A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including Gaga at the Pillow; Beethoven and Brahms at Tanglewood; Dvorak at Bard; gospel and blues at PS21; abstract art at the Clark; and a whole lot more.
(BECKET, Mass.) – AteNine, the Los Angeles-based dance company led by Israeli choreographer Danielle Agami, is in residence in the Doris Duke Theatre at Jacob’s Pillow from Wednesday, July 26, through Sunday, July 30, in a program including a collaboration with percussionist-composer Glenn Kotche of Wilco. Agami, named “choreography’s ‘It’ girl” by the Los Angeles Times, is a former dancer and rehearsal director with the world-renowned Batsheva Dance Company, based in Tel Aviv.
Danielle Agami draws from her background in Gaga movement practice to create bold, innovative work. The Jacob’s Pillow program will include two works: Exhibit b and excerpts from vickie.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – For the 16th summer in a row, new music collective Bang on a Can takes up residence at MASS MoCA for its summer music festival and institute, from Wednesday, July 19, through Saturday, August 5. Festival highlights include a preview performance of the Bang on a Can All-Stars’ Road Trip on Saturday, July 29. A brand-new, evening-length work composed by Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, Road Trip commemorates their 30-year collaborative journey together since founding Bang on a Can in 1987. Road Trip is a staged performance directed by Michael Counts with rock show lighting and projections designed by CandyStations. Earlier that same day, Bang on a Can celebrates the late Pauline Oliveros with a tribute concert.
On Sunday, July 30, Mark Stewart and festival fellows perform on the spectacular original instruments of Gunnar Schonbeck, and on Monday, July 31, over 40 young composers and performers from around the world debut nine new works written especially for the festival at the World Premiere Composer Concert.
(LENOX, Mass.) – “Weathered to Perfection,” a new exhibition of photographs by Scott Barrow, goes on view at Scott Barrow Photography Gallery on Friday, July 28, with an opening reception from 5 to 8pm. The exhibit remains on view through August 18.
“Weathered to Perfection” reveals the efforts of time, with seasons of wind, rain, and sun on what was — once — shiny and new, made by human hands, and longed for by human hearts, transformed into the subtle beauty that only age can bestow.
Some see junkyards and a blemished landscape; Barrow sees mysterious fields of former power houses: well-used, well-loved icons of transportation, vehicles waiting patiently to have their acquired patina rediscovered. Fantastic with rust and peeling paint, metal takes on the colorful iridescence of a fine silk. Hood ornaments gleam even as their chrome plating fails. On city walls and at amusement parks and zoos that stand long beyond their popularity, fading paint reveals a visual history of heart-stopping rides, ice cream parlors and drinking Coca-Cola. Now, weathered to perfection, they are new again.
(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Legendary slide guitarist Rory Block curates and headlines a three-day festival of blues and gospel music at PS21 and other venues in Chatham, where Block has long hung her own hat. Rory Block’s Gospel & Blues Fest Weekend features Block with acclaimed lap-steel guitarist Cindy Cashdollar, performing as the Sisters of Slide, at PS21 on Saturday, July 29, at 8pm.
The festival also includes performances by the sacred-steel outfit the Campbell Brothers at PS21 on Friday, July 28, at 8pm; and A Gospel Choir Fest, featuring four gospel choirs from area churches, at Payne AME Church, on Sunday, July 30, at 2pm.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Singer-songwriter Jen Chapin brings her unique style of soulful, jazzy “urban folk” to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, August 13, at 7pm, as part of the Rogovoy Salon, a new music and literary series curated and hosted by cultural journalist and music critic Seth Rogovoy.
Chapin, who performed several memorable concerts in the original Club Helsinki listening room in Great Barrington, Mass., has been celebrated for writing “brilliant soulfully poetic urban folk music” (NPR) for well over a decade, beginning with her stunning debut album, “Open Wide,” in 2002, followed up by “Linger” in 2004, which featured such sensual numbers as “Good at Love” and “Little Hours” alongside her sociopolitically charged “Passive People” and her poignant 9/11 eulogy, “Hurry Up Sky.” The song “Let It Show” on 2006’s “Ready” was one of her first songs dealing with the responsibilities of parenthood, while the title track once again was a sultry, bedroom number.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The first fully staged American production of Antonin Dvorak’s 1882 grand opera Dimitrij opens at Bard SummerScape on Friday, July 28, and runs for two weekends, through August 6. The new production, performed in Czech with English supertitles, has been created expressly for SummerScape 2017 by Bard alumna Anne Bogart, co-founder of the acclaimed SITI Company.
Starring tenor Clay Hilleyy, winner of the New York Wagner Society’s Robert Lauch Award, with music director Leon Botstein leading the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bard Festival Chorale under James Bagwell, Dmitrij’s five performances take place in Bard’s Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center (July 28, 30; August 2, 4, 6), with an Opera Talk, free and open to the public, before the matinee on July 30.
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – James Warhola will share family stories and discuss his own work as an award-winning illustrator at the Norman Rockwell Museum on Thursday, July 27, at 5:30pm, in conjunction with the new exhibition, James Warhola: Uncle Andy and Other Stories.
Warhola was influenced as a child by his artistic family — especially his famous uncle, Andy Warhol. Warhola will share stories of his family visits with the legendary artist and his mother and discuss his own journey as an illustrator of picture books, science fiction subjects, and popular periodicals, including Mad magazine.
(LENOX, Mass.) – An all-star cast of soloists, including Yefim Bronfman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard join the Boston Symphony Orchestra to perform works by Brahms, Beethoven, and Ravel, respectively, this weekend at Tanglewood.
Conductor Charles Dutoit leads the BSO on Friday, July 28, at 8 p.m., in the first of two weekend programs. Soloist Yefim Bronfman joins Dutoit and the orchestra for Brahms’s sweeping Piano Concerto No. 2, a prototypically Brahmsian work in its combination of formal mastery and expressive ingenuity, as well as typically monumental in scale and scope, stretching to almost an hour and requiring four movements instead of the usual three. The BSO opens the program with the Overture to Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus, and Dutoit also leads the orchestra in Dvorak’s New World Symphony, a landmark work in the composer’s catalogue and one which is imbued with the spirit of the music Dvorak encountered during his time in the United States.
For the second of his BSO programs, Saturday, July 29, at 8 p.m., Dutoit welcomes French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard for Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the left hand, a piece written in 1929 and 1930 for Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm during World War I. Dutoit also leads the BSO in Stravinsky’s Chant funèbre — an early work that was lost after its premiere in 1909 and only resurfaced in 2015 — and Berlioz’s monumental Te Deum, one of the composer’s several great compositions for massive orchestra and chorus, featuring tenor Paul Groves and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
Beloved violinist Pinchas Zukerman returns to Tanglewood on Sunday, July 30, at 2:30 p.m., for a performance of Beethoven’s lyrical Violin Concerto, a staple of the repertoire, with the BSO and English conductor Bramwell Tovey. Tovey and the BSO are then joined by bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green — who recently received widespread acclaim for performances at the Metropolitan Opera — and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus for the brilliant English composer William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. An incredibly ambitious oratorio for a large-scale orchestra including two brass bands along with the baritone soloist and chorus, Walton’s 1931 work is one of the composer’s most celebrated compositions.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Grammy Award-nominated jump-blues outfit Roomful of Blues headlines Berkshire Blues Bash, a daylong blues-fest at Ski Butternut on Saturday, July 29, from 3 to 8pm, which also includes performances by swamp-blues vocalist/guitarist Walter Parks and Boston-based blues-rock quartet Grits and Groceries Orchestra.
Roomful of Blues is known as one of the tightest blues ensembles and over four decades has earned five Grammy Award nominations and seven Blues Music Awards.
(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.”
(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.
(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.