surely want to peruse the original animation cels from their 1968 film, Yellow Submarine.

The Rock and Roll Circus | Jim Jarmusch |Inside+Out Upstate NY

Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch is represented with a wonderfully moody collage of dueling guitarists, perhaps a throwback to his time in the ’80s as keyboardist/vocalist for the pioneering No Wave band, The Del-Byzanteens, or his more recent work with the Avant-rock band, SQURL.

“For me, music is the most primal, ethereal and moving form of human expression,” says Jarmusch. “All other art forms either emerge from musical ideas or somehow reference them.”

Beacon-based Richard Butler, the frontman of The Psychedelic Furs, is represented with a dramatic 2005 painting of fashion model-turned-victims advocate Marla Hanson. Ramones’ devotees will be floored by Punk Magazine co-founder John Holmstrom‘s pen and ink study for the cover art for their Rockets to Russia album. 

The Rock and Roll Circus | Dee Dee Ramone | Inside+Out Upstate NY

Even more spectacular is DeeDee Ramone‘s macabre “Horror Hospital,” an acrylic and silkscreen on canvas painting of someone getting a lobotomy… with an ice pick! Also included are works from Paul Kostabi, producer/engineer Marc Urselli, DJs Dmitry Wild and Lord Prosser, Alvaro Segura, Fernando Batoni, Tom McGill, Stella McNicol, fashion designer Stephen Sprouse and a page from a score by composer John Cage.

“My painting ‘Behind the Scenes Guy’ is a perfect example of how my entire life has been lived at the intersection of music and art,” says Paul Kostabi. “In the painting, my left hand is seen making a brush stroke and my right hand is seen pressing ‘play’ on a music device.

“The piece closest to me in the show is DeeDee’s ‘Horror Hospital,’ adds Kostabi. “After he left the Ramones, DeeDee and I used to hang out and collaborate on paintings such as “Birdman,” “Achtung Nosferatu” and, most famously, “Demonic,” a joint effort between myself, DeeDee, and my brother Mark. I’ve been behind-the-scenes for so many of the moments represented in this show – the works themselves are almost like a scrapbook of my life.”

“Music is art and art is music to my ears, so in a way, art and music are one for me,” says multiple Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer Marc Urselli.

“Music has always been the most perfect form of art, but the visual arts have always inspired my music and my understanding of art, and therefore of music itself,” continues Urselli. “The visual arts are the more palpable and material version of what music can communicate in even more ephemeral and abstract ways, but the two are closely and intrinsically connected. They influence, inspire and inform one another in my own life and the pursuit of my own multi-disciplinary art.”

“Music is art and art is music to my ears, so in a way, art and music are one for me,” says multiple Grammy Award-winning engineer and producer Marc Urselli.

“This exhibition is circled around the notion that music and the visual arts are often intertwined and never far from each other,” says gallerist Accorsi. “In a song, there’s a story and that story becomes a visual reference for us – all in a quest for the pure and the sublime. All of the artists in this show have an interdisciplinary approach to life. They all stand against the fossilized notion that an artist can only be a great artist in one discipline. And this work certainly demonstrates their position.”  

Like the musicians themselves who dabble in art, gallerist Accorsi is also busy with his latest musical project, his old school NYC punk-inspired alter-ego Toxic Tito. Visit his website to enjoy some sounds and videos:

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The Rock and Roll Circus will be on exhibit through June 5th at The New Gallery

The New Gallery

610 Warren Street
Hudson New York
Hours: Thursday through Sunday 12-5.

The New Gallery is the latest addition to the vibrant art scene in Hudson NY, 2 hours North of NYC.
The New Gallery focuses on creating community through art and being host to a symbiotic relationship between creativity and community.

By Appointment: Email or DM:

[email protected]  |  Instagram: @thenewgalleryhudson


Sal Cataldi is a publicist, musician and writer living in West Saugerties, right down the road from The Band and Dylan’s Big Pink. He is President of Cataldi PR and leader of the band Spaghetti Eastern Music and a member of the duos: Guitars A Go and Vapor Vespers.



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