"When There Were Birds"

by Millicent Young

Opens Saturday, March 30 and runs through Sunday April 28th, 2019.
This exhibition is supported, in part, by a Foundation for the Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.
Gallery hours: Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm and by appointment: (845)399-9751.
11 Jane St., Saugerties, NY. Exhibition through 28 April.

Gallery Talk - April 27  5:30 - 6:30

"When There Were Birds: Process and Being" an intimate gallery conversation with Millicent Young and Sara Lynn Henry.  Sara Lynn Henry is an Independent Curator and Emerita Professor of Contemporary Art and NEH Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Drew University. When There Were Birds (part i) is the inaugural solo exhibition filling the first floor of the newly opened venue. Five of Millicent Young's sculptures occupy the fore gallery; her eponymous 'When There Were Birds' installation of suspended vine and hair structures occupies the aft performance space, rendering the light flooded hall into a sanctuary site. As forms, these works are meditations on the ravages of war and other forms of vanishment yet they exist side by side with the Other for which there is no name, bringing beauty as witness to the unthinkable. Please join us for a conversation in the gallery.

luminous room (detail) © Millicent Young 2019 horsehair, wire.png


The Project

When There Were Birds (2019) is an installation of ten ceiling hung sculptures constructed from grapevine and horse hair. The avian forms, varying in dimensions up to 130 x 96 x 48 inches, occupy the space, interacting among themselves, with the movement of air, the fall of light and shadow, and the observer. This is the first of a two part exploration occurring over two separate months of 2019: April and November.

During the month of November, the structures and installation of When There Were Birds will be transfigured to become the set for performative exploration and collaboration with guest artists in sound and movement. The forms themselves will have evolved from their earlier iteration. Additionally, they will be able to move in space through rigging. The completion of the lighting and sound systems in the performance space will bring a new dimensionality to the development of the work.

The November iteration of this project is made possible in part through support from the County of Ulster’s Ulster County Cultural Services & Promotion Fund administered by Arts Mid-Hudson.

Artist Bio

Born 1958 in New York City, Millicent Young received her MFA from James Madison University and two Professional Fellowship Awards from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in 1999 and 2014. Exhibiting widely, her work has been recognized by curators and directors from institutions including DIA, Hirshhorn, New Museum, Guggenheim Museum and Whitney Museum. Young’s work received a top award at the 2005 Biennale in Florence, Italy. Her most recent solo show, “Of This”, was at Cross Contemporary Art, Saugerties, New York. Millicent Young currently resides in the Hudson Valley.

Artist Statement

I approach difficult content with a minimalist spareness. I use materials that are allusive and have the capacity to carry ideas that are important to me. My work addresses the danger, fragility, and endurance of life and death. I am interested in creating a field of stillness, complexity, and potency that invites contemplation of the unthinkable. Transformation happens where beauty coexists with struggle, where resistance and surrender occur simultaneously, where paradox and vulnerability are present.

My work is witness to life now: the Anthropocene, the Sixth Great Extinction. It is about loss, persistence and the numinosity of both. To witness, is to change the field in which something is occurring. To witness death, to witness beauty, is to become changed by it. To be changed is to create change.


About Cross Contemporary Art

Cross Contemporary Art curates exhibitions at 11 Jane St. by mid-career and established artists who live and work in the New York City, Hudson Valley and Catskill regions.


Upcoming Shows

Andrew Neumann / Dates to be Announced