In honor of Women’s History Month, the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University will open two exhibitions on Saturday, March 19, 2022: “Dorothy Gillespie: Works from the Radford University Collection” and “Iron Butterfly & Gates to Times Square: The Chryssa and Nicholas Krushenick Portfolios.” General admission is free. The CAM is open to the public on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.
American artist Dorothy Gillespie was a dynamic painter, innovative sculptor, and passionate educator known for her vibrant, colorful work. The major exhibition "Dorothy Gillespie: Works from the Radford University Collection," features 21 works spanning Gillespie’s career from the 1940s through the 1990s, including an artwork from the CAM’s permanent collection. Presented in chronological order, it provides a visual timeline of the evolution of Gillespie’s signature style. Gillespie was always at the forefront of artistic innovation and creativity. She prioritized the inclusion of women in arts education and the business of salesmanship. In the early 1960s, she joined the short-lived NO!Art Movement, founded by artist Boris Lurie. The movement worked to promote equal opportunity for women and minority artists. The Gillespie exhibition is on view at the CAM until Nov. 20, 2022.
The artist’s foundation has awarded Niagara University with a scholarship to honor Gillespie’s legacy. The Dorothy M. Gillespie Foundation Memorial Scholarship Fund will be awarded to an exemplary female student in the art history with museum studies program. The inaugural scholarship will be awarded by Gary Israel, president of the foundation, to Tailor Choquette, a junior in the program.
Chryssa is regarded as one of the first artists to use neon lighting as an artistic medium. The “Gates to Times Square” portfolio showcases the artist’s two-dimensional work with brightly colored linear elements, reflecting her interest in Chinese calligraphy. Through color, pattern, and repetition, her works evoke diverse emotions such as anger, fear, joy, or sadness. American artist Nicholas Krushenick merged the Pop Art aesthetic with Abstraction, Cubism, and Color Field painting. In the early 1960s, he coined his signature style as “Pop Abstraction.” Krushenick’s portfolio “Iron Butterfly” demonstrates his signature style of hyper Day-Glo colors and bold hard-edge black lines. This exhibition marks the first time both Chryssa’s and Krushenick’s portfolios have been exhibited in their entirety. “Iron Butterfly & Gates to Times Square: The Chryssa and Nicholas Krushenick Portfolios” is on view until June 5, 2022.
An Art Express family program inspired by the art of Dorothy Gillespie will take place at the CAM on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to noon. Local teaching artist Alison Lytle will lead a colorful hands-on session for children ages 6 to 12; participants will leave with a beautiful artwork for their home. Preregistration is required and space is limited. The program is $10/child for the general public and free with a family, grandparent, or upper level CAM membership. Registration will open soon. Visit castellaniartmuseum.org to register and for more information. Additional public programs will be offered throughout the course of the exhibitions.
The Castellani Art Museum is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.