A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a symphonic concert; ceramic art; sculptural art; 17th century Dutch painting; Japanese woodblock prints; new plays; Americana; and a whole lot more.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – An exhibition of hand-thrown porcelain by Berkshire-based artisan Daniel Bellow goes on view in the BerkshireNow gallery space at the Berkshire Museum on Friday, March 3, with an opening reception from 5 to 8pm, in conjunction with Pittsfield’s First Fridays Artswalk, when the BerkshireNow gallery is open to the public at no cost. The work by the accomplished potter, remarkable for its exquisite glazes and intriguing textured surfaces, remains on display through Monday, May 22.
For this solo exhibition, Bellow has created sculptural forms in porcelain and imagined a detailed scenario about their origin. According to Bellow’s backstory, scale models of rocket ships, supposedly created during the Song Dynasty in China at the command of Emperor Gaozong, have recently been discovered by archaeologists.
The unique sculptural “rocket ships” in the exhibition echo the work of the Song dynasty potters, whose smooth, dense porcelain ware was praised for its simplicity of shape and understated decoration.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Radical Small, a solo exhibition combining small sculptures and large videos by Elizabeth King, goes on view at MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 4. An opening reception takes place on Saturday, March 18.
Radical Small is Richmond, Va.-based artist Elizabeth King’s most expansive one-person exhibition to date. Utilizing one of MASS MoCA’s largest exhibition spaces on the museum’s second floor, King examines the notion of radical smallness, or what French philosopher Gaston Bachelard has called “intimate immensity.”
King combines precisely movable half-scale figurative sculptures with projections of stop-motion video animations in works that skillfully merge and confuse the boundary between actual and virtual objects. Intimate in scale — this is theater for an audience of one — and made to solicit close viewing, the work reflects her interests in early clockwork automata, the history of the mannequin, puppetry, and literature’s host of legends in which the artificial figure comes to life.
For MASS MoCA, King will test the power of small sculpture to articulate and command a large double-height gallery, staging an extended exchange of dimensionality and scale through the languages of sculpture, film, and animation. Additionally, King will use the gallery as an animation studio for the first two weeks of the exhibition, producing a new film of her sculptures at MASS MoCA.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Pianists Peter Serkin and Anna Polonsky will join forces with the Berkshire Symphony to play the Bach Double Concerto in C Minor and Double Concerto in C Major in Chapin Hall at Williams College on Friday March 3, at 8pm. The Symphony, led by Ronald Feldman, will also perform Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.” The concert is free and open to the public. Polonsky is a protégé of Serkin.
There is a pre-concert talk with conductor Ronald Feldman on Friday March 3, at 7:15pm, in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – An Inner World: 17th-Century Dutch Genre Painting, on view at the Clark Art Institute from Sunday, March 5, through Sunday, September 17, 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.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The sixth annual 10X10 New Play Festival at Barrington Stage Company takes place now through Sunday, March 5, at BSC’s newly renovated St. Germain Stage, located at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center. The event, part of the 2017 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival in Pittsfield, features ten new 10-imnute plays performed in repertory by a cast of a half-dozen professional actors, directed by BSC artistic director Julianne Boyd and Matthew Penn, co-artistic director of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab in Great Barrington.
This year’s playwrights are Suzanne Bradbeer, Marilyn Millstone, Annette Storckman, Allie Costa, James McLindon, Gwendolyn Rice, Tom Coash, Scott Mullen, Susan Middaugh, and Ann Marie Shea.
The cast of the 10X10 New Play Festival features returnees Matt Neely, Dina Thomas, and Peggy Pharr Wilson, along with newcomers Jane Pfitsch (BSC’s “His Girl Friday”), Lucky Gretzinger, and Douglas Rees.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Orchestra Now, under the baton of Zachary Schwartzmann, performs works by Tchaikovsky, Messiaen, and Glinka at Simon’s Rock of Bard College on Friday, March 3, at 7:30pm, in a free concert in the Daniel Arts Center.
The Orchestra Now will perform an overture, a symphony, and four “mediations for orchestra,” including Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4; Messiaen’s “L’Ascension”; and Glinka’s Overture from “Ruslan and Lyudmila.”
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Rhiannon Giddens – best known as the lead singer, violinist, banjo player, and cofounder of Carolina Chocolate Drops – celebrates the release of her brand-new solo album, “Freedom Highway,” with the aid of legendary Appalachian musician Dirk Powell, at Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, March 3, at 9pm.
(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Authors Susan Stessin-Cohn and Ashley Hurlburt-Biagini will read from and discuss their new book, “In Defiance: Runaways from Slavery in New York’s Hudson River Valley, 1735-1831,” at the Chatham Bookstore on Sunday, March 5, from 2 to 4pm. A conversation with Thomas Chulak from the bookstore and Q & A follow a brief reading.
The coauthors conducted extensive research into newspaper advertisements from across the Hudson River Valley in the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, “In Defiance” documents 607 fugitives from slavery through the reproduction and transcription of archival newspaper notices for runaway slaves placed by their enslavers or agents. Examples of notices are those advertising slaves captured, advertising slaves for sale, and offering to purchase slaves. Also included are a glossary, illustrations, and maps. A.J. Williams-Myers, Black Studies Department, SUNY at New Paltz, wrote the foreword.
Published by Black Dome Press, the book is “a valuable collection of fugitive slave advertisements that tells much about the lives of self-emancipated blacks in the rural North. Focusing on the Hudson River Valley, the editors uncover a persistent, local slavery, with national implications.” – G.R.G. Hodges, Colgate University.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Iconic choreographer Bill T. Jones and choreographer, writer, actress Okwui Okpokwasili will present solo works created in response to and performed within Nick Cave’s monumental exhibition “Until” at MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 4 and Friday, April 7, respectively. Both shows are at 8pm. These events are co-presentations with Jacob’s Pillow Dance. Each artist will perform a world premiere solo work in dialogue with Cave’s “Until,” taking place within the exhibit in Building 5 at MASS MoCA. (The Bill T. Jones event is already sold out.)
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning” features the work of the creative team behind such memorable Saturday morning cartoons as “The Yogi Bear Show,” “The Flintstones,” and the “The Jetsons,” on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through May 29, 2017.
Before the rise of basic cable, Saturday mornings for many children in America were spent watching cartoons on one of three available television channels. From 1958 through the 1980s, a majority of those cartoons bore the imprint of Hanna-Barbera. Creating scores of popular series such as The Yogi Bear Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera was an animation powerhouse and its bountiful creativity is beloved to this day.
(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – More than a century of Japanese printing traditions, represented by seventy-three color woodblock prints, will be presented in the Clark Art Institute exhibition Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection.
The exhibition explores the complex and changing relationship among artists, woodblock cutters, and publishers from the ukiyo-e (scenes from the floating world) tradition of the mid-19th century, the shin-hanga (new print) movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and the sosaku-hanga (creative print) movement that began in the 1950s. Japanese Impressions is on view through April 2, 2017.
(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.