BOOK LAUNCH & RECEPTION | American Vistas: The Life & Art of John Van Alstine

Join artist John Van Alstine and author Tim Kane for a discussion on the newly released book American Vistas: The Art and Life of John Van Alstine, followed by a reception with open bar. Free to the public!

BOOK LAUNCH & RECEPTION | American Vistas: The Life and Art of John Van Alstine

Thursday, April 27 at 5:00 pm

Free to the Public

Join internationally known artist John Van Alstine and author Tim Kane for a discussion on the newly released book American Vistas: The Art and Life of John Van Alstine. The book is a comprehensive biographical look at Van Alstine’s career from his earliest days carving stone to making stone and steel sculptures as seen in the context of the American landscape tradition, with it’s roots in the Hudson Valley, highlighting the impact of him moving back to the Adirondacks 30 years ago had on his oeuvre. Van Alstine has sculptures held in public and private collections in the United States and abroad. Notably, his sculpture Working the Sails is installed in the Weir Sculpture Garden at the Albany Institute of History & Art!

In this presentation, Van Alstine will present a series of works relating to the book while Kane will provide insight into how the book conceptually came together after years in the making. A Q&A will follow as well as a reception to celebrate the book launch of American Vistas: The Life & Art of John Van Alstine by Tim Kane!

About the Book:


Clovercroft Publishing and John Van Alstine Studios in association with author Tim Kane are pleased to announce the publication of American Vistas: The Life and Art of John Van Alstine-a Sisyphean Journey, a 256-page exploration on the creativity of sculptor John Van Alstine, one of the most important contemporary American artists.

It is a companion volume to the catalogue John Van Alstine: Sculpture 1971 to 2018 published in 2019 by The Artists’ Book Foundation and provides a deeper biographical framework to interpret his body of work in the American Landscape tradition through his use primarily of stone and steel.

Comprised of 11 chapters, with 339 color and 39 black-and-white images of sculptures and related archival photographs, American Vistas cuts a long trail through Van Alstine’s various phases from biomorphic life forms to Brute, Anti-Form abstraction to the diverse geologic formations in the American West to the dense urban environment in New York City and the move towards pure landscapes after moving back home in the Adirondacks in the late 1980s to build his current studio and sculpture park in Wells, NY.

American Vistas illustrates how Van Alstine’s oeuvre ultimately speaks about our place in nature and built surroundings, much in the way the Hudson River School of painters, and subsequent generations, captured the sublimity of unspoiled wilderness (stone) and the rise of industrialization (steel) as a key dichotomy in American culture.

Although Van Alstine has been featured in several publications, American Vistas is the first to connect him with the American landscape. If not always by the letter of what constitutes American landscape art, it is the spirit of Van Alstine’s sculpture and life that places him among those that define themselves, first and foremost, as landscape artists.

American Vistas demonstrates it is his self-reliance, DIY attitude, pioneering grit to chart the unknown-both physical and philosophic-and that the journey is as important as the resulting art which makes him a part of the American Landscape movement.

About the Artist, John Van Alstine:


Born upstate New York in 1952, John Van Alstine grew up in the southern Adirondacks Mountains. After attending St. Lawrence University (1970-72), Kent State University (BFA 1974) and Cornell University (MFA 1976) he joined the faculty at the University of Wyoming, Laramie and later the University of Maryland, College Park to teach drawing and sculpture. In 1986 he left teaching and moved to the NYC area to pursue studio work full time. In 1987 he purchased a 19th century industrial complex on the banks of the Sacandaga River and returned to the Adirondacks in upstate New York where he now lives and works in the restored historic structure.

Van Alstine’s work has been exhibited widely (including over 50 solo exhibitions) in this country as well as in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. He has completed many major large scale outdoor, site-specific commissions installing a large outdoor work for the 2008 Olympic Park, Beijing; a 35' tall piece for the new Indianapolis Airport; and a 28” high work FUNAMBULIST on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing in June 2010.

Other notable projects include a major outdoor piece for TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY, Beijing, China. This large scale sculpture built in Beijing in conjunction with university’s centennial celebration and installed on campus in April 2011. He also completed a 30’h outdoor 911–SCULPTURE/MEMORIAL sculpture using World Trade Tower steel remnants dedicated Sept. 11, 2012 in Saratoga Springs, NY. In 2020 “Catapulta” was selected from over 1200 (including 46 countries and regions) worldwide applicants and will be enlarged to 5 meters and installed in the Wuhu, China sculpture park in 2021.

Van Alstine is a recipient of many individual arts grants and fellowships including from the Gottlieb Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Tiffany Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and a number of state artist’s grants.

A 280 page hardcover book, John Van Alstine Sculpture 1971-2018 surveying 50 years of work published by The Artist Book foundation, was released in 2019. This follows the 2001 release of Bones of the Earth – Spirit of the Land, also hardcover recapping the first 25 years of his work. In 2023, a new 256 page biography by Tim Kane was released American Vistas: The Life and Art of John Van Alstine. His work is held in many private and public and corporate collections in this country and Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

They include: (selected list) Baltimore Museum of Art Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX Carnegie Museum Of Art, Pittsburgh, Pa Corcoran Gallery Of Art, Washington, Dc Dallas Museum Of Art, Dallas, TX Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH Delaware Museum Of Art, Wilmington Denver Art Museum Hirshhorn Museum And Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Inst. Washington, DC Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca The Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston, TX National Museum Of American Art, Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC. Museum Of Modern Art, Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, Portugal, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ., The Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL, The Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, NY The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC., U.S. State Department, Art in US Embassies; Bolivian Embassy, Washington, DC, Jamaican Embassy, Kingston, Jamaica, Nepal Embassy, Katmandu, Chilean Embassy, Santiago.

About the Author, Tim Kane:


Tim Kane is an award-winning New York journalist covering numerous topics from business to the arts for more than 30 years. In 2003, he began focusing on visual culture writing reviews and features on artists primarily in Upstate New York for various publications, including Art In America, Art News, SCULPTURE Magazine, Adirondack Life, Frieze, Albany Times Union, Houston, Santa Fe and Palm Springs magazines. Among other projects, he catalogued John Van Alstine’s work in 2014-15 and contributed one of the two main essays in John Van Alstine Sculpture 1971-2018.

Critical Acclaim for American Vistas:


Howard N. Fox Emeritus curator of contemporary art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

In this handsomely designed and sumptuously illustrated publication, author Tim Kane provides an illuminating overview of John Van Alstine's art and the creative bloodline that flows through his professional, intellectual, and personal development, from his undergraduate student days through his early Washington, DC-based career, to his prominent place among a generation of modern sculptors both nationally and internationally. Kane probes the relationship of Van Alstine's sculpture to nature with special attention to his veneration of the distinctly north American landscape and the esteemed nineteenth-century Hudson River School of wilderness painting. American Vistas is a must-have volume for all who admire Van Alstine's art.

William R. Cross Author of recent (2022) biography, “Winslow Homer: American Passage” published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York. Chair of the advisory board of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture

This beautiful volume — like the work it illuminates — makes a distinctive contribution. John van Alstine's considerable gifts as a sculptor are rooted in his love of the land, and of the materials intrinsic to the American terroir. Tim Kane explains van Alstine's work in the context of his sense of purpose, and his understanding of what it means to be American. At last, we can see this major sculptor in context, as heir to the legacy of painters such as Homer, Luminists from Cole to Durand to Gifford, and American Modernists such as Rockwell Kent. Should we not also consider van Alstine in the context of Turrell, Goldsworthy and Lin?

Caroline M. Welsh, Art Historian and Director Emerita, Adirondack Museum

American Vistas: The Life and Art of John Van Alstine reveals just that for one of America's great modernist and contemporary artists. Tim Kane's singular contribution with this handsome companion volume to The Artist Book Foundation's John Van Alstine: Sculpture 1971-2018 is his insightful interpretation of the biographical details of the artist's life as architect and author of his creative expressions. The landscapes of Van Alstine's life-the Adirondacks, the West, Maine plus the dynamism of New York City-are fundamental to the artist's vocabulary and vision. Mentors, family, art and literature, and serendipity all play a role but Van Alstine has always been the brains and the brawn in.


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