Hudson River School artists like Thomas Cole might never have seen it coming, but their neck of the woods will soon be home to a center for psychedelic art, opening on the full-moon anniversary of the founders’ wild LSD trip.
Entheon, Sanctuary of Visionary Art at the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, as it is called, is a much larger version of a venue that was run by the married artist duo Alex and Allyson Grey in New York City from 2004 to 2008. Writing in the New York Times, critic Ken Johnson called that space “a curious, over-the-top combination of art gallery, New Age temple and Coney Island sideshow.”
The couple paid $1.8 million for the three-story, 19th-century carriage house, sited on 40 wooded acres in Wappingers Falls, New York, according to the New York Times, and are raising another $3 million to finish work on the building. The center, which opens June 3, will display artworks by the Greys and other psychedelic artists.
The center, which they think of as a social sculpture in the tradition of artist Joseph Beuys, as an interfaith church in 2008.
Alex’s work has been featured on albums by bands including Tool, the Beastie Boys, and Nirvana, as well as in venues like the New Museum and the São Paulo Bienal. Allyson has shown at venues including New York’s O.K. Harris Gallery and Stux Gallery, as well as the Islip Art Museum.
The new nonprofit comes at a significant moment for psychedelics. Michael Pollan’s bestselling book How to Change Your Mind (2018) raised awareness of the substances’ use in both sacred rites and psychotherapy.
The center joins a wave of art venues that have popped up in New York’s Hudson Valley in recent years, including Foreland Catskill, Magazzino Italian Art Museum in Cold Spring, and Jack Shainman’s The School in Kinderhook.
Entheon’s centerpiece is Alex’s 21-painting cycle featuring all the systems of the human body (he previously worked as a medical illustrator).
Allyson’s multimedia installation Chaos, Order, Secret Writing will also be prominently featured. The work includes her devotional drawings and her abstractions pointing to the spectral light that she holds to be at the foundation of consciousness. Also on view will be Alex’s Gaia (1989), a 12-by-eight-foot canvas depicting an environmental crisis (and featuring two airplanes in the vicinity of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers).
True psychedelic devotees, the couple has also installed a reliquary holding the eyeglasses of chemist Albert Hofmann, who developed LSD, and the ashes of Timothy Leary, who popularized the expression “Turn on, tune in, drop out” in the 1960s.
Entheon will be funded through ticket sales (about $20), and a there’s a shop offering posters, prints, and blankets featuring the couple’s art. Allyson also offers $350 Zoom consultations for artists. Naming opportunities for galleries are available for $75,000 to $250,000.