Hudson Rising at New-York Historical Society, March 1 – August 4, 2019

“The New-York Historical Society presents Hudson Rising, a unique exhibition that explores 200 years of ecological change and environmental activism along ‘the most interesting river in America’ through artifacts, media, and celebrated Hudson River School paintings. Hudson Rising reflects on how human activity has impacted the river and, in turn, how the river environment has shaped industrial development, commerce, tourism, and environmental awareness. The exhibition also explores how experts in various fields are currently creating ways to restore and re-engineer areas of the river in response to climate change.

Curated by Marci Reaven, New-York Historical’s vice president of history exhibitions, and Jeanne Haffner, associate curator, Hudson Rising begins with a prelude featuring artist Thomas Cole’s panoramic five-part Course of Empire series (1834-36), a treasure of New-York Historical’s collection that depicts the transformation of a pristine landscape into a thriving city, then its dramatic decline, and the fall of civilization. Cole’s poetic questioning of the social costs of what was seen in his time as progress, serves as a prelude to the exhibition narrative, which begins with the industrial age and continues into the present day.” — New-York Historical Society

“Nature has spread for us a rich and delightful banquet. Shall we turn from it?”  — Thomas Cole, “Essay on American Scenery”, 1836

Photographs by Corrado Serra.

Thomas Cole’s panoramic five-part Course of Empire series (1834-36)

“This path-breaking exhibition explores ideas about the environment that developed in the context of the Hudson, examining how we became aware, as New Yorkers and as Americans, of the role that humans played in the river’s ecological degradation,” said Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical. “The exhibit also looks at the strategies we devised to address it. Spanning the entire industrial era, Hudson Rising presents a compelling account of how the Hudson has been an incubator for our ideas about the environment and our relationships to the natural world for two centuries-plus.”