(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Berkshire Bach will offer a triple-play of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos as well as works by Vivaldi and Handel in concerts in Northampton, Great Barrington and Troy, N.Y., on December 30 and 31, 2012, and January 1, 2013, respectively. On the program will be Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto for two horns, two oboes and solo violin; the ever-popular Bach Double Concerto for Violin and Oboe in a new reconstruction by Kenneth Cooper, and the Harpsichord Concerto No. 15 in D minor by Handel (stolen largely from Telemann) with a special cadenza by harpsichordist Cooper. The program will be rounded out by Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti Nos. 2 and 3, the latter in Berkshire Bach’s own version with lots of winds, an idea that originated with Bach himself. Guest artist will be violinist Joseph Silverstein, and among the many soloists will be Eugene Drucker.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – If anyone knows how to get a crowd up and dancing through the change of the calendar, it’s Glen David Andrews, a true prince of New Orleans, whose hard-rocking style of New Orleans jazz, funk, gospel, and party music will ring out the old and ring in the new at Club Helsinki Hudson on Monday, December 31, 2012, beginning at 9pm. Andrews combines a voice and stage presence worthy of Louis Armstrong, updated for the hip-hop era. The club’s kitchen will be preparing a special New Orleans menu by its chef, Hugh Horner, himself an emigre from Treme.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Wink: Pairings from the Berkshire Museum’s Collections, on display at the Berkshire Museum through early spring, is the interpretive brainchild of guest artist/curator Maggie Mailer, who chose to bring pairs of artworks – paintings, photography, and prints from the Berkshire Museum’s permanent collection – together in ways that illuminate surprising shared elements found in common between two works of art. The intention of the show is to encourage viewers to develop the habit of looking for connections in unexpected places, both in the world of art, and in everyday life.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass..) — A painting is a three-dimensional object, but often visitors to art museums are only privy to one aspect, and thus are deprived of the whole story the artwork can tell. In the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Backstories: The Other Side of Art, the hidden aspects of works of art are exposed, revealing when and how they were made, how they have been cared for by collectors, and the many changes they have undergone. Spanning five centuries, the exhibition includes paintings, works on paper, sculpture, silver, and porcelain. Most of the objects in the exhibition will be displayed on pedestals, allowing visitors to view them from all sides. Special inscriptions and other details that may have gone unnoticed in a typical exhibition setting will be highlighted. Backstories is on view at The Clark from Saturday, December 22, 2012 through April 21, 2013.
XU BING: PHOENIX, FEATURING MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE, at MASS MOCA
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Phoenix Project, two spectacular and massive birds fabricated with construction and demolition debris from Beijing, will be shown in their premiere exhibition outside China as the dramatic centerpiece of a major exhibition of Xu Bing‘s work on view in MASS MoCA‘s signature space — Building 5 — from December 22, 2012, through October 31, 2013. Installed in the 300-foot main gallery, the two great phoenixes — each nearly 100 feet long and weighing nearly 20 tons in all — were inspired by the artist’s observations of the dramatic changes in Chinese society upon his return from a long stay in the United States. The multitude of glass skyscrapers rising in the major urban centers was a potent symbol of China’s rapid accumulation of wealth and its astounding new development. Xu spent two years creating the mammoth birds, collecting and purchasing materials from construction sites in Beijing between 2008 and 2010.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Shakespeare & Company’s annual – and final – run of David Sedaris’ irreverent Christmas memoir, The Santaland Diaries, continues through Sunday, December 30, 2012, in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre. This year, longtime company member David Joseph Hansen plays Sedaris’s less-than-merry autobiographical self, Crumpet the Elf. Once again, artistic director Tony Simotes directs. The Santaland Diaries is the occasionally subversive, alarmingly clever, engagingly poignant, and rib-tickling account of David Sedaris’s time as a Christmas elf in the famous Macy’s Santaland. The essay on which the play is based propelled Sedaris into the national spotlight when it was first published and is now a modern holiday classic.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) — Acclaimed comic book artist Alex Ross, whose work has appeared in print, on film, on album covers and in video games, is the subject of a retrospective exhibition opening at the Norman Rockwell Museum running through February 24, 2013. The show, Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross, will present a comprehensive look at the career of the artist who has been called “the Norman Rockwell of the comics world.” Organized by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., the exhibition features more than 130 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures from Ross’ personal collection.