HUDSON — Since 1999, Richard Klein has been the Exhibition Director of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn. Since childhood, he has been an artist himself.
“I keep my studio practice completely separate,” he says. “I make a point of staying away from letting those two things come together.” So much so that his colleagues believed there were two Richard Kleins.
Still, his curatorial instincts certainly have informed his art. Take his relationship with Nancy Shaver, owner of HENRY, an antiques shop in Hudson and venue for Klein’s current exhibition. “When you walk into her store,” he says, “it is an environment with incredible integrity. She makes decisions based on a personal aesthetic. The result is a thing in and of itself.” – Not unlike Klein’s works.
For the past 25 years the artist has been working with glass — not the malleable kind, the broken kind. “Early on, I took apart a lightbulb and looked at it and found it interesting. I liked the metaphor, too — light going out and still being used.” He began working with glass of all kinds — lightbulbs, bottles, jars, eyeglasses, ashtrays and found that it was an incredibly rich vein to mine. “I was on a crest of people abandoning incandescent bulbs,” he adds.
Art Among the Goods features works by specially selected artists that are interspersed with the inventory at the store HENRY, an antique shop at 348 Warren St. in Hudson. Owner Nancy Shaver, herself an artist, finds excitement in juxtaposing the work of her colleagues with artifacts from earlier times. It also, frequently, reflects how a private dwelling incorporates old and new.
“At the Museum,” Klein says, “as I’ve gotten older,” Klein says, “I’m more interested in artists than art. What are the motivations, desires and drives that induce someone to make something? It’s a different level of consciousness.” That reflection hasn’t been lacking in his assessment of his own work either. “I like to think my work has value outside the world of perfect light and perfect display. For me, the work I’m happiest with isn’t perfect. I like a little funkiness — rough edges.”
Richard Klein’s work will be on display through Jan. 17. Store hours are noon-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. For information, call 518-828-2354.