Archive for July, 2009

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Safe Investment

What started out as a steamy summer day suddenly turned into a whirling downpour as MCLA’s Jonathan Secor and I toured Down Street Art in North Adams. There are 27 sites, a mixture of galleries, storefront installations, artist co-ops, performances, artist talks and studios for children and the general public. Walking the sites is a blast, the perfect activity for a cloudy day. Click here to go to Down Street Art’s website, where you’ll find a map of the sites, descriptions and an events calendar – you can pick up a map of the entire program in Porches’ reception building. Here are a few highlights from our walk: 

Debi Pendell’s multi-layered paintings are masterfully crafted self-framed canvases with imagery that play on how we read symbols – this thoughtful and beautiful show is at MCLA’s Gallery 51. We then stopped in to see Jarvis Rockwell’s Maya III, a giant ziggurat covered in toys, a mammoth exploration of  Jarvis’s commentary on mass consumption, idol/pop icon worship, the “American” narrative in father Norman Rockwell’s work, and… go in and see for yourself – it’s both dizzying and wonderful! Jarvis is usually there for a few hours most mornings; he’ll be glad to discuss his work with you. The Refractive Kinoscope by Kinodance Company at MCLA’s Gallery 51 Annex is a room-sized installation exploring the relationships between light, space and the viewer. Silent movie stills from about 40 films surround viewers  at eye level in a series that winds around the edge of the rooms, illuminated by a series of lighted trains that travel behind the images on track; there’s an engaging intellectual dialogue here but it’s also just fun to look at!

Be sure to check out Down Street Art soon – a bunch of new shows are opening in the next day or so. Get your Down Street Art passport (fill it with stamps from the participating sites to get discounts at local merchants) and spend a day in town popping in and out of galleries, stopping into Brewhaha or the Cup and Saucer for a coffee or a sandwich… Keep in mind that you’ll be seeing really good art in an affordable range of prices, so plan to invest in a few new works of art or find that perfect gift.  So, grab a coffee, flip open your map and start walking… look for the easily recognizable, green and white Down Street Art flags hung on storefronts. This is one instance in which even if the investment doesn’t increase in value, at least it’s always a source of enjoyment!


Friday, July 24, 2009


If you are interested in contemporary music – and I don’t mean the Top 40 kind – the annual Bang on a Can summer festival is under way – and you won’t want to miss it! This festival is dedicated to exploring the most adventurous music being made today – with Tanglewood’s annual traditional music festival just 30 miles away, the Berkshires is steeped in music of all kinds! Bang on a Can offers master classes, seminars on music business and lots of performances in both the MASS MoCA galleries and elsewhere – for example, on Wednesday, July 29, members of Bang on a Can will perform a free concert at Windsor Lake in North Adams at 7PM.  Where else can you hear music inspired by Balinese monkey chants?!  


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Free for You and Me

Sounds like a folk song we children of the seventies used to sing in second grade, doesn’t it?!  (Thank you, Woody Guthrie!) The Clark Art Institute is offering a series of free summer concerts. On Tuesday, July 14, Annie & the Hedonists are performing their “eclectic mix of acoustic folk, torchy blues, standards, bluegrass, gospel, and early jazz.”  Enjoy the music and the beauty of the Clark’s spectacular grounds while picnicing with family and friends. The galleries will remain open until 6 pm on band concert evenings and the show goes on even in the event of rain (in the auditorium). Barbeque fare will be available for purchase too.  The free concert series continues with the Equalites on July 21 and The Primate Fiasco on July 28.  The Clark is just minutes from Porches, so you can enjoy the concert and be back at our digs to enjoy a late-night dip in our heated outdoor pool!