A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including Israeli dance at Jacob’s Pillow; bebop at The Mount; politics and paranoia at Shaker Village; the world’s greatest klezmer fiddler; abstract art at the Clark; and a whole lot more.
(AMHERST, Mass.) – Andy Statman, widely regarded as the world’s greatest klezmer clarinetist and the individual perhaps most solely responsible for the klezmer revival, and Alicia Svigals, a cofounder of the Klezmatics, widely regarded as the world’s great klezmer fiddler, will make their Yidstock debuts this summer during the sixth annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, running at the Yiddish Book Center from Thursday, July 13, through Sunday, July 16.
Returning stars of Yidstock include Eleanor Reissa, Hankus Netsky, Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics, Lauren Brody, and Steve Weintraub – the Pied Piper of Yiddish dance. Yidstock will also feature a rare staging of the multimedia folk oratorio “A Night at the Old Marketplace,” created and directed by Alexandra Aron, composed by Frank London, written by Glen Berger, featuring vocalist Lorin Sklamberg, and based on the groundbreaking 1907 modernist play of the same name by I.L. Peretz, regarded as the father of Yiddish literature.
(BECKET, Mass.) – The venerable Paul Taylor Dance Company and the new and exciting Israeli ensemble Roy Assaf Dance are in residence at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival from Wednesday, July 12, through Sunday, July 16.
Paul Taylor Dance Company is making its first appearance at Jacob’s Pillow in ten years. Its program in the Ted Shawn Theatre will feature a roster of classic works, including Airs, Syzygy, and the exuberant and romantic Esplanade, set to two Johann Sebastian Bach concertos.
Israeli ensemble Roy Assaf Dance makes its U.S. debut with this week’s residency in the Doris Duke Theatre. The program opens with Roy Assaf’s embracing duet Six Years Later, which traces the course of a relationship over six turbulent years. The dance, which includes music by Beethoven and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, was awarded first prize in choreography at the 5th International Choreography Competition in Copenhagen. Assaf’s program closes with his all-male trio dance, The Hill, inspired by veterans’ experiences and based on the Hebrew song “Givat HaTachmoshet.”
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Wooster Group, the critically acclaimed experimental theater company, stages a world premiere of A PINK CHAIR (IN PLACE OF A FAKE ANTIQUE), an homage to the late visionary Polish artist and director Tadeusz Kantor, in the Fisher Center at Bard College as part of the Bard SummerScape Festival, from Thursday, July 13, through Sunday, July 23.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Internationally acclaimed tenor saxophonist Benny Sharoni brings his quintet and his straight-ahead jazz stylings to The Mount on Friday, July 14, and Friday, August 18. Both shows are from 5pm to 8pm. The event is free and held on The Terrace.
A mainstay on the international jazz scene, Sharoni is a straight-ahead player who fuses together the classic bop influences of Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, and Steve Grossman, among others, flavored with Latin rhythms.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Edith Wharton’s writings include base stereotypes of Jewish people and her personal correspondence includes anti-Semitic sentiments. Wharton scholar Irene Goldman-Price will discuss Wharton’s seeming prejudice against Jews in “Edith Wharton’s Anti-Semitism: A Consideration” at Hevreh of Southern Berkshires on Friday, July 15, at 10:45 am, in an event cosponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires and The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home.
(HANCOCK, Mass.) – Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Stacy Schiff will discuss the intersection of politics and paranoia as part of the Food for Thought monthly dinner series at Hancock Shaker Village on Friday, July 14, at 6pm. A native of Adams, Mass., who majored in art history at Williams College, Schiff is a best-selling author whose most recent book is “The Witches: Salem 1692.” Over a farm-to-table dinner, Schiff will talk about the witch trials: what we know, what we think we know, and what we should know.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Violinist Daniel Stepner and pianist David Hyun-Su Kim will perform works by Beethoven and Mozart, including the former’s Kreutzer Sonata, at Saint James Place in Great Barrington on Saturday, July 15, at 6pm, as part of Aston Magna Music Festival.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Experimental photography by English artist Jeff Robb is on view in “Liminal States” at Sohn Fine Art Gallery from Friday, July 14, through Sunday, October 1, with a reception on Saturday, August 5, from 4 to 6pm.
Robb is best known for his lenticular photographic work focusing on the female nude and abstract forms in space, which he makes in series. Robb is regularly testing possibilities with the lenticular medium and creating new immersive experiences using three-dimensional imaging and cutting-edge technology within this and additional mediums.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Music director Andris Nelsons leads the Boston Symphony Orchestra in its second weekend at Tanglewood in perhaps the most significant concert of the season: the festival’s first-ever complete concert performance of Wagner’s epic Das Rheingold, on Saturday, July 15, at 8pm. Nelsons opens the weekend on Friday, July 14, at 8pm in a concert of works by Ravel, Adès, Haydn, and Mozart; and is joined by German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter on Sunday, July 16, at 2:30pm,for the world premiere of John Williams’s Markings, for solo violin, strings, and harp. Mutter also joins the orchestra for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, one of the repertoire’s most popular concertos for the instrument. The Emerson String Quartet is in residence at Ozawa Hall, performing works by Shostakovich and Schubert, on Wednesday, July 19, at 8pm, and Thursday, July 20, at 8pm.
(CHATHAM, N.Y. and AMHERST, Mass.) – Alicia Svigals, the greatest living exponent of klezmer violin, bookends our region with performances at PS21 in Chatham on Saturday, July 15, at 8pm, and at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst on Sunday, July 16, at 3pm, as part of the YIDSTOCK Festival of New Yiddish Music.
Svigals inaugurates the summer season at PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century, with an Opening Night Celebration featuring Alicia Svigals’ Klezmer Fiddle Express. For her PS21 performance, she will be joined by accordionist/vocalist Lauren Brody and double bassist Brian Glassman.
At YIDSTOCK, Svigals will perform in a duo format with accordionist/vocalist Lauren Brody, one of the original klezmer revivalists. Svigals will also give a lecture-demo entitled “The Mysteries of Klezmer Violin Unveiled” at YIDSTOCK on Sunday, July 16, at 4:30pm, in which she will demonstrate the unique ornaments and playing techniques that distinguish klezmer fiddle-playing and give it a singular Jewish voice.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “Learning from the Masters: The Famous Artists School,” exploring artworks and creative methods featured in that program during the 1940s and ‘50s, is on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through October 29, 2017. A special opening event on Thursday, July 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, will celebrate the exhibition and the new book “Drawing Lessons from the Famous Artists School: Classic Techniques and Expert Tips from the Golden Age of Illustration.”
(HANCOCK, Mass.) – Works by an all-star team of contemporary artists, including Gregory Crewdson, Don Gummer, Stephen Hannock, Jenny Holzer, Maya Lin, and David Teeple, go on view at Hancock Shaker Village on Saturday, July 1, in Making: Then and Now, a landmark exhibition of contemporary art that explores the connection between artists today and an historic utopian movement in the Berkshires, a place both have called home.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – No Rules: Helen Frankenthaler Woodcuts, an exhibit exploring the artist’s inventive and groundbreaking approach to the woodcut, and As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings, which focuses on nature as a long-standing inspiration for the artist, are on view at the Clark Art Institute.
The No Rules exhibition, on view through Sunday, September 24, includes 17 large-scale prints, on loan primarily from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and the Williams College Museum of Art, presenting the full range of Frankenthaler’s experimentation with the medium from the 1970s through 2000s. No Rules celebrates the pioneering spirit that expanded the possibilities of the woodcut and established Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011) as one of the medium’s great innovators.
The exhibition explores the artist’s collaborations with printers, publishers, woodcarvers, and papermakers that pushed the medium in new directions. In 1994, during an interview with printer/publisher Ken Tyler, Frankenthaler stated, “There are no rules, that is one thing I say about every medium, every picture . . . that is how art is born, that is how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules, that is what invention is about.”
As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings, which focuses on nature as a long-standing inspiration for the artist, is on view in the Lunder Center at Stone Hill from Saturday, July 1, through Monday, October 9.
The As in Nature exhibition comprises a selection of large paintings by Frankenthaler from the 1950s through the 1990s, focusing on nature as a longstanding inspiration. Like many abstract artists, Frankenthaler continually tested the constraints of the genre, at times inserting into her compositions elements of recognizable subject matter that throw the abstract elements into relief. The paintings in this exhibition represent the full range of styles and techniques that she explored over five decades of work; while all are primarily abstract, they also contain allusions to landscape, demonstrating how Frankenthaler’s delicate balance between abstraction and a nuanced responsiveness to nature and place developed and shifted over time. As Frankenthaler once commented, “Anything that has beauty and provides order (rather than chaos or shock alone), anything resolved in a picture (as in nature) gives pleasure—a sense of rightness, as in being one with nature.”
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World, a fully immersive exhibition exploring all aspects of one of the most enduring musical icons of the last 200 years, is at the Berkshire Museum, on view through Monday, September 4.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Nick Cave, the artist known for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits, turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA in “Until,” a massive immersive installation. Cave uses MASS MoCA’s signature football field-sized space to create his largest and most overtly political installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects, a rich sensory tapestry. The sheer volume of material that has been gathered is astounding — 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 13 gilded pigs; more than 10 miles of crystals; 24 chandeliers; 1 crocodile; and 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — MASS MoCA has unveiled its newly renovated campus with the opening of Building 6, the third phase of campus development that encompasses 130,000 square feet of interior renovations to the museum’s 19th-century mill buildings. The new galleries include works by Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeois, James Turrell, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson, and Gunnar Schonbeck (Bang on a Can), among others.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Works by Pablo Picasso are on view at the Clark Art Institute, along with an exhibition devoted to painter-designer Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Picasso: Encounters includes paintings and prints by the 20th century visionary and is on view through Sunday, August 27.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) — On the surface they might seem like an odd couple from two different universes, but for the first time Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol come face to face in “Inventing America: Rockwell and Warhol,” at the Norman Rockwell Museum. With 100 works of art, a selection of archival materials, and objects relating to their work and lives, the exhibition will show how both of these internationally celebrated image-makers — among America’s most important visual communicators — created enduring icons and opened new ways of seeing.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – An Inner World: 17th-Century Dutch Genre Painting is on view at the Clark Art Institute now through Sunday, September 17. The exhibit brings together paintings from the Clark and The Leiden Collection, among the largest and most important private collections of Dutch Golden Age paintings in the world. The exhibition features seven exceptional genre paintings by Dutch artists working in or near the city of Leiden in the 17th century.
An Inner World explores the work of Gerrit Dou (Dutch, 1613–1675) and his contemporaries by considering tradition and innovation in the representation of figures in interior spaces, individuals in moments of contemplation or quiet exchange, and the enduring taste among collectors for works created by fijnschilders, or fine painters.