A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshire region, including a six-hour marathon of avant-garde music; a Dvorak opera at Bard; abstract art at the Clark; a Grammy Award-winner at Club Helsinki Hudson, and a whole lot more.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – New music collective Bang on a Can concludes its annual three-week residency at MASS MoCA with its six-hour Bang on a Can Summer Marathon on Saturday, August 5, from 4-10pm. The eclectic program, performed by members of Bang on a Can All-Stars, guest artists, faculty, and fellows, includes works from Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Vanessa Lann, Julia Wolfe, Jeffrey Brooks, Nicole Lizée, Lois V Vierk, and György Ligeti.
(BECKET, Mass.) – Doug Varone & Dancers and Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion bring new works to Jacob’s Pillow from Wednesday, August 2 through Sunday, August 6. Varone’s 30th anniversary includes a retrospective plus recent work, with music by Chopin, Arvo Pärt, and Bang on a Can cofounder Michael Gordon; Kyle Abraham’s Dearest Home takes place in a refigured, theater-in-the-round setup in the Doris Duke Theatre.
Doug Varone premieres a new Nocturne on himself, as a compliment to his 1987 solo of the same name, as well as Boats Leaving and the company’s newest work, ReComposed.
Presented in-the-round, Kyle Abraham’s Dearest Home explores the concepts of love, longing, and loss. The audience has control over their experience with the opportunity to listen to the piece with or without music, through wireless headphones.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Grammy Award-winning folk-rock singer songwriter Marc Cohn, best known for the hit song, “Walking in Memphis,” will perform an intimate gig at Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, August 4, at 8:30pm.
Cohn’s distinctive, soulful vocals and his gift for melody have made him one of his generation’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters. The list of performers with whom he has collaborated reads like a who’s who of all-time folk-rock greats, including Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, Suzanne Vega, Jimmy Webb, Roseanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Aimee Mann, India.Arie, and Patty Griffin.
(ANCRAM, N.Y.) – Maria-Christina Oliveras stars in the Obie Award-winning play “We’re Gonna Die” by Young Jean Lee at Ancram Opera House on Friday-Saturday, August 4-5, and again on Friday-Saturday, August 11-12. All shows are at 8pm.
A blend of storytelling, music, and theater, “We’re Gonna Die” examines the universal experience of life’s unavoidable truths. A singer takes the stage, backed by her band, and tells slyly humorous stories about the one thing we all have in common. This play with live music boldly explores some of life’s darkest moments with humor and insight.
The Singer will be played by multi-talented actor Maria-Christina Oliveras, whose extensive theater, TV and film credits include “Taylor Mac’s 24 Hour History of Music” (St. Ann’s Warehouse); “Here Lies Love” (The Public); “Amelie” “Machinal” (Roundabout); “Law & Order: SVU” “Nurse Jackie” “Ugly Betty” “St. Vincent de Van Nuys” and “Time Out of Mind.”
(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.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Experimental photography by English artist Jeff Robb is on view in “Liminal States” at Sohn Fine Art Gallery now 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.
(ANNANDALE-on-HUDSON, N.Y.) – The first fully staged American production of Antonin Dvorak’s 1882 grand opera Dimitrij is at Bard SummerScape with performances on Wednesday, August 2; Friday, August 4; and Sunday, 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, the opera is staged in the Fisher Center at Bard.
(LENOX, Mass.) – “Weathered to Perfection,” a new exhibition of photographs by Scott Barrow, is on view at Scott Barrow Photography Gallery 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.
(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, is on view at Hancock Shaker Village, 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.