There’s a lot on view at Berkshire art museums and galleries in 2019! As we slide into the high season, highlights include new exhibitions featuring the works of Renoir, Janet Cardiff, Annie Lennox, Cauleen Smith, and a fresh perspective on political and social activism in 1969. Here’s a look at where to catch it all!
MASS MoCA in North Adams celebrates its 20th year with new installations by multidisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith and singer-songwriter Annie Lennox unveiled May 25. The expansive 19th-century mill complex is also home to other new and long-term music, sound, art, and sculpture installations and music and dance performances throughout the season. A craft brew pub and barbecue restaurant serving up the tastes of the Berkshires are now open in the museum’s front courtyard, with seating available outdoors.
Over in Williamstown, The Clark celebrates the centennial of Renoir’s death with Renoir: The Body, the Senses—a seldom-seen focus on the painter’s nude subjects (June 8-Sept 22). Also opening are Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet (June 8-Sept 22), Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow (July 4-Oct 6), and Art’s Biggest Stage: Collecting the Venice Biennale, 2007-2019 (July 4-Oct 14). In addition to strolling the galleries at The Clark, be sure to allow time for exploring the museum’s bucolic campus, with its reflecting pools on the back terrace and marked hiking trails leading to views of the Northern Berkshires, New York, and Vermont.
In the Southern Berkshires, the Norman Rockwell Museum presents Woodstock to the Moon: 1969 Illustrated (June 8-Oct 27), a look back at art and activism in a changing world when the Vietnam War and its protests, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Freedom Movement, a manned lunar landing, and a three-day music festival on a farm in Bethel, New York, made headlines. 1969 was also the year the museum opened its doors at its first location at The Old Corner House on Main Street in Stockbridge. Other exhibitions opening during the museum’s 50th-year celebration include Norman Rockwell: Private Moments for the Masses (June 8-Oct 27) and Inspired: Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson (June 8-Oct 27).
There’s more to delight every audience! Williams College Museum of Art’s Summer Space, The Berkshire Museum, The Bennington Museum, The Eric Carle Museum, and independent galleries such as The Eclipse Mill, Schantz Galleries, and Greylock Gallery showcase the work of local and world-renowned artists in a variety of genres as well as interesting artifacts—often in unique settings, such as the marble-quarry-turned-art-space at TurnPark sculpture park in West Stockbridge. Several venues offer educational exhibits and art making spaces to engage children and families as well.
Wherever you wander in the Berkshires’ arts scene, be prepared for inspiration, contemplation, and relaxation with beautiful natural landscapes as a backdrop! Watch for updates about upcoming art openings and open-studio events throughout the season and the year here at berkshires.org.
Image credits (top to bottom):
Cauleen Smith, The Hold, 2017, multi-channel video, video projectors, stereo speakers, CCTV cameras, camera tripods, furniture, figurines. Courtesy of the artist; Kate Werble, New York; and Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French, 1841-1919), Seated Bather, c. 1883-84, Oil on canvas, 47 1/8 × 36 5/8 in. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum Bequest from the collection of Maurice Wertheim, class of 1906.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), The Final Impossibility: Man’s Tracks on the Moon (Two Men on the Moon), 1969. Oil on canvas, 42½” x 61½”. Story illustration for Look, December 30, 1969. Collection of the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency.
Nancy Macy is a freelance writer and editor based in the Berkshires.