Tuesday, February 28, 2006

ArtNews features Don Gummer Sculpture at MassMoCA

The new Don Gummer sculpture at MassMoCA was features in ArtNews this month (Feb 06). The write up was focused on the long span of time between the conception of the work and its eventual installation at Moca.

Monday, February 27, 2006

MCLA's Gallery 51 to open illustrators' show

NORTH ADAMS — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Gallery 51 will open its latest exhibition, "North Adams Illustrators" next week in the downtown.

The exhibition will showcase the original work of three professional illustrators who reside in North Adams.
Howard Cruse, Emily Daunis and John Shamburger all are trained illustrators who have had their work featured in national publications.

MCLA will host an opening reception the gallery at 51 Main St. on Thursday, March 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. The community is invited to attend. Refreshments will be served and the artists will be available to discuss their work.
Cruse has had a long career in illustration, publishing his work in magazines and comic books. His award-winning graphic novel "Stuck Rubber Baby" has been translated into several languages throughout the world.
Artforum International says of Cruse's novel, "(Stuck Rubber Baby) is bravura storytelling ... made specific, pungent, and singular by its setting in the Movement-era South" and it was named one of "The Best 100 Comics of the Century" by Comics Journal.

Daunis graduated with a major in illustration from the Art Institute of Boston. Since then she has lived in Boston and New York City focusing on her freelance illustration career until recently moving to North Adams to manage Papyri Books on Main Street.

Her most recent illustration assignment was for Peter Post's book "Essential Manners for Couples." For this exhibition, Daunis has created a series of illustrations based on her impressions of North Adams.
Shamburger holds two degrees in scenography, the study of painting theatrical scenery. He has also produced illustrations for a number of magazines, book covers and posters. Shamburger uses paint to create his colorful illustrations that depict a surreal and fantastical view of the human condition.

"North Adams Illustrators" will run from March 2 to April 23. The gallery is open from Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, (413) 662-5543.

Eclipse announces upcoming exhibits, concert, reading

NORTH ADAMS — Works by Rich Remsberg and Margaret Smithglass will be featured in the art exhibition "Maps and Roads" Friday, Feb. 24, through Saturday, April 1, in the Eclipse Mill Gallery on the first floor of Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, 243 Union St. (Route 2).

The public can meet the artists at a free opening reception Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Remsberg will show 18 black-and-white photographs from his book "Riders for God: The Story of a Christian Motorcycle Gang" (2000). He explores the lives of men and women in the Unchained Gang, a group of former outlaw bikers, ex-convicts and recovering addicts from Southern Indiana, who became born-again Christians.

A documentary photographer and archival image researcher, Rems-berg moved to North Adams from the Midwest two years ago.

Smithglass will show "Praha," a collection of paintings inspired by her explorations in Prague, Czech Republic. She is an artist and "recovering architect" who moved to North Adams from Brooklyn two years ago, with an interlude in the Czech Republic.

The exhibit will be open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5. The gallery is accessible to the handicapped. Enter the building at the east end.

Information: (413) 664-9101 or
On Saturday, Feb. 25, Gene Bertoncini, solo jazz guitarist, will give a concert from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7 for a wine reception in the gallery. A donation of $10 to $20 is requested.

On Saturday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m., Andrea Barrett, author of "Ship Fever" and "Voyage of the Narwhal," and local fiction writer Jill Gilbreth will read from their current works. The free event is sponsored by Inkberry as part of its ongoing reading series.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Retooled Bennington Museum ready again for public

The Advocate: Thursday, February 23 BENNINGTON, Vt. - At the end of a two-month winter hiatus and "freshening up," The Bennington Museum is busily readying to open its doors to the public on Sunday.
The grand re-opening will feature free gallery admission, a vast show of student artwork, a sculpture exhibition by local artist Daniel Richmond and a grouping of antique chairs, all in addition to the permanent collection."I'm excited about it," said Programs Coordinator Deana Flanders Tuesday, as she hung student artwork. "It should be a fun day."
Yesterday's Bennington Bridal Fair kicked off opening week events, with a fashion show featuring museum staff dressed to the nines in wedding attire. Florists, jewelers, cake-makers and other vendors exhibited their wares, and door prizes were awarded, including a $150 tuxedo rental certificate from Shaffe's Men's Shop.
The bridal fair was a spin-off of the museum's Festival of Trees silent auction, in which a complete wedding package - including a wedding dress from Beautiful Beginnings Bridal Boutique and a reception at the museum - went to one happy couple - Cameron McDonald of Bennington and her fiance.
"When we were organizing the 'ultimate bridal package' for The Festival of Trees, it became evident how hard it is to find wedding information in this area," said Katie Reilly, marketing coordinator for the museum and an organizer of the bridal fair.
The museum can be booked for weddings and receptions throughout the year.
"The museum has a beautiful space and great atmosphere," Reilly said.
Thanks to some winter maintenance - painting walls, updating the sprinkler system and an overhaul of the Parmalee Gallery - along with an early spring-cleaning, the museum's galleries and public spaces are better than ever. Visitors can see for themselves Sunday, when the museum will open at 10 and resume its regularly scheduled hours of 10 to 5 daily, except Wednesdays.
Sunday will also mark the opening of the annual Student Art Show, which runs through March 24 and features artwork by students at Arlington Memorial High School, Bennington Elementary School, The Bennington School, Cambridge Elementary School, Catamount Elementary School, Grace Christian School, the Hiland Hall School, Hoosick Falls Middle and High School, Molly Stark Elementary School, Monument Elementary School, Mount Anthony Union High School, Mount Anthony Middle School, North Bennington Graded School, Pownal Elementary School, Shaftsbury Elementary School, Williamstown Elementary School and the Woodford School.
The show of 350-some pieces, previously relegated to smaller exhibition hallways and lobbies, will be displayed in a large second-floor gallery reserved for changing exhibitions. The work will explore the longstanding relationship between art and education. Along with the art created by current students, the museum will display a selection of works created by local schoolgirls and boys during the 19th century.
"In our decision to integrate the student show into our exhibition plan as a whole, we wanted to include student art created through the centuries in this area," Museum Curator Jamie Franklin said. "It's a way of sharing the interface of art and education."
Pieces from the museum's archives will include needlework samplers and hand-drawn watercolor maps. "The maps, as well as being beautiful paintings, were a way to learn geography," Franklin explained.
The museum hopes the display will demonstrate that art can provide students a creative means to explore topics as diverse as geography, reading and writing, science and the history of art itself.
Of the contemporary pieces, Teru Simon, a ceramics and sculpture instructor at Mount Anthony Union High School said, "I think it's really important for the community to understand the importance of arts in the community. Our own art department at the high school is one of the best in the state."
Referring to several of her students' ceramic work, she added, "The teapots were part of a final exam. I'm really pleased with the way they came out. And the place setting [a soup bowl, saucer and plate] is one of four by my most advanced student. She made a full set with precise measurements."
Flanders said the works encompass an "enormous variety" of grades, talents and interests.
"You can see that some of them were part of a classroom project," she said. "For example, there are African-mask style paintings that probably relate to something they were learning in social studies. From high schools, we got very beautiful ceramic pieces and photography from students who are clearly very interested in art. I hope they go on to study art."
Richmond, a North Bennington sculptor and Bennington native, embodies Flanders' hope.
"I'm psyched about the show because I went to school across the street [Monument Elementary]," Richmond, now in his 30s, said. "I have a history with this place."
His six-week show will feature showing work from a 10-year period, including carved realistic bear and cow skulls and representations of other animals from his "Extinct, Extrapated and Endangered Species" series, large, figurative pieces that were previously exhibited in a New York show and work from time spent in the Navajo Nation in Arizona.
"I'll be showing photographs, earth pigments and carving mallets the kids made," he said of the Navajo segment.
A third new exhibit, "Sitting Around: Chairs from the Collection," will on display in the main lobby through May.
Franklin discovered an assortment of early American chairs when a loft space was cleared to make room for work on the sprinkler system.
"I jokingly said, 'There are all these chairs just sitting around.' Then I realized it'd make a wonderful exhibit."
The nine chairs chosen represent design developments between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries, as well as differences between those found in rural and urban homes.
"The chair is utilitarian, functional furniture," Franklin said. "There were limitations on a craftsman or artisan. A chair basically has four legs, a flat seat and a back; there's not much you can change about that. But they made many stylistic changes, and we chose the ones that were the most interesting."
For more information on upcoming exhibits and events, call 802-447-1571, visit
www.benningtonmuseum.org or stop by the museum at 75 Main St.

Irish art exhibit seeks submissions

Berkshire Eagle: PITTSFIELD - Berkshire County artists and those from the surrounding area are being asked to submit two- and three-dimensional artwork for a group exhibit on Irish art and culture that will take place in March at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts at 28 Rennie Avenue.
"Forty Shades of Green: Art Inspired by Ireland & Irish Culture" is sponsored by the Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development and the Pittsfield Irish Sister City Committee, in cooperation with the Berkshire County Irish-American Club.
Both contemporary and traditional artwork on Ireland are encouraged, including photography, painting, sculpture, craft and video or sound installations.
Submissions should be brought to the Lichtenstein Center between 2 and 5 p.m. on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27. The exhibit will run from March 1 through April 1.
Artists planning to submit work can contact Pittsfield's Cultural Development Director Megan Whilden at either 413-499-9370 or

Applying Berkshires to a worldwide scale

North Adams Transcript: WILLIAMSTOWN - Williams College professor and artist Michael Glier is taking the artistic lessons of the Berkshires and applying them on a worldwide scale.

Williams professor, artist
Glier's artwork took a turn when he moved from New York City to the Berkshires in the late 1980s. Originally, he worked from other people's photographs, but his move to the country — and signposts of aging such as the birth of his daughter — coincided to during a philosophical change that would transform his artwork as well.

Markedly different from his previous focus, which touched upon male gender roles with a very political presentation, his new paintings drew inspiration from his role as primary caregiver for his daughter and this theme of custodial nurturing seeped into his representations of the natural world around him, as in his series, "Garden Court."

"The garden stuff is more about being the gardener and taking care of things," said Glier, "observing things carefully, and being responsive and improvisational."

Glier delved into nature and its relationship with emotion and time with his Mass MoCA wall drawing "Full Moon on the Hoosic," his series "Backyard," and his mural for Cambridge, "Town Green." Glier is continuing use of the same ideas with his next project, "Longitude."

"I'm doing a yearlong painting that will be many panels," said Glier, "and every day that I have free, I take a walk in the morning, and I take note of the weather, the colors of the day, the palette, I pick stuff up, and I go back to the studio and, working entirely abstractly, I try to record the impression of the day."

Glier's wants to get a sense of how the local palette changes as the earth tilts on its axis. He has completed 15 paintings since October, but Glier hopes to have maybe 48 paintings done in total, from which he will pick the appropriate number to either represent the four seasons or the twelve months. He intends to take the project much further than the Berkshires.

"I want to extend this series to be about a single line of longitude that goes through my studio in Hoosic," said Glier.

"If you go north, you wind up at the Arctic Circle at Bassin Island, so I want to get a studio up there."
Going southward along the same line brings Glier to the eastern most island of the Bahamas and in the rain forest of Ecuador.

"At the arctic circle, there's some sense of a change of season," said Glier, "and at the equator, I don't think there's much sense except for a change in humidity. In the Bahamas, I don't think there's much at all; it's pretty much the same sort of palette all season long. So, I haven't quite figured out if I need to stay in these places for a few months or I need to hop back and forth. Right now, I'm thinking I will spend three months in a place and then go back and spend another three months."

Glier realizes that the "Longitude" project is ironic in a way, hearkening back to the era of men exploring the world, quite in contrast with his previous work challenging male gender roles. However, Glier's role in "Longitude" is also a throwback, but not to the conqueror explorer that immediately comes to mind.
"It's more like the guy who was the cartographer," said Glier, "or like Darwin, who was the naturalist, making observations,

rather than the conqueror who was out there bringing back the spoils. So it's an identification with a different kind of adventurer."

"Longitude" will function as an extension of his previous work in many ways. Glier has already used the Hoosic River as its own timeline, to tell its own story, and his work for Cambridge "Town Green." Glier approaches nature as its own structure in its own story and "Longitude" is a natural progression.

"I see this piece as being a historical document of what the weather and the palette is at this moment," said Glier,

"and that I expect the plant life and climate to shift dramatically in the next hundred years, so I think it might be interesting to have this visual document. I hope in a way it calls attention to this issue of climate change by taking longitude as a subject and how the climate's going to change along that line."
While Glier is concerned about climate change, he is quick to point out that the intention of the project isn't to raise awareness and save the world — rather, he is working to address our cultural relationship with nature and how that shapes not only how we treat nature, but how we comprehend human interaction with nature as part of a cycle that affects our well-being.

"My attitude is that people have often said with good intentions that we need to save nature," said Glier, "but nature's completely indifferent to us and we're usually not saving nature, we're saving ourselves."
Glier points to the Bible and its statements attributed to God that man has dominion over all the world as a major cultural text that enables self-destruction through the destruction of natural resources.

"It's the text that establishes this really bad relationship with the natural world," said Glier, "and we're reaping the harvest of this really bad idea, so I've been trying to suggest a different text. That's why it's about being sensitive to the context that you are in and realizing that you aren't saving nature, nature's going to go on in some altered form regardless."

In many ways, Glier's efforts hearken back not only to his own earlier work, but to the efforts of historical explorers, who, with their discoveries, often brought the rape of the land and the creatures inhabiting it. In context of his new work, Glier might be best presented as the anti-Christopher Columbus.

"One of the traditional expectations of men is to march forward," said Glier, "and have a very specific agenda and be very forceful, maybe not very emotional but very directed. I think the new work is more about suggesting a role for men that's about being much more responsive, about being much more aware of the context and reactive to the context rather than forcing something upon it."

City receives $40K grant for arts resource center

North Adams Transcript: NORTH ADAMS - As Berkshire County grows as a tourist destination and cultural hub, the Massachusetts Cultural Council is helping the region connect artists, scholars and arts-related entrepreneurs with its cultural institutions.
The council awarded two $40,000 grants Friday afternoon at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Both the city of North Adams and the city of Pittsfield received grants to solidify the relationships between public higher education institutions, museums and other art venues in their respective cities. This is the second year Pittsfield has received a grant for its cultural council.

"It's very exciting for me to be here in Berkshire County, when there is a cooperation and collaboration on a countywide scale, which is forming a national brand. When I travel, I talk about North Adams. I talk about how the city is proof that arts and culture can be an economic development tool," said Daniel R. Hunter, president of Massachusetts Advocates for the Arts, Science and Humanities.

The city's grant is for the creation of an arts resource center in collaboration with Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

"The creation of the center is important as we continue to try to grow the (arts and cultural) economy. This will support an emerging economy and certainly assist entrepreneurs," Mayor John Barrett III said. "It will also connect

MCLA to Mass MoCA and the downtown."
Rod Bunt of the Mayor's Office of Tourism and Cultural Development, said the grant will be used to put together a cultural brochure, along with the development of a Web site of cultural attractions, and create an increased presence at the college's Gallery 51 on Main Street, where the center will be based.

"Gallery 51 is a great success. This is just another way for us to link all of our resources together," Barrett said.
State Sen. Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., D-Pittsfield, said the cultural council grants acknowledge the county's embrace of arts as the new economic development catalyst.

"The era of General Electric and Sprague Electric is over. The area as a whole is looking at this new creative economy and taking it into account," he said.
State Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams, said the county is now the fourth largest tourist destination in the country, with a growing variety of cultural options that include museums and several varieties of theater.

"We need to nurture this precious thing we have. It's not the big things that matter, it's the little things," he said.
"These might not be big grants, but it's amazing how the institutions in this area can stretch those dollars," said state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox.
He said the county's attitude toward tourists has drastically changed over the years, now embracing the new economy.

"I remember growing up and everyone was happy to see the tourists come (to Tanglewood) on July 4, but we couldn't wait until they left on Labor Day," Pignatelli said.

A member of the Joint Committee of Cultural Development, Pignatelli said he learned one important thing about the area's cultural growth during a recent state-wide listening tour of the group.

"Compared to the rest of the state, Berkshire County really has its act together," he said.

Inuit Sculpture at Harrison Gallery in Williamstown

North Adams Transcript: WILLIAMSTOWN -The Harrison Gallery, 39 Spring St., will showcase stone sculptures from various Inuit artists of the North Canadian province of Nunavut through March 17, with a free gallery talk and reception with Inuit sculpture specialist Marc Schepens of the Pucker Gallery Sunday, Feb. 19, at 1 p.m.

The show features the work of two major stone-carving enclaves on the Hudson Bay: the smooth-surfaced, lively animals and drummers of South Baffin Island on the northeast bank of the bay and the spiritual, abstracted characters of the Keewatin Region on the northwest side of the bay. Among the carvings are the works of major Inuit carving families, including Segova pieces from

The gallery's selection highlights the color and material variety of Nunavut stone. Most of the artists engage in some form of direct stone carving, which involves an assortment of hand-held and power tools. The process of working the stone is highly stylized, however, and different artists are partial to particular tools and types of stone. The tradition of Inuit stone carving is a direct descendent of the magico-religious carving of the ancient Eskimo cultures in northern Canada. A secular strain of this custom developed in the nineteenth century, and Canadian cooperatives have supported this artwork and helped to distribute the work to southern Canada and the rest of the world.
Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 to 5:30, and Sunday, 11 to 4. Information: 413-458-1700 or