Willard Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. From 1984 until 2016, he was also the editor in chief of Southwest Review. He has written many books and essays about English and American poetry. For more than a quarter century he has been a regular contributor to the Leisure & Arts pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Drawing on more than six decades' worth of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Willard Spiegelman reflects with candid humor and sophistication on growing old.Senior Moments is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man who, despite Western cultural notions of aging as something to be denied, overcome, and resisted, has continued to relish the simplest of pleasures: reading, looking at art, talking, and indulging in occasional fits of nostalgia while also welcoming what inevitably lies ahead.

The Teaching Gallery at Hudson Valley Community College presents Floating World, an exhibition of paintings by New Lebanon artist Maggie Mailer, on view through October 22nd.

The paintings in Mailer’s Floating World are richly layered, ambiguous landscapes that bravely embody the artist’s willingness to trust her viewers. Mailer says the title refers to the “floating world” of 18th century Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, a worldview based on hedonism, pleasure and escapism. It was a world envisioned to be safe from danger, sadness or disasters, both real and imagined.

Mailer’s painting process is an intentionally unscientific combination of instinct, skill, accident and trust. Upon close inspection, any particular moment of a painting might contain layers of sheer, luscious color, references to classical masterworks, day-glow colors seemingly thrown down or scumbled, or thin layers that barely cover the canvas.

Maggie Mailer and Founding director of the Teaching Gallery Tara Fracalossi  join us. 

  Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes from the Prado is the current exhibition at The Clark in Williamstown, MA.

The exhibition features twenty-eight Old Master paintings from the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid by Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, and many others. The exhibition explores the role of the nude in European painting in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the collecting and display practices of the Spanish royalty.

We are taken on a tour of the exhibition by The Clark's Kathleen Morris, Sylvia and Leonard Marx Director of Collections and Exhibitions and curator of decorative arts; and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, interim curator of paintings and sculpture.

  By now, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard or read something about a little musical about a "ten-dollar Founding Father without a father" played or transcribed somewhere (everywhere).

Hamilton: An American Musical is ubiquitous and its reach far exceeds the confines of Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. The excitement created by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterwork bursts the fandom of the musical into a genuine interest in American History for many people.

So, if you were a museum in Albany, New York - a city where the Founding Father and first Treasury Secretary spent more than a little time -- what would you do?

If you answered put together a show about General George Washington's aide-de-camp and right-hand-man, you’d have had the same thought as The Albany Institute of History and Art.

A small exhibition exploring Alexander Hamilton’s time in Albany is currently on display. Curator, Diane Shewchuck, joins us to tell us more.

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College invites the public to its annual Frances Day, a community open house from noon to 6:00 pm Saturday, July 9, full of art, art-making, food, music, and more in honor of the museum's namesake.

Visitors can get an up-close view of what goes on behind the scenes in the Museum's Collections areas, and get a guided look at the exhibitions on view: A More Perfect Union, featuring Mel Ziegler's Flag Exchange, with flags collected from all 50 states; the photography exhibition Borrowed Light: Selections from the Jack Shear CollectionLiz Collins — Energy Field, a community lounge installation featuring a new work by artist E.V. Day; Elevator Music 30: Critter & Guitari, in which visitors can make their own music; and the student-curated exhibition According to What, which explores fact and fiction in contemporary art.

Ian Berry, is the Dayton Director of the Tang.

  The Fenimore Art Museum is currently filled with a wide-range of exciting exhibits featuring world-renowned artists such as Ansel Adams, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler among others.

The exhibitions include: Ansel Adams: Early Works (through September 18th), Traditions of Celebration and Ritual: The Thaw Collection of American Indian Art & A New York View: Country Landscapes by Robert Schneider (both through December 31st.) And Project 562: Portraits of Native America Now (through September 19th).

The summer season is highlighted by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in Bohemian Paris (which includes La Boheme costumes from The Metropolitan Opera, through September 5th), The Perfection of Harmony: The Art of James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Featuring Lithographs from the Steven Block Collection at the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (through October 2nd), Scott McKowen’s Shakespeare Illustrations (through – September 5th.)

Fenimore Art Museum curators Michelle Murdock and Chris Rossi join us this morning to tell us more.

  It is always a pleasure to welcome back our friends from the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls. This morning they join us to talk about the newly opened exhibit: Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection.

This exhibition of over 125 original drawings, sculptures, collages, and photographs traces the career of renowned artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, capturing the versatility, longevity, and international scope of the duo’s extensive career.

Tom Golden’s personal and professional relationship with the artists began in 1974, during public hearings for Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s project Running Fence. To tell us more we welcome Erin Coe - Director of The Hyde and the Museum’s new curator, Jonathan Canning.

   Since its inception in 1984, the focus of The Jack Shainman Gallery has been to exhibit, represent and champion artists from around the world, in particular artists from Africa, East Asia, and North America.

Founded by Jack Shainman and Claude Simard in Washington D. C. -- the gallery relocated to New York City occupying a space in the East Village before moving to Soho and then to its current location in Chelsea in 1997.

In 2013 the gallery added two additional exhibition spaces, one in Chelsea and the other a 30,000 square foot schoolhouse in Kinderhook, New York.

The former Martin Van Buren Elementary School has been redesigned to include a 5,000 foot exhibition space with 24-foot ceilings, accompanied by traditional gallery spaces on the second floor that have been transformed from existing classrooms. The property sits on five acres of land that provide a temporary home for outdoor sculptural and site-specific installations. Its inaugural exhibition in 2014 was work by Nick Cave.

A Change of Place: Four Solo Exhibitions will mark The School’s second anniversary when it opens this Sunday.

The School's last group show, Winter in America, included some prints from a journal from the late 1800s that was found recently in the Kinderhook Memorial Library. The library is having a reception, also on Sunday, at The Feed & Seed store from 2-6pm.

Jack Shainman joins us along with Collections Manager, Rachel Fainter.

  Five new exhibits are open at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

The new exhibits showcase the work of contemporary artists confronting well-known masterpieces from art history and self-taught artists harnessing their personal experiences with autism and other developmental disorders. They reveal one artist's quest to capture the essence of water in motion and another's desire to stimulate fleeting moments of mindfulness among drivers barreling down the highway.

Danny Lichtenfeld is the Director of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.

On Sunday, May 1st The Thomas Cole National Historic Site will unveil the inaugural art exhibition to be held in its “New Studio” building. The reconstruction of this majestic Italianate building enhances the Historic Site, home of Thomas Cole – the founder of the Hudson River School – the first major art movement of the United States.

The New Studio, built in 1846, was designed by Cole and demolished in 1973 before the historic site became a museum. The new space provides the Site with museum-quality climate-controlled space for displaying art.

  Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA is open for the with Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm, running daily, 10 am to 4 pm, through Sunday, May 8.

Home to several hundred Shakers from the 1780s to 1960, Hancock Shaker Village is now an outdoor-history museum dedicated to preserving the Shaker legacy.

Right now, the barns are full of chicks, ducklings, lambs, kids, and calves.

We went to Hancock Shaker Village earlier this week and spoke with Shawn Hartley Hancock, Director of Marketing and Communications. After oooing and awwwing at the baby animals, including two lambs born within half an hour our my arrival, we parked ourselves on one side of the round stone barn and talked about what is going on at the Village now - and about some things upcoming over the course of the summer.

  The current major exhibition at Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA is An Eye for Excellence: Twenty Years of Collecting.

Sterling and Francine Clark began collecting art strictly for pleasure, but their discernment met with international recognition when they opened the Clark Art Institute in 1955. Sixty years later, the exhibition An Eye for Excellence: Twenty Years of Collecting reveals the remarkable story of how the Clark’s collection has grown and become stronger over the past two decades through the museum’s vision and the support of its generous donors. An Eye for Excellence is on view October 25, 2015 through April 10, 2016.

We visited the museum recently and took a tour of the exhibition with Kathleen Morris, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at The Clark.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will learn about an upcoming museum exhibit: “Nuestras Abuelas de Holyoke: Empowerment and Legacy,” which is a photography and bilingual text exhibition at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The exhibit—opening on March 5th and funded by Mass Humanities—features stories of Latina grandmothers as shared by their grandchildren in Holyoke community and draws attention to issues of family, gender expectations, stories of migration, and understandings of home.

We are joined today by Penni Martorell, curator of collections at Wistariahurst Museum and Holyoke’s City Historian, and by Waleska Santiago, the guest curator at Wistariahurst who has put together the “Nuestras Abuelas” exhibit.

  On Saturday, February 27th at The Clark in Williamstown, MA noted private collector Jon Landau, art dealer Andrew Butterfield, and former Clark Senior Curator Richard Rand discuss the collection of Renaissance and nineteenth-century painting and sculpture Landau has assembled over many years.

Using this private collection as an example, the three experts consider how collectors decide where to focus their attention, how changes in the art market have affected the practice of collecting, and related topics.

American music critic, manager, and record producer Jon Landau has managed Bruce Springsteen since 1977 and was a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone in the ’60s and ’70s.

  The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY opened two new exhibitions this month, Norman Rockwell in the 1960s, and 60 from the 60s: Selections from the George Eastman Museum.

The Rockwell show features 21 illustrations and original magazine covers by Rockwell, the Eastman show features photographs – both explore the turbulent decade that marked the generational changes in America during the 1960s.

Erin Coe is the Director of The Hyde Collection.

  The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College is celebrating its Fifteenth Anniversary year with a Spring Opening Celebration on Saturday, February 6th, featuring three new exhibitions and a dialogue about the work and legacy of the artist Alma Thomas, and a concert on Thursday, February 18, featuring the acclaimed Bang on a Can All-Stars in a performance that will include a new work commissioned by Jack Shear and the Tang for the occasion.

The shows opening on 2/6 are Alma Thomas, Borrowed Light: Selections from the Jack Shear Gift, and Elevator Music 30: Critter & Guitari.

Ian Berry is the Dayton Director at The Tang and he joins us now. 

Early 2016 At MASS MoCA

Jan 13, 2016

  We feel very lucky to have MASS MoCA in our region and to have such a good relationship with the incredible visual and live arts presentation venue. 

MASS MoCA's Managing Director of Performing Arts,  Sue Killam, and Director of Communications, Jodi Joseph join us with a preview of upcoming exhibitions, concerts, residencies, and more.

  In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of The Four Freedoms, Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA will present an afternoon talk and performance tomorrow, January 6th that pays tribute to President Roosevelt’s speech and Rockwell’s paintings, which are on view and part of the Museum’s permanent collection.

Starting at 1PM, members of the Berkshire Music School will have a performance of patriotic music from the World War II era. Following the music, the Museum’s Curator of Education Tom Daly will offer historical insight into both Roosevelt’s words and Rockwell’s paintings. 

  Video games have come a long way since Pong; the video game is an artistic medium all its own now. The current exhibition at The Opalka Gallery at Sage College From Concept to Console looks at art in video games, pulling back the curtain to reveal the process of how it is conceived and created. It’s an examination of the creativity, diversity, and wide range of artistry that spans many disciplines in a medium that is, in some ways, still in its infancy.

There is a curator tour at the gallery this Friday at 5:30 p.m. but we get to give you a little preview now. Curators Elizabeth Greenberg and Edward Ticson join us.

Audrey Flack

 Audrey Flack: Heroines is currently on view in the Hoopes Gallery at The Hyde Collection in Glens Fall, NY. This exhibition, organized by the Lafayette College Art Galleries in Easton, Pennsylvania, is on view at The Hyde January 3, 2016.

The show features artist Audrey Flack, a pioneer in Photorealism, and a nationally recognized painter, printmaker, and sculptor. The subjects of the drawings and prints on view highlight women neglected or demonized by history.

We are joined now by Erin Coe, Director of The Hyde, and Audrey Flack.

  Each region of the country has its own distinctive history and culture that set it apart from others. The Capital Region of New York—consisting of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Saratoga Counties— is no different.

Last month, The Albany Institute of History and Art opened an exhibition celebrating the heritage of this area. The Capital Region in 50 Objects will be on view through April 3rd.

The exhibition was planned in partnership with the Times Union and was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional funding was provided by the New York Council for the Humanities and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.

The Albany Institute of History and Art is just down the road from our studio in Albany. I went there to talk about the exhibition with Chief Curator Doug McCombs and Curator Diane Shewchuk.

James Wellman on Flickr

  The Springfield Museums, located in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, is comprised of five world-class museums; the Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Springfield Science Museum, and the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History.

The Museums Association is proud to be home to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, a series of full–scale bronze sculptures of Dr. Seuss's whimsical creations, honoring the birthplace of Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss.

Heather Haskell - Director of the Springfield Art Museums and Collections joins us this morning to discuss highlights from two of those those museums – The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum and D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts.

  The exhibit - Monet to Matisse at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica features more than 60 paintings and pastel drawings from the renowned collection of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee.

The exhibition includes landscapes, portraits, interiors, and still-lifes by leaders of French Impressionism. Monet to Matisse is an expansive view of nineteenth-century French painting and its influences. It is a story of artistic freedom and the shift from stilted academic historicism to near abstraction.

The exhibit runs through November 29th. Anna D'Ambrosio, Director of the MWPAI Museum of Art joins us.

  Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist's Mother) by James McNeill Whistler is one of the most renowned works of art by an American artist. It is considered by many to be the most important American painting not on American soil.

Better known as Whistler’s Mother, the painting has been owned by the French state since 1891 and is in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, presents the painting as the centerpiece of an exhibition on view at the Lunder Center at Stone Hill through September 27th.

Jay Clark, The Clark’s Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs takes us on a tour of the exhibition.

  This week, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College announced a new upcoming exhibition entitled Dismantling The House, which opens Friday, August 21, and runs through October 18.

Ian Berry is the Director of The Tang and joins us now to tell us more about that and to fill us in on all other things Tang – including their UpBeat on the Roof summer concert series.

  Yesterday marked the 125th anniversary of the death of artist Vincent van Gogh.

For van Gogh, nature was the defining subject of his art. Over the course of his short but intense working life, Van Gogh studied and depicted nature in all its forms and there is a fantastic and extensive exhibition of this work at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown Massachusetts through September 13th.

The exhibition is curated by Richard Kendall - our guide on this audio tour.

  Charles Burchifeld is best known today for his fantastic watercolor landscapes, but from November 1921 to August 1929, he worked at the M. H. Birge & Sons Company, eventually becoming one of their best wallpaper designers.

His designs were so highly regarded that they printed his name in the selvage. He based many of his early designs on watercolors he had produced in Salem, Ohio. Later designs were either company determined variations on traditional themes, or imaginative designs based on his special view of nature.

The new exhibit - Surrounded: Sampling Burchfield's Wallpaper – at The Arkell Museum at Canajoharie highlights works from the collection including color variations of wallpapers produced with rollers, original painted designs for wallpapers and coordinating fabrics.

We welcome Museum Director Diane Forsberg and Steve Larson co-owner of Adelphi Paper Hangings who will talk about the tour of his company scheduled for July 25th.

  Two iconic American artists, Andy Warhol and Winslow Homer, are featured in major exhibitions at The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY this summer.

The Late Drawings of Andy Warhol: 1973-1987 features 50 drawings, some of which are on view to the public for the very first time. This exhibition has been organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Homer’s America: Selections from the Permanent Collection presents approximately two dozen works, including engravings, etchings and paintings that chronicle American life.

Both exhibits opened on June 21 and will be on view into September. Our friend Erin Coe is the Director of The Hyde and she joins us now.

Courtesy Norman Rockwell Museum

  Roz Chast has loved to draw cartoons since she was a child growing up in Brooklyn and began selling cartoons to The New Yorker as soon as she submitted them in 1978. Her cartoons have also been published in many other magazines, she has illustrated several books and won many awards for her work.

In her first memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Chast brought her signature wit to the topic of aging parents.

The memoir and her other work is currently featured in an exhibition at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.


   The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College will hold their annual Frances Day, a community open house from noon to 5 - Saturday, July 11th - full of art, art-making, food, music, and fun in honor of the museum's namesake.

Frances Young Tang was a wife, mother, and 1961 Skidmore College graduate who died in 1992. In her memory, the Tang family made a substantial donation that led to the Tang Teaching Museum becoming a reality. The museum opened in 2000. Frances Day honors Frances Young Tang's legacy of creativity and philanthropy with a day of free activities for art-lovers of all ages.

To tell us more about Frances Day, we welcome - Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum; Ginger Ertz, Museum Educator for K-12 and Community Programs; and the Museum Educator for College and Public Programs, Megan Hyde.