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Russian grocer stashed his art in upstate woodshed

Joseph Garlock to be featured in ‘Gifts of Immigrants’ show

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Joseph Garlock - Farm, Photo credit- Quinn Ferris Joseph Garlock Sculpture - Man with stick walking dog, photo credit Quinn Ferris Joseph Garlock-Yellow Room, gouache on board, 1953 Joseph Garlock, Synagogue Interior with Ceremony, paint and graphite on paper, 1952KINGSTON– Expressions of immigrant experiences, narratives of displacement, contributions to culture and struggles of acculturation will be presented in a free exhibition and related events in Kingston from May 7 to 31. The exhibition’s gala opening will be from 5 to 9 p.m. May 7 as part of Kingston’s citywide First Saturday gallery-opening receptions.

“Immigrant Gifts to America” — presented by the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History together with the Arts Society of Kingston and the James Cox Gallery at Woodstock —will feature artwork and stories of Hudson Valley immigrant artists, films depicting immigrant encounters, a workshop exploring immigrant losses and a lecture about immigrant Woodstock “outsider artist” Joseph Garlock.

The exhibit at the Arts Society of Kingston, 97 Broadway, will focus on the region’s immigrant accomplishments to the visual arts. Future presentations will showcase immigrant gifts in other areas.

Untaught Artist
Garlock (1884-1980), featured artist this year, was a Russian Jewish cobbler who in 1902 immigrated with his future wife Anna to Manhattan’s Lower East Side and later to Bloomfield, N.J., where he eventually opened a fruit and vegetable market.

In 1949, the then-widowed Garlock often visited his daughter Rose in Woodstock, near Kingston, where he became inspired to paint and sculpt. He created artwork obsessively until 1963, when palsy stopped him. Garlock died in 1980 and Rose died in 1995.

Rose’s sister, nieces and nephews later discovered hundreds of original pieces of Garlock art stashed away in an old stone woodshed next to Rose’s Woodstock cabin.

Ulster Federation Project
The Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History is centered in a formerly Jewish-owned bakery, which is next door to the Arts Society of Kingston. Its last owner, Hyman Reher bequeathed the building to the Jewish Federation of Ulster County.

The May exhibit will include tours of the Reher Center, which when complete will have an exhibition hall, library, archive and retail area and will be open to students, educators, genealogists and anyone interested in the role immigration plays in shaping the evolving identity of New York’s Hudson Valley. When restored, the bakery buildings will house the Reher Center.

A talk about “outsider artist” Joseph Garlock is slated for Sunday, May 15, from 3-4 p.m. James Cox, a veteran Woodstock art dealer, will discuss how “outsider art” is created by self-taught makers who have little or no contact with the mainstream art world.

Information about the Reher Center and the exhibition may be obtained from the Jewish Federation of Ulster County at 845-338-8131 or coord@ucjf.org.

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