A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a folk-gospel legend; modern bluegrass; indie-folk; political art; choral music; cartoon art; 17th century Dutch painting; and a whole lot more.
(NORTH ADAMS, N.Y.) – Mavis Staples, a scion of America’s first family of socially conscious soul-gospel music and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, brings her unique blend of gospel, soul, folk, pop, R&B, blues, and rock to the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA on Saturday, March 25, at 8pm.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) — Grammy Award-winning outfit Steep Canyon Rangers brings its distinctive brand of modern bluegrass to the Mahaiwe on Sunday, March 26 at 7pm. Joining them will be special guest banjoist Noam Pikelny
Perhaps best known as Steve Martin’s backup band, the Steep Canyon Rangers on their own are at the top of the contemporary bluegrass heap, headlining festivals and winning Grammy Awards for their own albums.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – Artist Setsuko Sato Winchester will discuss “The Yellow Bowl Project,” her new conceptual work exploring freedom, at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday, March 25, at 5:30pm. Ms. Winchester will be joined and interviewed during the evening by her husband, Simon Winchester, a noted author and journalist whose cogent observations on historical events have appeared in many articles and nonfiction books.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Indie-folk outfit Dana Louise and the Glorious Birds performs at the Colonial in the On the Stage series on Thursday, March 23 at 7:30pm. The group includes Ezra Idlet and Keith Grimwood of the Grammy Award-nominated band Trout Fishing in America.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) — The Cantilena Chamber Choir will showcase the music of Bach, Brahms, and other composers at Saint James Place on Sunday, March 26, at 3pm. The concert will highlight the more famous works by these two composers, comparing Bach’s compositional technique and how it influenced the work of Brahms 100 years later. This is the inaugural choral concert at the newly renovated performance venue.
On the program will be Bach’s Cantata #4 Christ Lag in Todesbanden and the double choir motet Ich lasse dich nicht and their corresponding works the Brahms motets O Heiland Reiss die Himmel auf and his Opus 29 no 1 and 2 Est ist das Heil uns Kommen her.
Also on the program is the motet Ay Que Dolor by Juan Cererols that predates the opening of the Bach St. Matthew Passion yet is strikingly similar. Rarely heard works of composers Robert Pearsall and 16th century Portuguese composer Manuel Cardosa will be included.
(WEST STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – “30under30,” a multimedia exhibition featuring works by 30 young artists hailing from or currently living in or around the Berkshires, is on view at No. Six Depot Gallery through Sunday, April 30. The exhibition is curated by Mika Mintz.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – An exhibition of hand-thrown porcelain by Berkshire-based artisan Daniel Bellow is on view in the BerkshireNow gallery space at the Berkshire Museum now through Monday, May 22. The work by the accomplished potter, remarkable for its exquisite glazes and intriguing textured surfaces.
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.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – The world premiere of “Paintings in Song — Visions of Norman Rockwell” by John Myers, a multimedia work with choruses, instrumentalists, and graphic animation, takes place at Saint James Place in Great Barrington, Mass., on Saturday, April 1, at 3 and 7pm.; and at Kent School’s Mattinson Auditorium in Kent, Conn., on Sunday, April 2, at 4pm. The production is a collaboration with Crescendo.
(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.
(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.) – 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.
(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.