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ModFest 2018

Modfest, celebrating its sixteenth anniversary, is Vassar College’s annual exploration of the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries.

January 26. 5:30pm

LECTURE/ART OPENING: Vincent Fremont, “Reel to Real: Andy Warhol's World" 
“People are Beautiful: Photographs, Prints, and Films by Andy Warhol,” at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, opens with a lecture and reception. The exhibition explores shifting notions of beauty in Warhol’s portraits. The lecture, "Reel to Real: Andy Warhol's World," will be given by Vincent Fremont, who worked for Andy Warhol for nearly 20 years and was one of the founding directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He is currently writing a memoir about his experience working with Warhol. A reception follows in the Art Center Atrium.

Taylor Hall, Room 102

January 26 - April 15, 2018.

People are Beautiful: Prints, Photographs, and Films by Andy Warhol

Marilyn, 1967People are Beautiful, a new exhibition of close to 100 rarely seen works

by Andy Warhol, explores shifting notions of beauty in the artist’s portraits

from 1964 to 1985. Read more


The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center



Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987)

Screenprint on paper

Gift from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. 

Alexander E. Racolin, 1995.13.49


Warhol, Andy. (born August 6, 1928, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.-died February 22, 1987, New York, New York) American artist and filmmaker, an initiator and leading exponent of the Pop art movement of the 1960s whose mass-produced art apotheosized the supposed banality of the commercial culture of the United States. An adroit self-publicist, he projected a concept of the artist as an impersonal, even vacuous, figure who is nevertheless a successful celebrity, businessman, and social climber. The son of Ruthenian (Rusyn) immigrants from what is now eastern Slovakia, Warhol graduated in 1949 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology...Read more

Search for Vassar's Andy Warhol holdings in the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center e-museum collection.



February 1-11, 2018.

Animals, Adapting


The mutability of nature is a constant. Connections are made and broken in an unrelenting cycle of evolution. As one species loses ground, others thrive. The stolid rhinoceros and the marvelous pink dolphin may not be able to coexist with a human world, any more than mastodons and dodos could, but what connections do we lose when they disappear?


Various locations across campus


A series of Ecological Projections by

Rick Jones and Henry Krusoe ‘17.



    Original images: Jones:; 



Read more: at

February 1-28, 2018.

Hello, Dear Enemy! Picture Books for Peace and Humanity


This exhibition presents an international selection of striking and original picture books that illuminate the motives and consequences of war, especially its impact on the lives of children.  Often in quiet and gentle ways, these books speak of everyday life in regions of conflict, of oppression, persecution and traumatic escape, as well as of forbidding borders, threats and injuries. Still, many of them conclude by pointing out paths to a better future, and by cultivating openness, curiosity and empathy. Read more



The Old Bookstore, College Center

Curated by the International Youth Library (Munich, Germany). Mounted by Monica Church. Read more


                                                                                                   Monica Church Portrait w:camera.jpg

Traveling exhibitions.

January 26-XX, 2018

The First Comes Love Project*


*Opening Reception on Thursday, February 1, 2018 5-7 pm



The “First Comes Love” Project is a traveling exhibition of photographs, stories, and video that bear witness that couples represented in the project have endured the challenges, victories, defeats, births, deaths, loves, and losses that any couple faces in many years together. These couples stand together “for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” and WITHstand the test of time and the discrimination allowed by inequitable laws of many states. The book emphasizes the “normalcy” of these relationships and will serve as a testament to the LGBTQ youth of our community, that long-term, stable, loving relationships are possible for their future.


The Palmer Gallery, College Center






















Traveling Exhibition


"The goal of “First Comes Love” is to provide a glimpse into the “everyday” lives of LGBTQ couples who have been in their relationships for 10, 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years!" Read more






Friday, Feb 2, 2018 7:00pm.

Music, Words, and Images

Music, Words, and Images has been a Modfest tradition since 2010. Performed for the first time in Skinner Hall, this concert will explore the theme of “adapting” with exciting and diverse collaborations featuring students, faculty, campus organizations, and guest artists.  Featuring works by Richard Wilson, Susan Botti, and Zachary Wadsworth, with performances and readings by Courtenay Budd, James Fitzwilliam, Logan Pitts ‘17, Barbara Proud, Richard Wilson, and others.


Skinner Hall of Music



Richard Wilson is an American composer of orchestraloperaticinstrumental,

and chamber music... more


As composer and performer, Susan Botti's eclectic background and experiences are reflected in her music. more
headshot_smile.jpg"Zachary Wadsworth’s “vivid, vital, and prismatic” music has established him as a leading composer of his   generation. ." more 


Richard Wilson ... studied piano with Leonard Shure and cello with Ernst Silberstein...he received the Frank Huntington Beebe Award, which afforded him the opportunity to study piano in Munich with Friedrich Wührer...Read more 



Courtenay Budd’s shimmering and high-flying soprano (“a voice for connoisseurs”) is comfortable in music ranging from Handel and Bach to the bel canto opera repertoire and music of today’s composers. Read more.  

[JMF Head Shot]James Fitzwilliam is frequently seen throughout the Hudson Valley area as a pianist, organist and composer.  Read more 

                                        Logan Emmet Fletcher Pitts, '17, baritone.


Barbara Proud, commercial photographer for the past 20 years.. Read more.

Commentary on “Cristalli” by composer Susan Botti

Thanks to Christine Howlett for providing the following transcript:

Commentary on “Cristalli” by Susan Botti, which was commissioned by environmental artist/photographer Alice F. Weston for her multimedia project, Crystal Clues to the Sublime

Jeff Walker

February 2, 2018

 What is it about crystals that fascinates us so?  Enter a room full of crystals, like our museum in Ely Hall, and you are immediately struck by the variety of colors, sizes, and shapes.  Some are metallic, some are glassy, some are opaque, some transparent.  But if you stand in front of a cabinet of quartz crystals and look closely, you will begin to see that the forms, that is, the way the crystal faces grow in relation to each other, are actually very much the same.

Nearly 350 years ago the Danish scientist Nicolas Stenson (also known as Steno), building on work by Kepler a half a century earlier, proved that the angles between faces of crystals of the same mineral were the same regardless of how deformed the crystal looks, implying that order is part of what defines a mineral.  Nearly a century later, René Just Haüy developed the concept of the unit cell – the smallest piece that still contains all of the symmetry of the larger crystal.  Since that time, crystallographers have thoughts of crystal structures as three-dimensional arrangements of unit cells.

The discovery of X-rays in 1895, and development during the first decades of the twentieth century of our ability to deduce the symmetry of the unit cell using X-rays, did little to diminish the mystery of the beauty of a crystal.  Even the knowledge that there are only 230 unique ways to arrange atoms symmetrically in space only increases our wonder at the beauty that is produced from such order.  X-rays may have confirmed the existence of atoms, and even told us how big they are, but the wonders of order in the natural world still fascinate us, and as is typical in all scientific work, each answer from an X-ray study only increases the number of questions we can ask.

It is amazing to consider, for instance, how crystals grow in a liquid in response to a changing environment, which is how most minerals form.  Whether the liquid is evaporating water on the Bonneville Salt Flats crystallizing halite and gypsum, or mixed warm hydrothermal waters deep in the earth crystallizing veins of quartz or calcite, or even gold or silver, or the hot liquid rock we call magma cooling and crystallizing pyroxene and plagioclase in lava flow, the nascent mineral nucleus must attract just the right atoms, in just the right order, to create the correct structure to produce a crystal.  Sure, there are mistakes, and in many cases the mistakes give the crystal the beautiful colors we see, but the mistakes are almost insignificant when compared to the millions of other atoms in correct positions forming the crystal we see.

The fact that crystals bring order to the physical sensible world makes it easy to believe that they can also order features of the world beyond our senses.  Einstein proved what magicians from time immemorial have long felt: that matter is a form of energy, so everything, in essence, is energy.   It makes some kind of sense, then, that an object like a crystal that can order matter, might also direct the ordering of energy, and could be used to bring healing and balance, to make magic, to create myths, and to promote positive change.

Crystals, then, are one example of the beauty that comes with order in the natural world.  The beauty of natural things in found everywhere, from soil to trees to animals to landscapes.  Of course, there certainly is beauty in modified landscapes.  We have all experienced a beautiful garden, but I think deep down we know that constructed beauty orders only a few aspects of nature, and is limited by the imagination, knowledge, and ability of the designer.  Unmodified, wild nature has a deeper beauty that we call sublime, which comes from the ordering of an almost infinitely complex world.  To me, the beauty of “Cristalli”, and the images that accompany it, is in how they represent the immense complexity of an ordered universe, and bring us closer to the sublime.


Saturday, Feb 3, 2018 11:00am.

Creative Career Panel


Join us for a professional development workshop that will explore how "adapting" translates to the professional world in creative ways. Learn from local artists and Vassar alumnae about how they use the arts in their careers. Get first hand information from individuals working in fields that help people learn, heal, grow, and change using different creative methods.


Multi-Purpose Room, College Center

Saturday, Feb 3, 2018 7:00pm.

Source: Accessed 12/20/17. 


Second Honorary Adene and Richard Wilson Concert

The Music Department at Vassar College is honored to host its second annual “Adene and Richard Wilson Concert.”  This year we feature faculty members Frank Cassara, Danielle Farina, Ashley Jackson, Thomas Sauer, and faculty emeritus, Richard Wilson with music by Elliott Carter, Hans Werner Henze, Sally Beamish, and Wilson.

A brief history of Modfest

Skinner Hall of Music



A proponent of new and classic, western and world percussion music, Frank Cassara has premiered many works with as many diverse groups. Read More.










"Violist Danielle Farina enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, teacher, and recording artist in both the classical and pop genres.  Read more



"Pianist Thomas Sauer is highly sought after as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher.   Read more 




Elliott CarterElliott Carter "(b New York, NY, Dec 11, 1908d New York, NY, Nov 5, 2012). American composer. One of the most respected composers of the second half of the 20th century, he blended the achievements of European modernism and American “ultra-modernism” into a unique style of surging rhythmic vitality, intense dramatic contrast, and innovative facture."  

Schiff, David, and Mark D. Porcaro. "Carter, Elliott." Grove Music Online. 14 Dec. 2017. Photo: Meredith Heuer

Hans Werner Henze, einer der bedeutend...Jahren in einem Dresdner Krankenhaus..  | Foto: dpaHans Werner Henze (b Gütersloh, July 1, 1926 d Dresden, Oct 27, 2012).German composer. His formidably numerous operas, ballets, symphonies and concertos have gained an established place in the international repertory. His personal and compositional development has been documented in numerous interviews, articles, autobiographical essays and books. Striving for a communicative, ‘impure’ music concerned with feelings, ideas, history, people and politics, he has drawn inspiration for his vocal and instrumental works from a broad spectrum of renowned poets, writers and librettists. 

Palmer-Füchsel, Virginia. "Henze, Hans Werner." Grove Music Online. 14 Dec. 2017. Photo:

Sally Beamish "(b London, Aug 26, 1956). English composer and viola player, active in Scotland...Her distinctive music draws on many different sources. Motherhood has been an important inspiration, reflected in works such as Tuscan Lullaby (1989) or Magnificat (1992), in which the traditional Latin text is interspersed with poems by Elizabeth Jennings. A particularly Scottish influence can be heard in her use of pibroch in the piano trio Piobaireachd (1991) and her First Symphony (1992), commissioned by the City of Reykjavik." Works such as All Quiet on the Western Frontbased upon E.M. Remarque’s novel, have found their inspiration in literature

Fuller, Sophie. "Beamish, Sally." Grove Music Online. 14 Dec. 2017. Photo: Ashley Coombes. Accessed 12/14/17.


"Richard Wilson (b Cleveland, May 15, 1941). American composer and pianist...Wilson has composed for a wide variety of vocal and instrumental combinations and is concerned as much with exploring the sonic idiom of the particular force at hand as with the communication of an abstract musical concept. His musical style incorporates some aspects of traditional tonality within a highly chromatic, though sensuous, language. Avoiding serialism, he favours evolving motivic interplay, often set against a quasi-Impressionistic background."

Wierzbicki, James, and Mary L. Frantz. "Wilson, Richard." Grove Music Online. 21 Dec. 2017.

Sunday, February 4, 2018 3:00pm

West Side Story:  The Mind and Music of Leonard Bernstein

Richard Kogan


Dr. Richard Kogan, distinguished Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Artistic Director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, combines his expertise as a medical professional and a brilliant pianist in a lecture-recital that explores the influence of psychological factors and medical conditions on the creative work of Leonard Bernstein.  


Skinner Hall of Music


For Richard Kogan, Artistic Director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, "exploring the psyches of composers makes him a better interpreter of their scores, and...understanding the role of music in our lives makes him a better psychiatrist"  more


Richard Kogan has a distinguished career both as a concert pianist and as a psychiatrist. Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Artistic Director of the Weill Cornell Music and Medicine Program, he has been praised for his "eloquent, compelling, and exquisite playing" by the New York Times, and the Boston Globe wrote that "Kogan has somehow managed to excel at the world's two most demanding professions."

Dr. Kogan has gained renown for his lecture/recitals that explore the role of music in healing and the influence of psychological factors and psychiatric and medical illness on the creative output of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, and Bernstein. He has given these presentations at music festivals, concert series, medical conferences, and scholarly symposia throughout the world. He has recorded the highly acclaimed DVD "Music and the Mind : The Life and Works of Robert Schumann" for Yamaha. Dr. Kogan has won numerous honors including the Concert Artists Guild Award, the Chopin Competition of the Kosciuszko Foundation, the Liebert Award for Applied Psychoanalysis, and the McGovern Award for the Art and Science of Medicine

Dr. Kogan is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music Pre-college, Harvard College, and Harvard Medical School. He completed a psychiatry residency and an academic fellowship at NYU. He is Co-Director of the Human Sexuality Program at the Weill Cornell Medical College and has a private practice of psychiatry in New York City.

Source: Accessed 12/12/17

Dr. Richard Kogan on YouTube:

Richard Kogan, M.D., on Beethoven - YouTube
May 9, 2012 - Uploaded by Psychiatric News
Richart Kogan, M.D., a psychiatrist and award-winning pianist, talks about the mad genius of Ludwig van ...

Richard Kogan, M.D., on Chopin - YouTube
May 25, 2015 - Uploaded by ats343
Psychiatrist and concert pianist Dr. Richard Kogan explores the connection between Frederic Chopin's ...

Richard Kogan, M.D., on Schumann - YouTube
May 24, 2017 - Uploaded by ats343
Psychiatrist and pianist Dr. Richard Kogan prior to his lecture/concert "Schumann, Bipolar Disorder and the ...

Dr. Richard Kogan - Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 - YouTube
Jul 24, 2016 - Uploaded by ats343
Psychiatrist and pianist Dr. Richard Kogan discusses Rachmaninoff Second Piano Concerto inspired by ...