(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The David Wax Museum brings its rootsy fusion of folk, rock, Mexican and musical curiosity to the Colonial Theatre on Friday, January 4, 2013, at 8pm. A duo, the group features singer-guitarist David Wax, who primarily plays the jarana, a Mexican instrument similar to a guitar, and fiddler-vocalist Suz Slezak, who also plays quijada, a percussion instrument made from a donkey’s jawbone.
The David Wax Museum’s eclectic sound has deep roots in Mexican and American soil. On several trips south of the border, including a yearlong Harvard fellowship, David Wax immersed himself in the country’s rich traditional music culture, son mexicano, learning from the form’s living masters. Suz Slezak was homeschooled by her father on a small farm in rural Virginia, and reared on music — old time, Irish, classical, and folk. The two met in 2007 and began blending their unique musical perspectives to form the band.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Pianist Armen Donelian will showcase his unique solo piano arrangements of selected songs of the 18th-century Armenian composer Sayat-Nova in advance of an upcoming CD release weaving Armenian, classical and jazz elements live in concert in The Songs of Sayat-Nova at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, January 5, 2013, at 8pm. Of Armenian heritage himself, the pianist – who is also a composer and who plays jazz, classical, ethnic and avant-garde music – has spent time studying music in Armenia and the greater region as a Fulbright Scholar.
Sayat-Nova (1712-1795) was born in Armenia, although he claimed Tblisi, Georgia, as his motherland. He was a self-taught troubadour singing love songs and playing the kamanche, changur and tar and a composer of hundreds of poems of the first order in six languages. He entertained the court of King Irakli II of Georgia from 1742 to 1759 when he was dismissed under clouded circumstances (most likely for professing love for the King’s sister), took holy orders and was banished to a remote monastery at Anzal (now in Iran).
(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.
(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.