museum

Photograph of a portion of Tanja Hollander's "Are You Really My Friend?" at MASS MoCA
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  How often do you get a friend request on Facebook from someone whose name you don’t recognize? You have mutual friends. You check those names -- and then you aren’t sure exactly who some of those people are either - or how you know them. Imagine telling someone 15 years ago that you have friends you don’t know -- and not in that “a stranger is a just a friend you haven’t met yet” optimistic way.

Tanja Hollander’s new exhibition Are You Really My Friend? is currently on view at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. The show explores, through portraits and paraphernalia, what friendship means to Tanja and what friendship means today - in the age of social media and easy surface relationships. She set out to connect with and photograph her 626 Facebook friends.

I spoke with Tanja and curator Denise Markonish at the museum recently and began by asking Tanja when and where she had the idea for the project.

  In Identity Unknown, Donna Seaman brings to life seven forgotten female artists, among the best of their day: Gertrude Abercrombie, with her dark, surreal paintings and friendships with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins; Bay Area self-portraitist Joan Brown; Ree Morton, with her witty, oddly beautiful constructions; Loïs Mailou Jones of the Harlem Renaissance; Lenore Tawney, who combined weaving and sculpture when art and craft were considered mutually exclusive; Christina Ramberg, whose unsettling works drew on pop culture and advertising; and Louise Nevelson, an art-world superstar in her heyday but omitted from recent surveys of her era.

Donna Seaman is Editor, Adult Books, Booklist, a member of the advisory council for the American Writers Museum, and a recipient of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism and the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. 

She will be at Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck on Saturday, February 25.

 Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection is the first exhibition at the Clark to focus on the Institute’s permanent collection of Japanese prints. The exhibition spans more than a century of Japanese color woodblock printing as represented by three generations of artists who produced prints from the 1830s to the 1970s.

We went to The Clark in Williamstown recently to check out the exhibition with Jay A. Clarke, the Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the museum.

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.

Kenneth Clark's thirteen-part 1969 television series, Civilisation, established him as a globally admired figure. Clark was prescient in making this series: the upheavals of the century, the Cold War among others, convinced him of the power of barbarism and the fragility of culture. He would burnish his image with two memoirs that artfully omitted the more complicated details of his life.

Now, drawing on a vast, previously unseen archive, James Stourton reveals the formidable intellect and the private man behind the figure who effortlessly dominated the art world for more than half a century: his privileged upbringing, his interest in art history beginning at Oxford, his remarkable early successes.

At 27 he was keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean in Oxford and at 29, the youngest director of The National Gallery. During the war he arranged for its entire collection to be hidden in slate mines in Wales and organized packed concerts of classical music at the Gallery to keep up the spirits of Londoners during the bombing. WWII helped shape his belief that art should be brought to the widest audience, a social and moral position that would inform the rest of his career.

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 Hanna-Barbera imprint. Creating scores of popular series such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo, Super Friends, and The Smurfs, Hanna-Barbera was an animation powerhouse.

Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning is the first museum exhibition on the world’s most successful animation partnership. It opens tomorrow at the Norman Rockwell Museum and runs through May 29th.

Shawn Stone, Digital Editor of The Alt (launching 11/15), joins us to talk about what he's seen lately and what cultural events are coming up this week in our region.

The Tang Teaching Museum on the campus of Skidmore College in Saratoga will be having an Election Night Extravaganza - a full evening of dialogue, activities, and refreshments with live coverage of the voting results. 

The event is co-sponsored by Skidmore College clubs Democracy Matters, College Republicans, and College Democrats. This event is part of the exhibition A More Perfect Union and is free and open to the public which runs from 7 pm to midnight.

To tell us more – we welcome Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, and curator of A More Perfect Union. Minita Sanghvi, an assistant professor in Management and Business at Skidmore College who specializes in political marketing and issues of gender and power. And Ron Seyb is here, an associate professor of political science, who specializes in the American presidency, the U.S. Congress, political psychology, and the media and politics.

Capital region resident Patrick Harbron began his career photographing the luminaries of rock and roll. Rock and Roll Icons: Photographs by Patrick Harbron is an exhibition at the Albany Institute of History & Art taken from Harbron’s body of concert and portrait photography of influential musicians and groups of the 1970’s and 1980’s, captured at pivotal moments in their careers.

The exhibition features many photographs that have never been published or exhibited. Harbron photographed artists such as Blondie, Rush, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Elvis Costello early in their careers. He followed these artists to prominence and others that were already well known including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Queen, The Who, Genesis, KISS, U2, Aerosmith, and Prince.

The exhibition will include Harbron’s collection of posters and ephemera gathered throughout his career along with guitars borrowed from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The exhibit runs from November 5th through February 12th. 


  Nick Cave is an American fabric sculptor, dancer, and performance artist. He is best known for his Soundsuits: wearable fabric sculptures that are bright, whimsical, and otherworldly.

In his new work, “Until,” Cave uses MASS MoCA’s football field-sized space to create his largest installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects and millions of beads, which will make viewers feel as if they have entered a sensory tapestry, like stepping directly inside the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits.

For the piece Nick Cave and his curators and assistants have gathered 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 1 crocodile; 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys -- and so much more.

We visited MASS MoCA during the installation of “Until” - which opened on October 15th and will be on view in North Adams, MA through early September of next year.

Nick Cave and curator Denise Markonish lead us through the exhibition.

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.

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