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Events 09/30/2022

09/30/2022 (Friday)

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective

After nearly six months of intensive drafting and painting by a team of some sixty-five artists and art students, Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective is fully installed. The historic exhibition opens to the public at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art), in North Adams, Massachusetts, on November 16, 2008, and will remain on view for twenty-five years. Conceived by the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, in collaboration with the artist before his death in April 2007, the project has been undertaken by the Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective comprises 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings, spanning the artist’s career from 1969 to 2007. These occupy nearly an acre of specially built interior walls that have been installed—per LeWitt’s own specifications—over three stories of a historic mill building situated at the heart of MASS MoCA’s campus. The 27,000-square-foot structure, known as Building #7, has been fully restored for the exhibition by Bruner/Cott & Associates architects, which has closely integrated the building into the museum’s main circulation plan through a series of elevated walkways, a dramatic new vertical lightwell, and new stairways.

The works in the exhibition are on loan from numerous private and public collections worldwide, including the Yale University Art Gallery, to which LeWitt designated the gift of a major representation of his wall drawings, as well as his wall-drawing archive.

Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, states, “Watching this grand installation of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings progress over the past six months has been nothing short of thrilling. In addition to providing an enduring exhibition of great beauty, this retrospective will enable visitors to behold for the first time the full trajectory of a major aspect of Sol’s artistic career. Until today, the only way to view multiple LeWitt wall drawings has been to travel far and wide, pursuing them individually in situ or in temporary museum exhibitions. Now, visitors will be able to return to MASS MoCA again and again to experience this visual feast of Sol’s wall drawings in a single location, doing so at their leisure over the next twenty-five years.”

LeWitt—who stressed the idea behind his work over its execution—is widely regarded as one of the leading exponents of Minimalism and Conceptual art, and is known primarily for his deceptively simple geometric structures and architecturally scaled wall drawings. His experiments with the latter commenced in 1968 and were considered radical, in part because this new form of drawing was purposely temporal and often executed not just by LeWitt but also by other artists and students whom he invited to assist him in the installation of his artworks.

Each wall drawing begins as a set of instructions or simple diagram to be followed in executing the work. As the exhibition makes clear, these straightforward instructions yield an astonishing—and stunningly beautiful—variety of work that is at once simple and highly complex, rigorous and sensual. The drawings in the exhibition range from layers of straight lines meticulously drawn in black graphite pencil lead, to rows of delicately rendered wavy lines in colored pencil; from bold black-and-white geometric forms, to bright planes in acrylic paint arranged like the panels of a folding screen; from sensuous drawings created by dozens of layers of transparent washes, to a tangle of vibratory orange lines on a green wall, and much more. Forms may appear to be flat, to recede in space, or to project into the viewer’s space, while others meld to the structure of the wall itself.

MASS MoCA Director Joseph C. Thompson comments, “With this exhibition, Sol LeWitt has left an amazing gift for us all. Great art draws upon previous artists, but also contradicts and contravenes. And the most essential art argues for new ways of seeing, even as it is almost immediately absorbed into the work that surrounds and supersedes it. As I believe will be evident in this landmark exhibition, LeWitt’s wall drawings rise to those highest of standards. We look forward to having this amazing collection of works on long-term view as a sort of proton at the center of our museum around which our program of changing exhibitions and performances will orbit with even more energy.”

Project History

The impetus for Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective was a 2004 conversation between Reynolds and LeWitt. This evolved and resulted in a commitment by the artist to give a substantial number of his wall drawings and his entire wall-drawing archive to the Yale University Art Gallery, which already owned an extensive array of LeWitt’s art in multiple mediums. Realizing that the Gallery did not have enough space to install and maintain a large number of the artist’s wall drawings at any one time, Reynolds suggested to LeWitt that MASS MoCA, with its historic mill complex, growing audience, and history of realizing ambitious new works of art, might be able to accommodate an extended retrospective of the works.

Reynolds and LeWitt then met with Thompson, who introduced the artist to Building #7. The structure, situated at the center of MASS MoCA’s multi-building complex and featuring large banks of windows that open onto two flanking courtyards, appealed to LeWitt as an ideal site for a multi-floor installation of his work. In addition to the new interior walls, which he designed in consultation with Bruner/Cott & Associates, his specifications for the space included a plan that would leave nearly all of the existing exterior masonry walls and large windows intact, providing direct side lighting and offering beautiful views to surrounding courtyards and the Berkshire Hills beyond. Bruner/Cott integrated the galleries with MASS MoCA’s existing plan by re-activating existing elevated connector-bridges and adding new ones, and by creating a new three-story lightwell. The design thus links the building to MASS MoCA’s signature Building #5 and provides vertical circulation and handicapped access.

Retrospective Installation and Education Opportunities

“Detailed,” “painstaking,” and “strangely liberating” are terms that have been used to describe the experience of creating Sol LeWitt’s monumental wall drawings. The drawings at MASS MoCA were executed over a six-month period by a team comprising twenty-two of the senior and experienced assistants who worked with the artist over many years; thirty-three student interns from Yale University, Williams College, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and fourteen other colleges and universities; and thirteen local artists and recent graduates and post-graduates from many of the nation’s leading studio-art programs. MASS MoCA’s North Adams location, just five miles from Williams College, offers a unique educational opportunity for Williams’s undergraduates and those enrolled in its graduate art-history program at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute to participate in this special exhibition. Like Yale, Williams is among the primary training grounds for professionals in the field of art history, and the LeWitt collaboration, to be accompanied by a variety of educational programs, will offer students many opportunities to study the work of this important artist.

In conjunction with the project, the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) is creating a series of programs and shorter-term companion “teaching exhibitions” in a space at the entrance of Building #7 and at the WCMA. The first of these, The ABCDs of Sol LeWitt, opens at WCMA on November 14, 2008. It includes important works from LeWitt’s private collection that help elucidate the underlying grammar of the artist’s work and ideas.

WCMA Director Lisa Corrin says, “Our goal is to have Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective serve as an extension of the Williams campus—a classroom of sorts for our students and those from other colleges and universities. LeWitt’s art offers challenging teaching opportunities for faculty from across academic disciplines. The WCMA staff will help professors craft curricula related to the exhibition. All three of the museums partnering in the retrospective play a major role in the training and support of many of the artworld’s future leaders, and this adventurous collaboration will offer a new generation of students unprecedented firsthand exposure to the work of a major artist of our time.”

Exhibition Publication

On the occasion of Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective, MASS MoCA and Yale University Press are producing Sol LeWitt: 100 Views, a hardcover book with 100 new essays. Contributors are drawn from a wide array of expertise and fields of specialization. Authors include critics and scholars Lynne Cooke, Chrissie Iles, Lucy Lippard, Saul Ostrow, Ingrid Sischy, and Robert Storr, and visual and performing artists John Baldessari, Mel Bochner, Lucinda Childs, Chuck Close, Steve Reich, Matthew Ritchie, and Dorothea Rockburne, among many others. The publication, which includes 150 color plates, may be ordered through Hardware: The MASS MoCA Store.

Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings: A Catalogue Raisonné

In 2010, the Yale University Art Gallery and Yale University Press will co-publish Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings: A Catalogue Raisonné. The basic design for this three-volume scholarly resource, a project of the Gallery, was created by the artist during his lifetime. The book will contain descriptive texts, diagrams, installation photographs, and more for all of the 1,261 wall drawings that LeWitt realized from 1968 to 2007. A DVD illustrating both the proper uses of materials and drawing techniques to be employed in realizing LeWitt’s basic “families” of wall drawings will also be included, providing a helpful guide to their proper future installation, as well as to the drawings’ long-term care and conservation.

Conserving the Legacy of Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawings

To additionally preserve the artistic legacy of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings in perpetuity, the Yale University Art Gallery has endowed a position for a drawing conservator through the generosity of Yale alumnus Theodore P. Shen, b.a. 1966, and his wife, Mary Jo Shen. In time, this conservator will oversee the LeWitt wall-drawing archive and other works on paper at Yale and will train new assistants to install the artist’s wall-drawing collection at Yale as well as those owned by individuals and public institutions worldwide.

James Turrell- Into The Light

In James Turrell’s hands, light is more than simply a source of illumination: it is a discrete, physical object. His sculptures and architectural interventions elevate our experience and perception of light and space. Squares of sky seem to float, suspended, in ceilings or walls; architecture disintegrates; and brilliant geometric shapes levitate in midair. Turrell began using light as a sculptural medium in 1966, painting the windows of his studio in Santa Monica to seal off the natural light and experimenting with projections. His practice has been shaped by the ongoing manipulation of architecture, framing and altering the way viewers engage with the environment. A pioneer in the Southern California Light and Space movement, MASS MoCA will present a multi-decade retrospective of Turrell’s work in Building 6 — with galleries designed and constructed specially to best accentuate his installations. This exhibition will feature a major work from each decade of the artist’s career.

Gamaliel Rodrigues: La Travesia / Le Voyage

Gamaliel Rodríguez’s large-scale works on paper imagine landscapes inspired by the two-fold character of his native Puerto Rico, which the artist recently described as a mix of “beauty and chaos.” Merging industrial and natural environments, Rodríguez depicts abandoned structures surrounded by verdant greenery — which he often renders as an aerial view. Devoid of a human presence, the overgrown buildings have a dystopic yet familiar feel, prompting mis-recognitions by viewers reminded of locations in their own hometowns. Though the artist’s subjects are fictitious, they are inspired by the accumulation of manufacturing projects in Puerto Rico established and ultimately abandoned by US companies lured by tax breaks and cheap labor in the mid-20th century.

Rodríguez is currently working on a new 60-foot work on paper for MASS MoCA’s Hunter Hallway. Inspired by his experience of North Adams and its post-industrial landscape during his time in the museum’s studio residency program, Rodríguez’s drawing conflates the repurposed architecture of MASS MoCA’s large, former-factory complex with architecture of Puerto Rico and other locations from around the globe.

Using felt, acrylic, colored pencil, and ballpoint pen, Rodríguez skillfully renders his hyper-realistic landscapes in rich blues and purples that are simultaneously seductive and unsettling. Mari Rodríguez Binnie, art historian and art professor at Williams College, connected the blue ballpoint pen so prevalent in the artist’s work to its role as the quintessential bureaucractic tool. It is indeed an overwhelmed bureaucracy (and mountains of certificates and forms) often blamed for blocking local entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico, which is overly dependent on outside investment. The pen became ubiquitous in the same period during and after WWII that witnessed “Operation Bootstrap,” the government’s efforts to diversify its sugar-based economy and bring modern industry to the island.

James Turrell – Nicholas Mosse and William Burke Lapsed Quaker Ware

This series of black basalt tableware is a collaboration between James Turrell and Irish potter Nicholas Mosse of Kilkenny, Ireland. The pottery was inspired by the work of the innovative English potter, Josiah Wedgwood, who made very decorative black basalt ware for the general English market in the 18th century, and also created a simpler version for the Quakers, particularly for the American market. Turrell, who was raised a Quaker, has memories of the pottery from his grandmother’s home.

While spending time in Ireland in the 1990s, Turrell was introduced to Mosse, who like Turrell was a lapsed Quaker, and the two set out to revive the more restrained, surprisingly modern-looking Wedgwood tradition. The basalt they used to make the vessels—a volcanic rock—is sourced from Turrell’s Roden Crater, a monumental artwork located in a dormant volcanic cinder cone in Arizona’s Painted Desert region.

The pottery is presented on tables, sideboards, and cabinets designed in collaboration with furniture maker William Burke of Flagstaff, Arizona, and made in the cherry wood favored by the Quakers. The chairs by Thomas Moser are a refinement of the Quaker versions of the English Windsor chair that came to be popular in the U.S. in the late Colonial period. The black of the vessels and the red of the wood recall the hues of the cinder at the Crater where the tableware will be used by visitors.

A presentation of Lapsed Quaker Ware is also on view at Hancock Shaker Village just down the road in Pittsfield, MA.

YTO Barrada: Ways To Baffle the Wind

The exhibition of new and recent work—including sculpture, drawings, textiles, films, and works on paper—is assembled to model, parody, and learn from attempts to regulate and organize nature. Ways to Baffle the Wind is a collaboration between MASS MoCA and Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, based in New Orleans. The exhibition is guest-curated by Andrea Andersson, Founding Director and Chief Curator of the Rivers Institute.

The title of the exhibition comes from a 1952 copy of the lifestyle publication Sunset Patio Book, which included an eponymous essay outlining various ways to evade the wind, including a makeshift machine made with cotton balls and string. Ways to Baffle the Wind puts objects to work in the service of studying the natural world and how our understanding of it has been shaped by cultural phenomena and historical narratives. Barrada’s own version of the makeshift wind machine, Portrait de ma mère comme un courant d'air (2021), was commissioned for the exhibition. Through her multidisciplinary, investigative approach, the Moroccan-born Barrada unearths the subaltern histories that lie beneath both our physical and social landscapes. “I’m one of those people who can’t decide until I know all the parameters,” Barrada writes. “I am a slow learner: I hoard all this research and wait for some understanding to take shape.”


A major component of Barrada’s practice is mobilizing forms of collecting, making, and self-education to work within an interdisciplinary space marked by botany, geography, paleontology, and geopolitics. Leaf Forms (2019) and Land and Water Forms (2019)—exhibited together for the first time—are a series of works modeled after Montessori molded trays that display forms of nature in an elusive, ordered grammatical syntax. Based on Barrada’s interest in pedagogical models and the assumptions built into educational materials, the works allow the viewer to unpack how these elements might fit together in new expanded narratives of the natural world. 

Barrada’s film installations highlight her research on educational systems and environmental forces. Tree Identification for Beginners (2017) collects imagery and documentation from her mother’s first trip to the United States in 1966, as part of a government-sponsored tour that promoted American culture and values to a generation of young Africans. The film features stop-motion animation of Montessori educational toys and grammar symbols along with voiceovers of Barrada’s mother, other tour participants, and American civil rights activists that reconstruct an era of dynamic social change, framing the educational tour as a subversive act of political resistance. The Power of Two or Three Suns (2020) tracks a fragmented journey through an industrial testing laboratory, where exposure to natural elements is simulated in order to weather-test materials for mass production. The film’s focus on the machinery and testing procedures for textiles centers Barrada’s interest in modern technologies, labor practices, and industrial demands.  

Tangier Island Wall (2019), a gambion wall of crab pots, reflects on the state of two different Tangiers: Barrada’s hometown in Morocco and a small island in the Chesapeake Bay, off the coast of Virginia. One affected by forced isolation and the other by rising sea levels, the work reflects on the interconnected impacts of ecological disaster, geopolitics, and economic inequity. Untitled (After Stella, Sunrise, III) (2020) comes from a series of recent textile works created in response to artist Frank Stella’s series of twelve Moroccan paintings made between 1964-1965. Barrada’s work—made with hand-sewn textiles and natural pigment dyes—re-centers the Moroccan art and histories rendered invisible in Stella’s work. Her use of natural dyes points to the long history of Morocco’s textile industry and the networks of trade surrounding dyes and their complex movement between the East and the West.


About Yto Barrada

Yto Barrada (b. 1971) is a Moroccan-French artist recognized for her multidisciplinary investigations into cultural phenomena and historical narratives. Engaging with archival practices and public interventions, Barrada’s installations uncover lesser known histories, reveal the prevalence of fiction in institutional narratives, and celebrate everyday forms of reclaiming autonomy. She is the founder of Cinémathèque de Tanger, a cultural center that has become a landmark institution bringing the Moroccan community together to celebrate local and international cinema. Barrada’s work has won numerous awards including the 2019 Roy R. Neuberger Prize, the Rotterdam Film Festival 2016 Tiger Award for short film, a nomination for the 2016 Prix Marcel Duchamp in Paris, the 2015 Abraaj Group Art Prize, The Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University), and the 2011 Deutsche Guggenheim Artist of the Year award. Barrada has had numerous solo exhibitions, including those at the Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2019); LMCC’s Arts Center at Governor’s Island, New York (2019); Casa Luis Barragan, Mexico City, Mexico, (2019); Barbican London (2018); American Academy in Rome, Italy (2018); Secession Vienna, Austria (2016); The Power Plant, Toronto (2016); Carre d’Art, Nimes, France (2015); The Serralves Foundation, Porto, Portugal (2015); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013). 


The Metabolic Studio/Optics Division Hoosic: The Beyond Place

Building #6

In October 2016, artists Lauren Bon, Richard Nielsen, and Tristan Duke of the Optics Division of the Metabolic Studio spent a week at MASS MoCA using their Liminal Camera — a moveable, monumental camera built from a repurposed shipping container — to create a series of portraits of B6: The Robert W. Wilson Building. The team examined the adjacency of this repurposed industrial building to the industrialized Hoosic River. To make the prints on display, the Optics Division collected Hoosic water and poured it over the paper during printing, imbuing the image with ripples of river water.

Ceramics in the Expanded Field

Ceramics in the Expanded Field brings together a group of eight artists who are changing the way we think of clay. Their ambitious works integrate ceramics—a medium long siloed and marginalized—with disciplines ranging from photography and video to painting and performance. While they push ceramics beyond its traditional functional forms, these artists simultaneously connect their work to the complex material and social histories of pottery as well as to other crafts and modes of making that lie outside usual fine art definitions, including basket weaving, furniture design, the building trades, and lowrider culture.Ceramics in the Expanded Field features work by Nicole Cherubini, Armando Guadalupe Cortés, Francesca DiMattio, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Kahlil Robert Irving, Anina Major, Rose B. Simpson, and Linda Sormin.

Sarah Crowner Wall (Hot Blue Terra Cotta)

Building #6

Sarah Crowner’s gorgeous 10 × 20 foot tile mural Wall (Hot Blue Terra Cotta) — fabricated for her recent MASS MoCA exhibition — now guides visitors in and out of the museum’s new gallery spaces. Known for her bold and graphic work in a variety of mediums spanning the fine and applied arts, Crowner finds the forms and patterns of abstraction in the everyday. Her monumental structure transforms painting into architecture (and vice versa), with the imperfections and eccentricities of the hand-glazed tiles functioning like a painter’s gestures.


Joe Wardwell Hello America: 40 Hits from the 50 States

Building #6

Boston-based artist Joe Wardwell’s Hello America: 40 Hits from the 50 States, a new wall drawing for MASS MoCA, takes inspiration from J.G. Ballard’s 1981 novel Hello America. The book begins after an energy crisis in the late 20th century that leaves America all but abandoned. A century later a group of European explorers finds a radically changed country, a desert landscape parched by the damming of the Bering Strait. The expedition starts in Manhattan and ends in Las Vegas where a tyrannical leader has named himself both Charles Manson and President of the United States. The moment that inspired Wardwell, and seemed like an all-too-eerie nod to our current political climate, comes when “President Manson” grabs the primary protagonist, who is filled with longing for a far-too-distant “American dream” and declares “together, Wayne, we will make America great again!”


Franz West: Les Pommes d’Adam (Seasonal)

Hall Art Foundation at MASS MoCA

Franz West’s Les Pommes d’Adam – a monumental outdoor sculptural ensemble on extended loan from the Hall Art Foundation – opens on the MASS MoCA campus, in its first presentation in the United States and its second-ever showing. The sculpture was previously exhibited in 2007, when it was installed at the Place Vendôme in Paris next to Napoléon Bonaparte’s Vendôme Column. Les Pommes d’Adam will be exhibited adjacent to the Hall Art Foundation’s 10,000 square-foot building dedicated to the work of Anselm Kiefer, whose spring reopening –

When Franz West’s Les Pommes d’Adam was first displayed in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 2007, the exhibition curators noted that the sculpture took its name and inspiration from the Adam’s apple, pointing to the distinctive anatomical profile of a man’s throat. The public, however, interpreted the gathering of bubblegum-pink sculptures in a slightly more provocative way, locating the reference lower on the male torso.

West would have reveled in the confusion, having once said, “It doesn’t matter what art looks like, but how it is used.” The use of art, and its interpretation by individuals, was always of interest to West. Among his earliest works are the Paßstücke, or Adaptives, a series of small, portable plaster objects, a selection of which was exhibited at MASS MoCA in 2002. Adaptives were made to be picked up and manipulated by the viewer, their meaning changing with use. Some might be utilized as bookends or flower vases, while others may be displayed on sculptural plinths.

Les Pommes d’Adam, like much of West’s work, is infused with humor and a particular delight in visual and linguistic puns. It pokes, provokes, and makes us reconsider our physical and psychological relationship to art. The sculpture’s evocation of the human body recalls the work of the Actionists, a group of artists prominent in Vienna while he was a student at the Academy of Applied Arts. Like the American Fluxus group, the Actionists sought to create art outside the usual gallery and market structure, often as free-form events or happenings that yielded abstract works of art and ritualistic, body-oriented performances.

Les Pommes d’Adam is rough-hewn and made of basic materials: metal, epoxy, paint, and concrete. The 4 pink biomorphic totems, each standing at approximately 25 feet, are at once crude in shape, yet highly finished. In its Paris showing, Les Pommes d’Adam was installed in close proximity to the Vendôme Column, on top of which stands a statue of Napoléon Bonaparte in Roman garb. West’s presentation of Les Pommes d’Adam at the Place Vendôme engaged and perhaps parodied the Napoleonic Column, prompting viewers to reinvestigate it and its role in the history of Paris and France. The idiomatic expression, “Napoleon complex,” for example, takes on new meaning in light of the apocryphal tale of the etymology of the term “Adam’s apple.” According to the biblical passage, the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden was an apple tree. When Eve gave Adam a piece of the tree’s forbidden fruit and he ate it, a fragment became lodged in his throat. The Adam’s apple thus serves as a permanent reminder of the folly of desiring that which one should not have, or know. Likewise, with its monumental, if not pretentious, scale, Les Pommes d’Adam may offer a playful warning about the perils of unbridled ambition.

Bruce Odland & Sam Auinger: Harmonic Bridge

Plays from 8am to 10pm under the Route 2 overpass on Marshall Street, at the southeast corner of MASS MoCA’s main parking lot.

In the MASS MoCA portion of this multi-part project, Harmonic Bridge, low sounds roll and drone under the Route 2 overpass half a block from MASS MoCA. Entering the space under the bridge, one becomes aware of a turning eddy of sound in the midst of intersecting streams of traffic. Cars pass by heading north or south on Marshall Street and east or west on the Route 2 bridge, but this linear motion is counterpoised by a rolling humming in the key of C, as calming as the rhythm of ocean waves. Although cars stream by, pedestrians lose the impetus to move forward, momentarily derailed by a cool pool of sound with its mysterious, chant-like hum. Harmonic Bridge presents an aural cross-section of North Adams, a slice of the city in the key of C, comprised of the fundamental note and its overtone series.

Victoria Palermo Bus Stand

Victoria Palermo Bus Stand

Off – Campus on Main Street in North Adams

The Bus Stand, designed by artist Victoria Palermo, is a public artwork and permanent addition to the North Adams community, adding to the movement to bring more public art to the city through the efforts of DownStreet Art. Palermo, of Queensbury, New York, is a visiting assistant professor of Art at Skidmore College. Her work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums, including Kidspace at MASS MoCA in 2003-2004 and 2010. Recently, her work has been shown at the Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY; Salem Art Works, Salem, NY; and Union College, Schenectady, NY.

The Bus Stand was made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The Bus Stand, 2012

Micah Lexiera Coin in the Corner

A Coin in the Corner is an installation of 100 special-edition minted coins by Toronto-based artist Micah Lexier. Originally commissioned as part of MASS MoCA’s 2012 exhibition Oh, Canada, each coin contains a simple line drawing of a coin in a corner. Lexier’s work is a clever pun for bilingual Canada, for the word corner in French translates to coin. Lexier placed 100 coins in corners throughout the whole of MASS MoCA, in exhibition spaces, the café, offices, basements, bathrooms, and even areas not accessible to the public. So, thinking of both the coin’s placement and the French translation, Lexier’s work really becomes a coin in the corner where the corner is the coin.

However, A Coin in the Corner is more than just a language pun; here at MASS MoCA, Lexier’s coins become architecture. One of the many things Lexier knows is that there is strength in numbers, as well as strength in discovery, and A Coin in the Corner exemplifies both ideas. The piece becomes a scavenger hunt of finding the micro within the macro, causing the museum’s visitors to seek out not only art but also architecture, proving once again that art can be found anywhere.

To accompany this project, an artist’s book was created that serves as the cheat sheet to the experience, with maps and photographs of each location. Museum visitors are encouraged to explore seeking out the coins on their own before consulting the maps and images to find elusive coins. The book is available in our store and can be purchased online.

A Coin in the Corner, 2012
100 minted coins installed in corners of the museum
Courtesy of the artist and Birch Contemporary, Toronto, and TrépanierBaer Gallery, Calgary



Musician and sound artist Ryan Olson teams with producer and sound artist Seth Rosetter o convert the stairs and basement of MASS MoCA’s Building 10 into a musical instrument. allovers is “played” by stimuli from its surrounding environment, from snippets of conversation and footfalls, to the rattle of carts and deliberate acts of musical intervention.

Visitors will encounter the installation as they enter the basement from the museum’s lobby. Allovers provides back-line beats — overdubs, harmonic tones, and melodies — with musical motivation to the “band” provided by visitors. An analog knob and dial, on the panel mounted on the wall facing the windows, invites visitors to alter the compositional algorithm, shifting between an array of musical atmospheres, from ambient fuzz to hard-party modes.

Allovers joins a large group of long-term sound installations commissioned by MASS MoCA, including works by Bruce Odland + Sam Auinger, Christina Kubisch, Julianne Swartz, and Zarouhie Abdalian. Like many sound artists, Olson and Rosetter combine a background in music with an interest in visual art. MASS MoCA’s commitment to sound art aligns particularly well with its unique mission, unusual among museums in that it devotes a full half of its resources and bandwidth to the performing arts. The museum’s performing arts programming is anchored by a series of festivals and concerts throughout the year: Olson’s relationship with MASS MoCA, for example, began with a 2018 concert by the band Poliça (which Olson produces).

Seth Rosetter is a Los Angeles-based sound artist. Utilizing his background in engineering, architecture, and music, he builds custom software, creates tools, and develops processes to help make and inform work. He enjoys collaborating with other artists, often providing a technological perspective. He is one half of experimental electronic duo LDX ROE (

Ryan Olson is a Minneapolis-based producer/sound artist (Marijuana Deathsquads, Poliça, Gayngs, and Dungeon Master).

Richard Nonas: Cut Back Through (For Bjorn)

“There is a language of place, and it is the most direct human language there is; the most basic way to impose human order and meaning on an outside, non-human world.” — Richard Nonas

Following his ambitious exhibition in Building 5,The Man in the Empty Space, Richard Nonas has created a long-term, outdoor installation in granite for the museum grounds. For five decades, he has made works that alter our sense of landscape and architecture — of place — using the simplest of means. His vocabulary includes pared-down forms and earthy and industrial materials that have a timeless, even totemic quality. Nonas has now reimagined the southeast corner of MASS MoCA’s campus with Cut Back Through (for Bjorn), a new arrangement of the three large granite chairs and five granite stools first seen in MASS MoCA’s galleries.

Nonas often changes already-existing works into new combinations, and thus new works. And like Cut Back Through (for Bjorn), many of his works are often arranged in pairs, series, or grids which create a dialogue and tension between the individual elements while creating a new whole from these parts. The grouping of granite sculptures functions as a cut into the landscape, but they also offer museum-goers a place to rest both their bodies and minds, allowing for — and indeed provoking — intuitive, visceral responses. The granite used to make the chairs and stools was sourced in Sweden from a quarry owned by a long-time friend of the artist (the Bjorn of the title). Nonas used the materials with great efficiency; the stools are the remnants — or offcuts — left after the chair has been excised and split from the granite block. Confusing usual distinctions between art and function, the chairs confirm that for Nonas a compelling object is a compelling object, without distinction. And while Nonas’ works are familiar, they emanate powerfully and remain open and shifting — both visually as viewers walk around and through them and in meaning and association — balancing on the edge of one thing becoming another.

Natalie Jeremijenko: Tree Logic

Front Courtyard Mass MoCA

Natalie Jeremijenko is an artist-experimenter. Her projects and those with an artists’ collective called the Bureau of Inverse Technology consist of creating devices and situations to gather and document overlooked facts. These data sets—and the means by which they were accumulated—range from the Despondency Index (for which the Bureau installed a motion detector camera on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, recorded suicides, and graphed the relation of suicides to stock market and other data) to Tree Logic (1999) at MASS MoCA (in which six live trees are inverted and suspended from a truss, displaying the contrived growth responses of the trees over time). In an age of the commodification of information, Jeremijenko has made data her medium.

In Tree Logic, the art of the piece is not found in its condition at any single point in time, but in the change of the trees over time. Trees are dynamic natural systems, and Tree Logic reveals this dynamism. The familiar, almost iconic shape of the tree in nature is the result of the interplay between gravitropic and phototropic forces: the tree grows away from the earth and towards the sun. When inverted, the six trees in this experiment still grow away from the earth and towards the sun—so the natural predisposition of trees might well produce the most unnatural shapes over time, raising questions about what the nature of the natural is.

By framing certain phenomena, such as tree growth or suicides, as a data set, Jeremijenko’s work illustrates the ability of scientific presentation to transform information. These phenomena are accessible without the artist’s intervention, but her presentation of them allows the viewer to examine and question them in new ways. (In this sense, her inverted trees may be compared to Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 Fountain, actually an inverted urinal.)

Our perceptions of trees change when we view them as a collection of growth responses rather than as immutable symbols of the natural world. The public for a work of art, and for Tree Logic in particular, is encouraged to interpret (and debate) motives and outcomes, though the opposite is often true of “real” science, which does not invite public discourse. Through her elaborate framing systems (in this case a metal armature, stainless steel planters, and telephone poles), Jeremijenko revels in exposing the idiosyncratic manipulation intrinsic when facts are combined to form data.

How Does Your Horn Sound?

In a rare 1983 interview, Jean-Michel Basquiat mulled over the difficulty of describing his painting process: “It’s like asking somebody, asking Miles [Davis], ‘How does your horn sound?’” Basquiat’s analogy points to the kinship between visual art and music—including the ways that words can fail them.

“How does your horn sound?” is the second of a series of rotating exhibitions drawn from a single private collection of music photography. In the photographs here, artists and musicians dance together at clubs, preen in Andy Warhol’s factory, and gaze at one another from behind and in front of the camera. The line between visual artist and musician blurs: many of the artists here, like Basquiat himself, have been both.

Perhaps words can’t describe a horn’s sound or explain a painting’s imagery—but these photographs can offer us brief glimpses into the lives of the people who made them.

Don Gummer: Primary Separation

Primary Separation was first designed by the artist Donald Gummer in 1969 in a small model, and was realized here at full scale in 2006.

The sculpture consists of a massive granite boulder, 12 feet long by 6 feet tall, sawed in half. The stone halves—separated by an 11-inch gap—are suspended 10 feet above ground, within a system of stainless steel supports and cables. Gummer’s original inspiration for Separation was a stone that reminded him of Brancusi’s sculpture, Fish. In using the stone, Gummer had Duchamp’s ready-mades in mind, but substituting for Duchamp’s man-made objects an object found in nature.

“We are delighted to be able to create a permanent home for this signal work from Gummer’s early career,” said Joseph C. Thompson, Director of MASS MoCA. “Don first showed me the work in the form of a small maquette. We were just beginning work on the Northern Berkshire District Court, and, though Don was probably not thinking of issues of justice when he conceived the work (though perhaps he was, given the societal unrest of 1969), Primary Separation seemed to me a strikingly apt metaphor for the scales of justice, a massive weight sustained in balanced repose. The stone could be rising, or falling; separating, or re-joining. The thin margin between the two parts of the whole is charged with a powerful force, and it’s not clear whether the force is repellent or attractive. We chose the placement of Primary Separation quite carefully, aligning it with MASS MoCA’s entry corridor, the Clocktower, and Tree Logic. We hope that the siting will help to visually mark the Courthouse on Marshall Street, while also linking that complex with the rest of the MASS MoCA campus.”


Joseph Beuys: Lightning With Stag In Its Glare

The work of mid 20th-century European sculptor Joseph Beuys is grounded in a tradition of narrative sources often absent in American art of the same period. The historic symbolism of Northern Europe, Christianity, and an invocation of the spiritual power of animals and nature course throughout Beuys’ diverse activities, from performances and lectures to sculptures and drawings. For Beuys, all these works share a common sociopolitical purpose: “the victory of socialist warmth and self-determination over materialist greed and alienation.”

Beuys’ dramatic Lightning with Stag in its Glare (Blitzschlag mit Lichtschein auf Hirschem), 1958–85, is the only environment that the artist cast in bronze. An offspring of Beuys’ seminal Workshop exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin in 1982, the work is encrusted with layers of meaning. At its core, it enacts a dramatic moment in nature: A bolt of lightning (the large, suspended sculpture) strikes the ground, illuminating a stag (cast in reflective aluminum). Other animals are present, but are not so well illuminated. There is a goat (a metal cart with a pick resting on it) and worm-like primordial animals (the dark bronze fecal forms scattered on the floor). The final element present, the Boothia Felix, is a metal tripod with a cubic mass on top, and a small compass resting on top of that. This element is named for a strip of land in northern Canada that was the first established location of the North Magnetic Pole.

Beuys invokes the creative energy of nature with the forceful bolt of lightning in this work. In many other works, he incorporated conductive metals to symbolically draw energy from the universe, or blocks of lard to represent the stored caloric energy of fat. The Stag, illuminated by the lightning, has a special role in Beuys’ work and in Northern European mythologies. He repeatedly referred to it as a conductor of the soul, a Christ figure, whose shedding and regrowth of antlers symbolized resurrection and the possibility of redemption. According to Beuys, the Stag is a guardian for the Primordial Animals, which writhe on the floor without intelligence or direction. These simple creatures, like the dramatic Lightning, were cast from a pile of loam in the center of the Workshop exhibition and have small broken metal tools for heads. The humble Goat recalls an imaginary laborer, constantly and silently working in the background, a simple wheelbarrow.


Sarah Oppenheimer: S-334473

Sarah Oppenheimer creates precise instruments for manipulating our built environment–altering our frame of spatial reference, displacing our experience of inside and out, and inverting our sense of what is near and far, here and there.

S-334473 performs as a dynamic spatial switch: two instruments work in tandem to reorient the exchange of sight and circulation within Building 6. A visitor’s touch sets the work in motion, pivoting volumes of glass and metal along a 45-degree axis through a defined arc. When vertically oriented, each instrument nestles between the buildings’ historic columns. Once rotated, the volumes slip out of alignment and become horizontal reflecting screens. The arcing movement from vertical column to horizontal lintel creates unexpected thresholds and pathways. While manipulating the instruments’ contours and orientation, visitors walk beneath and around their outermost edges. Sightlines are redirected through the building’s interior spaces, towards the north-facing windows and onto the Hoosic River and mountains beyond.

The rotational axis of the instruments extends through the ceiling onto the floor above, where the mechanical infrastructure that sets the work in motion is revealed to visitors. The arc of each switch is visible, creating an index of the instrument’s position below.

Oppenheimer’s S-334473 mobilizes the museum’s architecture in order to transform and extend the visitor’s understanding of the exhibition spaces it reveals, and disrupts. In the process, artwork and viewer become joined in an intricate choreography of the inhabited environment.

About the Artist
Sarah Oppenheimer (b. 1972 in Austin, TX) received a BA from Brown University in 1995 and an MFA from Yale University in 1999. Recent solo projects include S-281913 (Pérez Art Museum Miami 2016), S-334473 (Wexner Center for the Arts 2017), S-399390 (Mudam, Luxembourg 2016), 33-D (Kunsthaus Baselland 2014) and W-120301, an architecturally embedded permanent commission at the Baltimore Museum of Art (2012). Her work has been exhibited at such venues as the Andy Warhol Museum (2012); the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2009); Art Unlimited, Art Basel (2009); Skulpturens Hus (Stockholm); the Saint Louis Art Museum; the Mattress Factory; the Drawing Center; and the Sculpture Center. She is the recipient of a Rome Prize Fellowship (2011–12), a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (2009), and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship (2007). Ms. Oppenheimer is currently a senior critic at the Yale University School of Art.


Martin Puryear: Big Bling

Martin Puryear’s monumental sculpture Big Bling has landed for at least the next five years at MASS MoCA. Sited at the museum’s extreme southern perimeter in the heart of the downtown North Adams, Massachusetts business district, the sculpture creates a dramatic new connection between MASS MoCA’s 16-acre, 28-building factory campus and the city’s Main Street business district.

The spectacular forty-foot-tall work — the largest temporary installation Puryear has created — is built of wood, Puryear’s signature material, and chain-link fence. Through abstract means, the artist has crafted an ongoing dialogue with history, art history, identity, and politics. Here, “bling,” a slang term for flashy jewelry and accessories, is rooted in the urban youth, hip-hop, and rap culture of the 1990s. Originally commissioned for New York City’s Madison Square Park, the title of the artwork and its initial placement in the heart of Manhattan demonstrate Puryear’s recognition that Big Bling was a reflection of the character and the inhabitants of dense urban environments. Restored and transposed to MASS MoCA’s campus, the significant scale of the piece in relation the lower-scale and density of a New England factory town changes viewers’ perspective while amplifying the work’s monumental impact.

In the studio, Puryear’s sculpture applies methods gleaned from traditional crafts, carpentry, boat building, and other trades with spare, exacting stylistic dignity and formal clarity. Unlike his sculptures made from bronze, iron, stone, or carefully assembled from solid wood, Big Bling is constructed industrially from curved laminated wooden beams and exterior grade plywood, materials suitable for outdoor building. Instead of the wire mesh and tar that he has sometimes used for the surface of his sculptures, here Puryear has chosen a quintessentially urban material, stout chain-link fencing, to wrap the plywood construction. Metal fences function as makeshift boundaries around empty lots, construction sites, and playgrounds, concurrently protecting property and excluding people. Puryear has posed a similar dilemma in Big Bling: the multi-tiered work suggests an edifice that might be ascended level by level, but whose entry is blocked by a barrier fence.

A sleek golden shackle is stationed near the pinnacle of the colossal sculpture. It is anchored near the top of the structure — a shimmering beacon, a harness that both adorns and restrains the sculptural form. Big Bling is part animal form, part abstract sculpture, and part intellectual meditation.

About the Artist
Puryear earned his BA from Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. in 1963 and his MFA from Yale University in 1971. After serving in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone (1964–1966), he attended the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts (1966–1968). The Museum of Modern Art in New York organized a retrospective of his work in 2007. Puryear has received, among others, the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture (1980), a Louis Comfort Tiffany and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1989). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1992) and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Yale University (1994). Puryear represented the United States in the 2019 Venice Biennale. The artist lives and works in the Hudson Valley region of New York.

Julianne Swartz In Harmonicity, The Tonal Walkway

Julianne Swartz’s work is rooted in emotion, vulnerability, and the provocation to recognize and connect to one another as feeling human beings. Over the years Swartz has returned again and again to using the human voice, recording singers both professional and amateur to create moving works that embrace visitors with sound and emotion.

For In Harmonicity, The Tonal Walkway, Julianne Swartz started with a chart she found in a 19th-century music pedagogy system called the “Tonic Sol-Fa” School, developed by John Curwen. The chart assigned “mental effects” to the seven tones of the diatonic scale. Swartz was interested in this idea of certain tones activating specific emotional or mental states. She then took this “Curwen Method” and applied it to a new sound work for MASS MoCA, on long-term exhibition in the walkway between the lobby and the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective. “Inharmonicity” is a word used to describe a departure from the ideal harmonic series (being out of tune), but it has also been attributed to bringing a “quality of warmth” to the sound of a stringed instrument.

To build this work, Swartz started by recording 24 people individually — eight professional singers, including Roomful of Teeth, and 16 amateur singers. The singers ranged in age from 7 to 75. During the recording process, she asked participants to listen to specific tones and read the “mental effect” associated with that tone, as assigned by Curwen. Then she asked them to listen to the tone again and come up with their own mental or emotional association. Lastly, she instructed them to sing individual notes of both the diatonic and chromatic scales, using any syllabic/consonant-vowel combination that they wished. The single-note sounds took on specifics of the individual singers’ choices and voices.

Swartz then took these recording and made a composition of the single note sounds using a chord structure of thirds and fifths. The soundtrack is made entirely of singing, spoken word, and sustained microtones of voice. The microtones are made by isolating a tiny kernel (such as a quarter second) of voice or breath, and repeating it until it becomes a sustained tone. These sustained tones, especially the low frequencies, vibrate the space and can sound like mechanical or industrial sounds. Swartz created a composition of voice utilizing the 150+ foot length of the space to “throw” sound back and forth along the stretch of the bridge and make aural illusions with distant and proximate spatial harmonies. The sounds constantly move through the space, and listeners’ perception of it changes as they walk or stand still, creating effects of harmony and disharmony, concord and dissonance — the emotional states created by listening to voices join together.

Featuring the voices of Estelí Gomez, Cameron Beauchamp, Eric Dudley, Martha Cluver, Thann Scoggin, Elisa Sutherland, Eliza Bagg, Stella Prince, José Chardiet, Nicolas S. Eugst Mathews, Isabel Vázquez, Lulu Hart, Maria Sonevytsky, Edwina Unrath, David Moss, Sue LaRocca, Jennifer Odlum, Molly Odlum, Frida Balloghi-Smith, Marshall McConville, Jenny Monick, Junah Sibony, and Elodie Sibony. Special thanks to Brad Wells, director, Roomful of Teeth, and Ben Senterfit, director, Community Music Space, Red Hook, New York.

Marko Remec Would That I Wish For (Tall Totem)

Artist Marko Remec often creates visual puns that conflate conventional art forms with current events, often involving tricks of the eye, forced perspective, and other formal sleights of hand. In the series of work that includes Would That I Wish For, the artist adheres ready-made objects such as mops, brooms, safety mirrors, and rear-view mirrors to utility poles to create tall, totemic-like shapes that can be at once delightfully whimsical, and deeply questioning of today’s morays and social practices. In Would That I Wish For, the convex mirrors’ usual use for safety, surveillance and security is abandoned, the structure becoming a dizzying, world-absorbing spectacle that also reference the complex social functions of indigenous totem poles of the Pacific Northwest in commemorating important individuals and groups, and in communicating important events.

In using “Totem” as part of his works’ titles, Remec is deferential to the original use of the word (which comes from an Ojibwe term meaning clan) in describing tall carved wooden objects made by the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest, and is aware of those works’ primary function as communicative devices for telling stories, or imparting other important tribal or familial information.

Remec’s work does not mimic or copy any tribal style. Rather, as recorders and reflectors of the present moment, the works “speak to the abject fear and paranoia that are a common component of today’s urban and suburban condition,” Remec has said, addressing surveillance, narcissism and indifference, and the complex relationship between the built and natural worlds.

Nicholas Whitman

Photographer Nicholas Whitman began photographing North Adams’ abandoned Sprague Electric Company factory in 1988 “because it would surely be razed.” Documenting the then-deteriorating 19th-century mill buildings, Whitman captured scenes ranging from vast postindustrial landscapes to minute traces of the plant’s former workers. Whitman’s meticulously composed photographs, windows onto the historic nature of MASS MoCA’s celebrated renovated factory campus, are now on view in the museum.

Preserving the “seemingly random collection of mill buildings” was a deeply personal mission. Whitman’s father came to work at Sprague as an engineer in 1959. Growing up, Whitman remembers that the site’s security was so tight, he was unable to visit his father at work until he was hired for a summer job etching aluminum foil in 1974. The company’s etching operations moved to the South not long after, marking the early phases of cost-cutting and outsourcing that ultimately led Sprague to close its operations on Marshall Street in 1985.

By the time Whitman began to photograph the site’s century-old buildings in 1988, they had begun to decline: floors buckled, paint peeled, and pigeons and spiders had made the quiet buildings their home. Whitman says, “I worked with a 4″× 5″ field camera and carried everything in order to be self-contained and mobile. The buildings are mostly interconnected, so once you were inside you could go anywhere. Many areas were quite dark, which made photography difficult because I only worked with the available light. The light is part of the place, and the place was what I was documenting.”

More personal hints of the factory’s industrial past — thousands of workers over more than a hundred years — remained. “Most compelling was evidence of the individuals who had spent so much of their lives within these walls,” Whitman notes. “It manifested itself in different and sometimes unexpected ways. There were discarded identification badges and personal effects, like coffee cups and well-worn chairs. There were scrawls on walls, numbers near the phone, and handwritten conversions from minutes to tenths of an hour on the wall near the punch clocks. The humanity of these industrial spaces is revealed in such details.”

About the artist
Nicholas Whitman is a photographer based in Berkshire County. He studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and is the former Curator of Photography at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. He has been commissioned to create photographs by institutions including the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Bennington Museum, Berkshire Museum, The Colonial Theatre, Chesterwood, Olana, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williams College Museum of Art, and Williams College, where he taught a landscape photography course each winter for two decades. Whitman’s photography is the subject of books including “The Colonial Theatre: A Pittsfield Resurrection” (2008); “After SPRAGUE ELECTRIC / Before MASS MoCA” (2013); “Sea, Shore, Sky & Ice” (2013); and “Wheels of Progress: The New Bedford Waterfront, circa 1980” (2015). His photographs can also be found in “MASS MoCA: From Mill to Museum,” a revised edition of which is forthcoming.

Jarvis Rockwell Us

Artist Jarvis Rockwell’s massive 2002 installation Maya introduced MASS MoCA visitors to Rockwell, whose detailed wall-drawing continues to delight museum-goers and concert audiences just outside of the museum’s Club B-10. Rockwell returns to MASS MoCA with a new large-scale installation,  In Us, figures from Rockwell’s massive collection of toys and figurines interact and organize themselves on glass panels, soaring over visitors’ heads in the historic light well of the newly renovated B6: Robert W. Wilson Building.

Rockwell began assembling his ever-expanding collection of toys and figurines in 1979. Numbering in the hundreds of thousands, his toys run the gamut from classic action figures to Japanese monsters, bobble-head dolls of politicians and artists, Yodas, Betty Boops, Troll dolls, Pez dispensers, Tin Tins, toy soldiers, and endless amounts of plastic furniture (“for the occasional elderly toy to sit on”). In his thoughtful arrangements, groups of figures gather as though in conversation with one another, approaching and drifting apart in a bewildering array of organic interactions. In his 1985 exhibition Toys at the New Museum, NY, eight identical figures wearing suits and panama hats anxiously adjusted their ties in unison, a coiffed doll with bright blue eyeshadow enthusiastically greeted an approaching Viking, and James Brown relaxed, feet up, on a blue ottoman.

As the exhibition’s title suggests, for Rockwell these figures stand in as avatars for ourselves — “alternatives to us whom we can interact with” — which act out the fantasies, beliefs, and values that shape our understanding of the world. In his own words, “We build what we are, what we think, and what we live.” Rockwell uses the term Maya, adopted from Hindu Sanskrit, to understand the way we attach illusions to the visible world. On a notecard that he carries in his wallet, Rockwell defines the term in relation to his practice as:

“The power of a god or demon to transform a concept into an element of the sensible world; the transitory manifold appearance of the sensible world, which obscures the undifferentiated spiritual reality from which it originates; the illusory appearance of the sensible world.”

The stepped structure of Us also points to Rockwell’s fascination with the spiritual realm. Spanning the length of the light well, ten glass planks hang from the ceiling in an ascending, curving line. The upward motion of the floating glass shelves conjures a feeling of ascension, and perhaps even reincarnation. As Rockwell sees it, “[The toys] are going on to glory.” Imbued with a physical and spiritual depth, Rockwell’s figures evoke a multiplicity of narratives that are at once whimsical and distressing, capturing the complexities and outlandishness of our own existence.

Rockwell approaches each installation of toys organically, responding to both the site and the needs of the various toys. Though most of the figures “socialize” in groups, the artist explains, “There’s always the lonely person that doesn’t talk well with other people, and he’ll be walking by himself.” By listening seriously to the stories that toys have to tell, Rockwell is able to create worlds that feel at once monumental and microscopic in scope, playing out both the quotidian and epic dramas of our lives.

Joe Manning: Looking at North Adams

Author and historian Joe Manning speaks to life in and around this city — referencing the trains, hills, rivers, and buildings that shape life in North Adams. Manning’s short texts, describing and illuminating the views through mill building windows throughout the museum, are excerpted from his publications about North Adams history and drawn from oral histories of city residents. Manning’s “city labels” speak to life in North Adams, including the retail scene on Main Street and what it was like to grow up in North Adams in the mid-1900s.

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer’s concise, often enigmatic, writings infiltrate public life and consciousness through everyday objects such as LED panels and stone benches, as well as her paintings and sculpture. She is best known for her light projections, begun when she illuminated the banks of the Arno River with her writings in 1996. In these projections, which have now appeared in over 40 cities in 20 countries, stark block lettering is thrown onto landscapes and architecture, creating ephemeral graffiti that links her early street-based practice to her long-standing engagement with media, and tactics common to news and advertising. Following her monumental installation in MASS MoCA’s Building 5 in 2007, which marked her first indoor projection in the U.S., Holzer returns with a campus-wide program, timed to the opening of Building 6 in May 2017. The program will include a large-scale outdoor projection on the side of Building 6, a series of her celebrated carved stone benches located throughout MASS MoCA’s sprawling campus, an exhibition of her early posters, and additional rotating exhibitions of her work in Building 6, spanning the breadth of her career.

Kelli Rae Adams: Forever In Your Debt

Kelli Rae Adams: Forever In Your Debt

Student loan debt in the US today totals over 1.7 trillion dollars and is collectively borne by more than 44 million Americans, including artist kelli rae adams. With her installation Forever in Your Debt, adams converts this abstract burden into a tangible volume. She has crafted hundreds of wheel-thrown vessels, sized to collectively hold the average individual student debt —$37,000—in the form of coins. Each unique bowl holds approximately a pint of mixed change, worth about $40; this is also the value she assigns to the labor embodied in each vessel.

Adams offers viewers the opportunity to engage directly with the work—and the issue—by inviting them to fill a bowl with their own collected coins. In exchange, the artist will send one of the bowls to each participant at the conclusion of the yearslong project. As the vessels are filled, the red interiors—a reference to “ being in the red” or owing more money than is earned—are gradually obscured by the coins, reflecting the incremental erasure of student loan debt.

With this work, adams connects the cost of her own education and the skills it afforded her while drawing attention to how labor is valued and what is often a wide gap between educational costs and earning potential. With its participatory dimension, she asserts that the student debt burden and its ramifications socially and economically impact all Americans. This sentiment is shared by the many lawmakers and activists who are calling for some degree of forgiveness and who note the entrenched forms of economic inequality perpetuated by the loan system, with first-generation college students and African Americans borrowers among those who struggle most.

The artist will be in the gallery Saturdays and Sundays in January (as well as January 17), 1-4pm, to talk to folks about her installation and accept any coins from interested participants.

Keep an eye out for additional participation days in the future.
Or to learn more about participating in the project at MASS MoCA please email
You can also participate through the artist’s

Shaun Leonardo you Walk…

Shaun Leonardo you Walk…

You walk…is an interactive installation by Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist Shaun Leonardo. Translating his performance practice into a participatory installation, Leonardo offers a series of visual and textual prompts — drawing from themes present in exhibitions on view throughout the museum — to invite us to consider how we process and embody space, ideas, and connectivity.

Using visual elements like two-way mirrors and mock windowscapes, Leonardo creates a space that both reflects a shared physical present but also alludes to the differences that shape our individual perspectives. Text prompts throughout the space encourage visitors to relive memories of simple movements and gestures – walking down the street, averting your gaze from a stranger, holding someone’s hand. These reflections draw awareness to experiences that can’t be articulated as much as felt. By unlocking these physical narratives, Leonardo offers an opportunity to reflect on the ways we perceive ourselves and engage with others.

Shaun Leonardo’s You walk… is the inaugural exhibition in MASS MoCA’s newly established community engagement space. Located within the Hunter Mezzanine, the project space was established with two-year funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and will serve as a convening area for individual visitors, groups, staff, and artists.


Spencer Finch Cosmic Latte

Spencer Finch, the subject of a major mid-career survey at MASS MoCA in 2007 titled What Time is it on the Sun?, returns to the museum in May 2017 with a long-term installation commissioned and designed in conjunction with MASS MoCA’s Phase III expansion. Bringing the starry night inside the museum, Finch’s light-based work, Cosmic Latte features over 150 specially fabricated LED fixtures that will be suspended from the ceiling over an expanse of the 80-foot long gallery. The constellation of LEDs will be arranged in the gently arching shape of the Milky Way as it is observed in the Northern Hemisphere in March. The work’s title, Cosmic Latte, refers to the name for the average color of the universe, which in 2009 was determined to be more beige than what has been traditionally thought of as blue. Two American astrophysicists studied the color of the light emitted by 200,000 galaxies and created a cosmic spectrum, which they then blended according to the light spectrum visible to human eyes. Finch represents that specific warm, yellowish-white shade of light with LED lights (designed to look like incandescent bulbs), which are then arranged in the shape of the molecular models of the pigments needed to create this “cosmic latte” color: titanium white, Mars yellow, chrome yellow, and a touch of cadmium red.

Barbara Ernst Prey - Building 6 Portrait: Interior

Renowned watercolor artist Barbara Ernst Prey paints a monumental watercolor for MASS MoCA’s expansion. Prey’s work will be 8 feet tall by 15 feet wide and depicts the interior of Building 6 just prior to the start of construction.

Best known for her plein air paintings, Prey’s commission sets a new benchmark for the size and scale of watercolor works on paper, among the most unforgiving combination of any painterly media. Her piece will tackle the vast horizontal spread of Building 6’s second floor, which comprises a full acre of floor area, with some 400 columns, hundreds of windows, and layers and layers of paint. “This commission is a painter’s dream, an engaging subject combined with a breathtaking scale for this media,” says Prey. “I have long admired MASS MoCA’s commitment to breaking boundaries in commissioning and presenting new works, and am thrilled to have been asked to create a piece that celebrates the organization’s ongoing growth and success. The architecture, the light, the colors, and the different textures of the space in Building 6 are all compelling subjects, and this piece has pushed my boundaries as an artist, opening up new perspectives on watercolor painting.”

Prey’s paintings are included in some of the most important public and private collections around the world, including The White House (one of two living female artists), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Kennedy Space Center, the Farnsworth Art Museum, Williams College Museum of Art, Hood Museum of Art Dartmouth College, the Taiwan Museum of Art, the New-York Historical Society, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Bush Presidential Library and Center.

She has also been commissioned by NASA to document space history. Prey graduated from Williams College where she studied with Lane Faison as part of the Williams College Art History program and holds a master’s degree from Harvard University where she was able to continue her art history studies. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a Henry Luce Foundation grant that enabled her to travel, study, and exhibit extensively in Europe and Asia. She is an art blogger for The Huffington Post, a frequent lecturer, and an arts advocate, as well as an adjunct faculty member at Williams College. In 2008, she was appointed by the President of the United States to the National Council on the Arts, which is the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Arts. Members are chosen for their established record of distinguished service and achievement in the arts.

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois described her artistic practice as an attempt to work through whatever tumult plagued her — psychologically, personally, artistically — to find perfect harmony. Her work often references human anatomy and sexuality, in some instances overtly and in others more subtlely through organic and ambiguous forms. Her oeuvre encompassed drawings, paintings, textiles, embroidered works, sculpture, and installations ranging in scale from a few inches to fully immersive environments. Bourgeois began working with marble in the early 1960s while living in Avenza, Italy, and the medium proved particularly compelling for the artist — its resilience and difficulty pushing her creative boundaries. For Building 6, MASS MoCA, in partnership with the Louise Bourgeois Trust, will present a group of the artist’s marble sculptures, some of which have never been seen previously. The works fluctuate between the whimsical and the grotesque, the threatening and the nurturing, highlighting Bourgeois’ investigations of dualities and the pursuit of identity, individual and communal. The installation also speaks to the artist’s interest in monumental scale, with one sculpture weighing in at more than 10 tons. The design of the gallery that will house these works in Building 6 was constructed specifically to hold the weight of such works.

Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is one of today’s premier multimedia artists, known for her achievements as a visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, vocalist, and instrumentalist, and her innate ability to meld her dynamic practices into new and vibrant forms. Her seemingly boundless oeuvre includes the creation of books, albums, and performances that incorporate film, slides, recorded audio, live music, and spoken word. Anderson has long been recognized as a groundbreaking leader in the use of technology in the arts and has developed new musical instruments, including the tape bow violin, in which the bow has been replaced with magnetic audiotape and the bridge with a reader. She was one of MASS MoCA’s first artists-in-residence and has returned to the museum many times to develop and discuss works-in-progress. In MASS MoCA’s Building 6, Anderson will create a multi-functional environment that will serve as a working studio, audio archive, and exhibition venue, highlighting both her creative process and some of her most unforgettable works.

Mary Lum Assembly (Lorem Ipsum)

Artist Mary Lum, who lives in North Adams, works in a range of media, including wall drawing, painting, collage, photography, and artist books. Language plays an important role in her practice, with the artist drawing on texts from a diversity of sources, including literature, psychoanalysis, and the news. Lum has been included in three previous exhibitions at MASS MoCA in the past fifteen years; for the opening of Building 6 she was commissioned to create a large-scale wall work for the bike tunnel that transverses the ground floor of Building 6, piercing one of MASS MoCA’s biggest buildings to connect Adams-North Adams-Williamstown bike trails. Lum’s monumental painting, covering four walls, is inspired by Lorem ipsum, the meaningless text that graphic designers and typesetters use as mock filler content as placeholders for actual texts, and which was originally drawn from Cicero’s writings on ethics. The intricate work vibrates between writing, image, and pattern, and speaks to the fragmented way in which we acquire information and see language in today’s world. Mirrored interludes provide a vibrant backdrop to passing cyclists.


Taryn Simon The Pipes

Taryn Simon’s large-scale outdoor sculpture The Pipes will be on long-term view on the MASS MoCA campus starting May 29, 2021. What began as an oversized concrete instrument for a cacophony of global mourning in Simon’s work An Occupation of Loss (The Armory, 2016) will be populated by the sounds, collective call and response, and movements of a living public. The 11 structures that make up the installation – which Simon designed in collaboration with Shohei Shigematsu of architecture firm OMA – are an immersive experience, offered to the public as a sacred space for reflection, impromptu performance, and stargazing.

he Pipes joins MASS MoCA’s growing constellation of long-term outdoor artworks sited throughout the museum’s campus and downtown North Adams, including works by Jenny Holzer, Martin Puryear, James Turrell, and Franz West. This will be Simon’s second project at MASS MoCA, following her acclaimed 2018 solo exhibition A Cold Hole + Assembled Audience.

Richard Nielsen: This Is Not A Gag

In March 2020, Los Angeles-based artist Richard Nielsen began painting portraits of people in their COVID-19 face masks. On view at MASS MoCA, This is Not a Gag includes his first set of 49 paintings. Presented in a Zoom-like grid, the series shows the determination behind the eyes of artists, writers, and friends of the artist and MASS MoCA. The subject’s faces may be covered, but variations in masks and individual expressions speak volumes about our lives today. These paintings are not about the pandemic, per se, but about the fiercest and finest parts of human nature.

Earlier in the winter of 2020, COVID-19 began to spread globally. In the United States, one after another, states started to close, issuing shelter-in-place orders and requiring face masks to be worn in public. Words like isolation, quarantine, social distancing, and pandemic became part of our daily vocabulary, and teleconferencing became our primary way to connect.

As the pandemic grew, face masks were nearly impossible to find, so people improvised, devising creative ways to keep the respiratory droplets at bay. From bandanas and hand-sewn creations to torn T-shirts and heavy-duty construction respirators, the masks, made to protect, also distance, covering our faces and our expressions. Yet they also acted like micro-billboards, allowing people to exercise their freedom of speech – with masks signaling “VOTE” or “Black Lives Matter” or “MAGA” – and express their individual style.

The impetus for Nielsen’s mask portraits came as he caught his reflection in a gas station window, realizing his masked face was the new normal. He immediately went home and started taking selfies – stretching his arms to model the social distance bubble that would become all too familiar. He then asked his friends and colleagues to send their own mask selfies for him to paint. His recent works address digital data and image transmission, with paintings inspired by photographs gathered from friends or social media, exploring how we relate to representation in the digital age.

As the pandemic continued, masks became political – anti-maskers abounded, while others took donning masks not only as a smart health move but also as a sign of shared civic responsibility. This added meaning allows Nielsen to imbue his subjects’ personalities and beliefs into their portraits. For Nielsen, the mask creates an abstract surface on the face, one that his subjects can use for self-expression, while also creating a space that he can play with in paint. The images are full of individuality, showing the essence of each human, even when we cannot see their whole face.

When Nielsen shared the first images of this series with MASS MoCA’s senior curator, Denise Markonish, she started to gather mask selfies from museum employees, exhibiting artists, and friends. Nielsen’s paintings are hung in a large grid, like an epic Zoom call, a temporarily catalyzed community, united yet apart. Participants include artists familiar to MASS MoCA such as Nick Cave, Bob Faust, Marcos Ramirez ERRE, Shaun Leonardo, Mary Lum, Kim Faler, and Helga Davis, alongside writers Phong Bui and Charles Schultz, MASS MoCA staff, and Los Angeles artists Lauren Bon, Tristan Duke, Suzanne Lacy, and more.

Nielsen paints with both gesture and assuredness, capturing a fire in the eyes of his subjects. In the end, his paintings remind us of human resiliency in a moment when everything feels out of control.

About the artist:
Richard Nielsen is an artist, photographer, and printmaker. With a background in lithography and etching, his photographic practice is informed by the expanded field of printmaking. Committed to offering printmaking opportunities to established and emerging artists, Nielsen’s Los Angeles studio, Untitled Prints & Editions, has hosted guest artists from around the world. In Los Angeles, Nielsen has shown his work recently at Lucas Reiner and DENK Galleries and currently has an exhibition at Track 16 Gallery. Additionally, Nielsen has been a close collaborator with Lauren Bon and her Metabolic Studio since 2007.

Lewis sculptures @ Williams College Museum of Art

Shortly after the U.S. Postal Service released the latest stamp in their Black Heritage series honoring American artist Edmonia Lewis (ca. 1844–1907), (Issue date 1/26/22) the busts of Hiawatha and Minnehaha by Lewis are back on display in our permanent collection exhibition Remixing the Hall. Visitors can now come and see these extraordinary 19th-century sculptures by a Black and Native woman artist who earned international recognition in her lifetime, was largely forgotten for decades after her death, and whose work has found renewed appreciation in the 21st century.

Click the link to read a New York Post article about Lewis’s life, the Black Heritage stamp, and a recent visit to WCMA to see Hiawatha and Minnehaha by East Greenbush, NY town historian and Edmonia Lewis champion Bobbie Reno.

Tomm El-Saieh – Imaginary City

The large-format, abstract paintings of Tomm El-Saieh (b. 1984, Port-au-Prince; lives and works in Miami) teem with dense and dynamic marks that evoke ornament, language, and architecture. By variously layering and erasing his linework, and using vibrant color to optically push or pull his pictures, El-Saieh creates rhythmic, all-over compositions from which larger forms appear to emerge—testing both the limits of our perception and our expectations about abstraction.

The exhibition title, which comes from one of the works in the show, refers to a cityscape theme common in Haitian art (Vilaj Imaginé). El-Saieh’s paintings, which resemble informal urban plans, likewise develop intuitively, without the use of preparatory studies or outlines. For the artist, who has been unable to return to his birthplace in recent years as a result of the instability there, Port-au-Prince now also exists mainly as a figure in his memory and imagination—a site of joy and trauma, potential and uncertainty.

Tomm El-Saieh was born in Haiti and grew up in Miami; he is of Haitian, Palestinian, and Israeli descent. He was the subject of a solo show at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Miami in 2018 and was included in the New Museum triennial in New York that year. He is partner at the artist-run gallery CENTRAL FINE in Miami and long directed the El-Saieh Gallery in Port-au-Prince, a venue for contemporary Haitian artists that his grandfather established in the 1950s.

This yearlong exhibition appears in public spaces around the Clark and is free and open to the public. It is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Robert Wiesenberger, associate curator of contemporary projects.

Lily Cox-Richard Weep Holes

Lily Cox-Richard’s exhibition Weep Holes addresses ideas of stewardship, beauty and threat, collective action, and building and dismantling. While in residence at the Recycled Artists in Residency Program (RAIR) in Philadelphia, PA, the sculptor became fascinated by a giant bale of tinsel she found, and how the material continually transforms from its use in celebrations to trash. This object becomes the centerpiece of a series of new works in Weep Hole, all of which reflect Cox-Richard’s ongoing interest in materiality, reuse, and how we value objects. Playing with scale, the works on view will range from tiny to outsized–including a 16-foot-tall Shaker broom, made of recycled material and made in residence at MASS MoCA. These works invite the viewer to consider their physical presence and place in the world vis-a-vie the sculptures on view.

About the Artist
Lily Cox-Richard (she/her/LCR) makes sculptures and installations that take up details of cultural and material histories to explore porousness, energy exchange, and paths of resistance. LCR has been awarded an Artadia grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan’s Society of Fellows, and residencies at the Core Program, Millay Colony, RAIR Philadelphia, and the MacDowell Colony. Recent solo exhibitions include Yvonne (Guatemala City), Artpace (San Antonio, TX), Diverseworks (Houston, TX), Hirschl & Adler Modern (New York, NY), The Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, TX). LCR studies, forages, and practices in Tsenacomoco territory / Richmond, VA, on land that, for thousands of years, has been inhabited and cared for by Indigenous people, including the Pamunkey, Monacan, Chickahominy, and many other tribes untold and forcibly disappeared.

Marc Swanson: A Memorial to Ice at The Dead Deer Disco

Marc Swanson works across diverse media, creating sculptures and environments that explore the relationships between humans, culture, and the natural world. His most ambitious installation to date, A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Deer Disco will consist of two interconnected immersive environments. A Memorial to Ice is inspired by the dioramas found in natural history museums as well as Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole’s (1801–1848) writings on the negative effects of development in the Catskills region, while The Dead Deer Disco is a reimagined disco in which Swanson explores feelings of freedom and mourning in reference to the AIDS crisis. Taken together, these two installations confront loss and our inability to control human nature and the world around us. A companion exhibition will go on view July 13 — November 13, 2022, at the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill, NY.

About the Artist
Marc Swanson (born 1969, Connecticut) earned an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, NY in 2004. He has exhibited internationally in Sweden and Mexico, and was included in the second Greater New York exhibition at PS1 in 2005. Swanson has worked collaboratively with choreographer/dancer Jack Ferver to create sets for Chambre (2014/15). Select solo exhibitions include: Inman Gallery, Houston, TX (2017 and 2011); Basilica Hudson Back Gallery, Hudson, NY (2016); American Dance Institute, Rockville, MD (2015); and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2011). His work is included in many public collections, including those of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australia. Swanson currently lives and works in Catskill, NY.


Grow Up! The New England Child, 1700-1900

Flynt Center of Early New England Life (lobby)

Our modern understanding of childhood as a separate stage of life from adult responsibilities is a relatively recent concept. In New England’s past, Anglo-European children assumed adult duties much more quickly than they do today. Using clothing, portraiture, games, toys, furniture, needlework, silver, ceramics, diaries and autobiographies, children’s literature, and advice manuals, this exhibition explores the changing nature of New England childhood at home, work, and school from the early 18th to the end of the 19th century.


Honeymoon Couple by Hortense Haudebort-Lescot - Newest acquisition in the Galleries @ The Clark

One of the Clark’s newest acquisitions is now on view in the permanent collection galleries. Although her name is not particularly well known today, Hortense Haudebort-Lescot was one of the most celebrated women painters of the early nineteenth century.

She regularly exhibited at the Paris Salon, showing 110 works over her lifetime, and gained commissions from the French court for the museum at Versailles. 

Her portrait of a honeymoon couple being serenaded by two musicians creates a romantic scene.

Come and visit soon to see this beautiful painting!

Tea Service of Famous Women (Cabaret Des Femmes Celebres)

The Clark Art Institute recently acquired an extremely rare tea service that is noted both for the exceptional craftsmanship on the part of the woman artist who was central to its creation and for its subject matter, a remarkable collection of portraits of women noted in European history. The Tea Service of Famous Women (Cabaret des femmes célèbres) is now on view in the Clark’s permanent collection galleries. With miniature portraits painted by Marie-Victoire Jaquotot between 1811–12 for the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, the service is one of only three known sets and features portraits of women noted for their achievements within governance, literature, philosophy, and international relations. 

One of the most successful porcelain painters of her time, Jaquotot was both an artist and entrepreneur, achieving great professional success at a time when opportunities for women artists were limited. She was awarded the title premier peintre sur porcelaine du Roi (first porcelain painter to the King) in 1816, which allowed her to open her workshop to students. Jaquotot specialized in miniature portraits and reproductions of famous works of art at a time when these subjects were avidly collected and appreciated across Europe, both as prints and on porcelain. She used engraved portraits as sources for her portraits of the women on the tea service.

Jaquotot painted the three tea services over a five-year period from 1807 to 1812. The porcelain sets were produced by the legendary Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory outside Paris, in a complex process involving multiple specialists, including painters and gilders. The Sèvres factory employed many porcelain painters, both men and women, but few achieved the level of fame and success of Madame Jaquotot, who painted the portraits of the femmes célèbres on all three services at her Paris workshop. 

These elaborate porcelain services were intended as special gifts. The set now in the Clark’s collection was originally presented in 1812 by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to his first wife, the Empress Josephine, whom he had divorced in 1810. Josephine rejected the gift and returned the service to the factory. It was then presented by Napoleon’s second wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, to her friend the Countess of Ségur in 1813. 

“This exquisite tea service has so many stories to tell, with its of portraits of historic women, its technical expertise, and its association with one of the leading porcelain painters of the day—who just happened to be a woman,” said Kathleen Morris, the Clark’s curator of decorative arts and Marx Director of Collections and Exhibitions. “I am so pleased to be able to add this work by a woman artist who represented the pinnacle of her craft to our collection.”

The women represented on each piece in the set include powerful European rulers including Elizabeth I, queen of England (1533–1603); Christina, queen of Sweden (1626–1689); Maria Theresa, archduchess of Austria (1717–1780); and Catherine II, empress of Russia (1729–1796). Medieval warrior and saint Joan of Arc (c. 1412–1431) appears on the milk jug. Several cups feature women who were influential in political, literary, and philosophical circles, including Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Madame de Sévigné (1626–1696), Hortense Mancini (1646–1699), and Antoinette du Ligier de la Garde Deshouliéres (1638–1694). The center of each saucer is decorated in gold with antique trophies and musical instruments, reinforcing the theme of power and accomplishment.


Mildred Thompson painting New Acquisition @ The Williams College Museum of Art

Mildred Thompson painting New Acquisition @ The Williams College Museum of Art

On your next museum visit, we invite you to spend time in the Reading Room just off the Weston Rotunda, where Mildred Thompson’s painting Advancing Impulses (1997) is now on view.

Mildred Thompson (American, 1936–2003) was a pioneering Black LGBTQ artist, writer, musician, and educator whose visual art practice included painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photography. Known for her abstract language of bright colors and calligraphic forms, Thompson said of her compositions that “there are symbolic things that have to be learned to make work universal—you can’t limit who you communicate with. … But you have to know yourself. Everything I touch will be part Black and female—all my success and the things I have gotten are part of that.”

This new addition to the collection was proposed by students in the course Acquiring Art: Selecting and Purchasing Objects for WCMA, Fall 2021, namely Minsuh Choi ’23, Olivia DeMuth ’23, Kailyn Gibson ’22, Delaney Keenan MA ’23, Emily Neuner ’22, and Lina Wang ’24. Look for more new acquisitions selected by the Fall 2021 Acquiring Art students in the next iteration of Remixing the Hall later this month, including works by Guadalupe Maravilla and Allison Janae Hamilton.

Embodied Words: Reading in Medieval Christian Visual Culture

The Williams College Museum of Art is pleased to present Embodied Words: Reading in Medieval Christian Visual Culture, now on view. This thematic reinstallation of the museum’s medieval gallery brings together new and long-treasured objects from the WCMA collection with a selection of stunning illuminated manuscripts from Williams College’s Chapin Library.

In the Middle Ages, reading was thought to change you, physically and spiritually. Medieval people believed that words written and read, spoken and heard, could imprint on the brain, heart, and soul. The senses mediated the reception of these words. This ongoing exhibition demonstrates the embodied nature of reading in Christian Europe from the twelfth through the sixteenth centuries, with art from present-day Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. More than two dozen works on view include several books of hours—ornately-decorated personal guides for daily prayer—and an antiphonary, a large songbook whose letters are large enough to be seen by many and from a distance. Also on display are paintings and sculptures of saints holding books or texts. Saints, whether male or female, were often depicted with books to represent their understanding of scripture, and to signify their power and wealth.

Highlights of the exhibition include two gifts to WCMA from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation— Taddeo Gaddi’s 14th-century depiction of the prophet Isaiah holding a scroll, and a 15th-century Dutch panel painting depicting the Passion of Christ—as well as an illuminated Book of Hours (French; 1496) on loan from Williams College’s Chapin Library. Visitors to the exhibition are also encouraged to visit the Chapin Library, located on the fourth floor of Sawyer Library, across the street from the museum at 26 Hopkins Hall Drive, where they can see and hold manuscripts and printed books of hours.

Exhibition curator Elizabeth Sandoval, a specialist in medieval art and Curatorial Assistant at WCMA, drew inspiration for this reinterpretation of the collection in part from her 2018 doctoral thesis, “A Material Sign of Self: The Book as Metaphor and Representation in Fifteenth-Century Northern European Art.” In the Embodied Words introduction, Sandoval explains that during the Middle Ages, text was not confined to the pages of books but could be found everywhere in homes and public spaces: on paintings, architectural decoration, sculpture, furniture, clothing, jewelry, and bodies. How artists combined text and image informed the reading practices of medieval people. 

Despite the pervasiveness of text, however, societal norms around gender, class, and education determined whose words could be read. Women were considered readers, whereas certain educated men of means could read, write, and create. The physical aspects of reading, including eye movement and speech, were thought to interconnect with spiritual ones, including memory, understanding, and the soul’s arousal.

“I hope that visitors are surprised by how much our reading practices mirror those from centuries ago in the West, and especially by how rich WCMA’s collection is of such minutely detailed, precious medieval artworks,” Sandoval said.

“Elizabeth’s reinterpretation of medieval art in WCMA’s collection through the lens of visual culture, and the fundamental role of the written and spoken word, has breathed new life into the gallery space,” states Lisa Dorin, Deputy Director for Curatorial Engagement. “We are delighted to collaborate with the Chapin Library to bring these remarkable objects together for museum visitors to appreciate in new ways.”

Exhibition Credit

Elizabeth Sandoval, Curatorial Assistant, with Claire L’Heureux, MA ‘22, and Nicholas Liou, Mellon Curatorial Fellow and MA ’24.

Related Program

Curatorial Close Looks with Elizabeth Sandoval, curator of Embodied Words
May 18, 2022, noon ET, Zoom

About Williams College Museum of Art

The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) creates and inspires exceptional experiences with art that are integral to a liberal arts education, lifelong learning, and human connection. The Museum is a partner in nurturing the cross-disciplinary arts in support of a liberal arts education; advancing the academic and experiential preparation of arts leaders; enriching the cultural ecosystem; engaging artists; and creating a shared learning community that spurs new thinking, creative making, and civic engagement. Located on Main Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts, on the Williams College campus, the museum draws on the collaborative and multidisciplinary ethos of the surrounding college to enliven the more than 15,000 works in its growing collection. Admission is free. For current hours and more information, visit

About the Chapin Library

The Chapin Library is part of the Special Collections department at Sawyer Library, located at 26 Hopkins Hall Drive in Williamstown, on the Williams College campus. Special Collections advances the mission of Williams College by connecting rare books and manuscripts to teaching, research, and creative expression. The Chapin Library collects books, manuscripts, and other primary sources from antiquity to the present, as a foundation of learning for the Williams liberal arts curriculum. Researchers may use library material in the Weber Special Collections Reading Room on the 4th floor of Sawyer Library. The Special Collections department is open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 am–5 pm.


Choreopolitics: Brendan Fernandes & Nibia Pastrana Santiago

Choreopolitics juxtaposes the work of multidisciplinary artists Brendan Fernandes and nibia pastrana santiago, who use dance to resist, heal, and connect. Both previously trained in ballet, yet now they invert the style’s demands for spectacle, grace, and the illusion of ease. Fernandes reshapes and expands ballet through classical technique and experimental movement that challenge social and political spaces of hegemony. pastrana santiago, on the other hand, harnesses slowness, laziness, and exhaustion as a means of critiquing labor practices and training structures in ballet and the dance field more broadly. Together, their works exemplify what performance studies scholar André Lepecki calls “choreopolitics,” or planned and persistent movements of freedom. They confront dance’s histories of colonialism and marginalization, while pointing to dance’s potential for resistance. In Choreopolitics, Fernandes and pastrana santiago oppose conformity; refuse erasure; and strive towards freedom.

Celebrating the Fiber Arts: The Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery

Flynt Center of Early New England Life - Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery

The Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery showcases Historic Deerfield's important collection of fashion, needlework, and domestic textiles. The core of the collection was assembled through the efforts of one of the museum's founders, Helen Geier Flynt (1895-1986). Considered one of the finest collections in America, the collection contains items dating from the late 17th century through the mid-20th century.

Rotations and thematic displays every season are set against the backdrop of four main fibers that created most textiles before the 20th century; silk, wool, cotton, and linen. Together with the museum’s historic houses, the gallery displays a portion of the roughly 8,000 items in the fashion, needlework, and domestic textile collection. The gallery helps visitors consider the aesthetic and practical choices made and used by people in Deerfield, the Connecticut River Valley, New England, England, and Europe.

This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from The Coby Foundation,Ltd.

TEXTiles and Technology

Featured in the Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery in 2021 is an insightful display featuring a group of objects that used both the printed word and/or new innovations to decorate and improve life for people in the 19th and 20th centuries. The theme is explored through a selection of objects that include an engaging pair of printed cotton handkerchiefs, a rare pair of early 20th-century water wings, and a 19th-century hoop skirt patent – as well as an actual hoop skirt made to its specifications! 

TEXTiles and Technology is but one of the themes explored in the gallery, named for founder Helen Geier Flynt (1895-1986), whose interest and collecting focus helped found the core of the museum’s important fashion and textile collection, which today numbers some 8,000 pieces. 


Engraved Powder Horns from the French and Indian War and the American Revolution: The William H. Guthman Collection

Engraved Powder Horns from the French and Indian War and the American Revolution: The William H. Guthman Collection

Flynt Center of Early New England Life

One of the finest assemblages of this indigenous and unique American art form ever presented, these 75 powder horns offer a wealth of documentary information about the original owners and carvers who created them.


Into the Woods: Crafting Early American Furniture

Into the Woods: Crafting Early American Furniture

Flynt Center of Early New England Life - Friary Gallery

Explore a dazzling array of masterworks by famous American cabinetmakers including Duncan Phyfe and Honoré Lannuier, Samuel McIntire, John and Thomas Seymour, and John Townsend.  Learn about antique furniture from the inside out, and gain a new understanding of the materials and craftsmanship that went into the creation of these spectacular objects through graphics, before-and-after views of conservation treatments, and innovative “exploded view” display techniques. Into the Woods also features a special changing section, which will feature the study of different elements. Included with general admission.

Boston Furniture Masterworks at Historic Deerfield

Come visit the “Into the Woods” gallery at the Flynt Center of Early New England Life to view an impressive array of furniture produced in Boston in the 18th and 19th centuries. Rare and exceptional forms include an 18th-century japanned high chest, an18th-century turret-top tea table, and a 19th-century sideboard attributed to cabinetmakers John and Thomas Seymour.

Into the Woods was made possible by a grant from The Americana Foundation


Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts

Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts

Wright House (hours vary; please inquire as to open days and times)

Seating and case furniture made in Massachusetts before the 1840s is as varied as the craftsmen and consumers who created it. From Beacon Hill to the Berkshires, the extremes test the richness of the whole region. Yet, the great variety in the Bay State’s furniture making traditions begs the question: Why is the furniture so different statewide in each period from the 17th into the 19th centuries when so many cultural, social, economic, and political traditions appear unified? There are at least two answers to that question, as we test why things look as they do. The first rests with the tribal power of family networks with its control of mores and standards, capitalization of tools and labor, and accepted beauty and functionality. The second lies in the natural power of the landscape in its ability to feed, sustain, transport, and protect.

The furniture-making traditions in Western Massachusetts are the perfect laboratory for exploring the impact of family and landscape on the appearance of manmade goods. While numerous mercantile ties were built by ambitious Connecticut Valley families in Boston, Newport, New York City, and later the China Trade, their extensive cousinage created a kind of corporate whole that improved business and forged identity. At the same time, the north-south flow of the Connecticut River—New England’s “great river”—was a far more powerful current than any east-west political or cultural ties to Boston.

Historic Deerfield’s exhibition opened on September 28, 2013 in the Wright House as a semi-permanent installation, explores the impact of family and landscape on craftsmanship and consumerism through 1) the famous “Hadley” chests of the late 17th century and the other early regional shop traditions that they obscured; 2) the emergence of the consumer revolution, through both local craftsmen and urban imports, on the shoulders of the Valley’s elite “river god” families who funded themselves through agricultural exports and munitions for the colonial wars; 3) the post-American Revolution rise of classicism that largely eclipsed the “river gods” with new consumers and craftsmen who manifest different standards of taste, education, and trading partners enhanced by the Connecticut River’s new canal system; and 4) the 19th-century rise in wealth from burgeoning industry and technology, largely through the metalworking trades, that created yet another wave of consumers and craftsmen anxious to express their newfound wealth in modern ways. These four chapters are deeply rooted in sense of place and together show the importance of reading cultural history through documented objects.

Furniture Masterworks: Tradition and Innovation in Western Massachusetts explores Western Massachusetts’ first 150 years of furniture-making with 58 objects drawn from Historic Deerfield’s collections that best exemplify the region’s signature contribution to American design history and emergence of national identity. The exhibition is a part of Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture. Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture is a collaborative project of Historic Deerfield and ten other institutions that features exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations and publications to celebrate the Bay State’s legacy of furniture-making. Visit

Remixing The Hall

Borrowing a term from DJ culture, “Remixing” describes WCMA curators’ process of selecting objects from the collection that highlight multivalent correspondences between form and meaning in art. Although we have chosen works from many chronological periods and geographical areas, the museum’s holdings are in perpetual transition as we acquire new objects and conduct new research. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic and demands for social reckoning influenced the works we chose and our interpretations of them. We also reflected upon what it means to display objects that entered the collection as a result of colonialism and missionary work, and to do so here in Lawrence Hall, which was built on Mohican land with the proceeds of enslaved Black labor.

Just as one song might be remixed by many DJs, each in their own style, this installation is iterative and the objects on view will change over time. We have provided a loose thematic framework so that you can construct your own meaning from the infinite ways objects resonate with each other and with the present. In this presentation, we have emphasized themes of hybridity, transcendent states, encounters with the divine, the resilience of nature, growth, domesticity, and healing.

—Exhibition curators Destinee Filmore, Jordan Horton, Nicholas Liou,  Kevin M. Murphy,  and Elizabeth Sandoval


Frantz Zephirini: Selected Works

This selection of ten paintings by Haitian-born artist Frantz Zéphirin (b. 1968, Cap Haïtien), offers a window into the deeply mystical and spiritual nature of Haiti (Ayiti), the land of many mountains. The artist’s delicate, detailed vignettes give viewers the opportunity to wander, for a brief moment, among the loa (Haitian Vodou spirits).

Zéphirin’s paintings document scenes of Haitian spiritual life both materially and metaphysically, a pictorial practice that has a long tradition in Haitian art. He takes that tradition a step further, transforming the spirits into animals. As Zéphirin explains, “Look closely, in every person there is an animal; a monkey, an elephant, a crocodile, a giraffe… I see them in a gesture, an attitude, a character trait, and immediately fix them on the canvas.”

This exhibition was organized by guest curator and artist Tomm El-Saieh (b. 1984, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; lives and works in Miami) in conjunction with the exhibition of his paintings, Tomm El-Saieh: Imaginary City on view at the Clark Art Institute through December 31, along with WCMA Mellon Curatorial Fellows, Jordan Horton, MA ‘23 and Destinee Filmore, MA ‘24.

Deep Water

Deep Water is the third of a series of rotating exhibitions drawn from a single private collection of music photography. The photographs here bear witness to a wellspring period in modern jazz and blues, and celebrate Black musicians from the 1950s-‘60s including Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Thelonius Monk, Charlie Parker, and Nina Simone.

In James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” (1957), the narrator (brother to the titular piano player) describes a bandleader’s performance as a way of retelling (hi)stories, of making them feel immediate and alive. The narrator ponders the bandleader’s interaction with Sonny during the performance: “He was having a dialogue with Sonny. He wanted Sonny to leave the shoreline and strike out for the deep water. He was Sonny’s witness that deep water and drowning were not the same thing—he had been there, and he knew.”[2] In her book In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, cultural historian Christina Sharpe posits connections between the wake left behind by a ship’s passage (“from the forced movements of the enslaved to the forced movements of the migrant and the refugee”); a wake held in mourning of the dead (“Wakes are processes; through them we think about the dead and about our relations to them; they are rituals through which to enact grief and memory.”); and wake as in “being awake and, also, consciousness.”[3] Baldwin’s short story draws a related set of connections between deep water, remembrance, and the performance of blues music. In great jazz and blues, songs shift and grow as performers draw on their experience of and connection to lived and musical histories: each performance is a risk, as the musicians immerse themselves in those depths anew.

Beginning in the early 20th century, thousands of Black folks migrated to New York, seeking economic opportunity and escaping the violence and oppression of the Jim Crow South. Throughout this period, New York—including Harlem, where Baldwin’s story takes place—was central to both the jazz scene and to the growing civil rights movement. The Harlem riots of 1943 and 1964, triggered by police violence against Black people, inspired protests across the nation. Luminaries including Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Amiri Baraka frequented performance venues like the Apollo Theater, Savoy Ballroom, Minton’s Playhouse, Studio Rivbea, and Lenox Lounge, and drew inspiration from the improvisation and freedom of live performances by artists including those depicted in the photographs in Deep Water. Although America’s virulent racism ultimately led some of these artists, thinkers, and activists to emigrate across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe, jazz and blues remained foundational for the era’s activist music.

A coda at the end of the exhibition includes photographs of the next generation of musicians, artists, and activists—including Labelle, Sun Ra, Gil Scott-Heron, and Huey Newton—whose practices were shaped by 1950s and ‘60s jazz and blues as they ventured out for deep waters.

Text by Alexandra Foradas, Curator, and Manolis Sueuga, Williams College Art History Graduate Program Curatorial Fellow

Lady Pink

In 1979, while she was still a high school student, Lady Pink began writing graffiti and creating expansive murals on subway trains and industrial buildings in New York City. Her work often incorporates vivid renderings of feminine figures, brilliant colors, references to the subway cars on which she traveled and painted—and, always, the letters “PINK.”

Lady Pink’s crew named her Pink because she was one of the only graffiti writers on the scene at the time who was a woman—while she herself notes, “I titled myself Lady Pink because we were royalty.”[1] She reflects, “I was a feminist before I even knew what the word was. … A lot of those female themes are in my work because early on I could see we haven’t reached equality.”[2] She eventually founded the all-women graffiti crew, Ladies of the Arts.

During the late 1970s and the 1980s, the growing graffiti subculture in New York was the target of increased police surveillance and security, making Lady Pink’s successful missions to tag hard-to-access sites even more challenging and impressive. At the same time, graffiti artists’ renown grew within popular culture and the art world. In 1982, Lady Pink was featured in the film Wild Style, a fictionalized chronicle of the scene, also starring famed graffiti artists Fab 5 Freddy and Lee Quiñones. A year earlier, all three artists were part of the legendary New York/New Wave exhibition (MoMA P.S.1, New York) alongside artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sarah Charlesworth, Keith Haring, Maripol, and Robert Mapplethorpe.


Sol LeWitts: Structures

A new adjunct to MASS MoCA’s long-running Sol LeWitt exhibition A Wall Drawing Retrospective, a concise selection of the artists’ three-dimensional sculptures is on view in B6: The Robert W. Wilson Building. The works illustrate the generative potential for LeWitt’s serial approach.

Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer

The long-term exhibition—realized in collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation—includes Étroits sont les Vaisseaux (Narrow are the Vessels) (2002), an 82-foot long, undulating wave-like sculpture made of cast concrete, exposed rebar, and lead; The Women of the Revolution (Les Femmes de la Revolution) (1992), comprised of more than twenty lead beds with photographs and wall text; Velimir Chlebnikov (2004), a steel pavilion containing 30 paintings dealing with nautical warfare and inspired by the quixotic theories of the Russian mathematical experimentalist Velimir Chlebnikov; and a new, large-format photograph on lead created by the artist for the installation at MASS MoCA.

Anselm Kiefer, who first visited MASS MoCA in 1990 when the museum was still in the early planning stages, ranks among the best-known and most important of post-World War II German artists living and working today. Born in 1945 in southern Germany during the final days of the collapse of the Third Reich, Kiefer experienced divided postwar Germany firsthand. Across his body of work, Kiefer argues with history, addressing controversial and even taboo issues from recent history with bold directness and lyricism. Kiefer often turns to literature and history as prime source material for his work, as he did, for example, in the suite of paintings that comprise Velimir Chlebnikov (2004).

The artist often builds his imagery on top of photographs, layering his massive canvases with dirt, lead, straw, and other materials that generate a “ground” that reads literally of the earth itself. Within these thick, impastoed surfaces Kiefer embeds textual or symbolic references to historic figures or places; these become encoded signals through which Kiefer invokes and processes history.

A law student, Kiefer switched his studies to art in 1965 and held his first solo exhibit in 1969. During the early 1970s he studied with conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, whose interest in using an array of cultural myths, metaphors, and personal symbolic vocabulary as a means to engage and understand history inspired Kiefer. The artist has described his own art-making process as stimulated by Beuys’ philosophies: “Painting, for me, is not just about creating an illusion. I don’t paint to present an image of something. I paint only when I have received an apparition, a shock, when I want to transform something. Something that possesses me, and from which I have to deliver myself. Something I need to transform, to metabolize, and which gives me a reason to paint.” Like Beuys, whose works were often constructed of fragile, organic materials (including blood, fat, and honey), Kiefer’s works often incorporate unusual, fugitive materials such as ash, clay, and dried plant materials. With their rough-hewn textures and expansive narrative formats that often evoke charred landscape and historical, sometimes apocalyptic settings, Kiefer’s work did not conform to the pared-down Minimalist or Conceptualist movements that were becoming mainstream at the time he was a student. Instead he created massive, dark paintings, books constructed of large sheets of lead, and figurative works that explored German folklore and were inspired by Caspar David Friedrich, among others.

Amy Yoes: Hot Corners

Amy Yoes: Hot Corners

Amy Yoes’ site-specific installation Hot Corners, on view starting May 28, 2022, will transform a 142-foot hall space in MASS MoCA’s Building 6 into a multi-room, immersive complex with thematic forms and functions. Each of the installation’s five rooms—the Foyer, the Parlor, the Library, the Theatre, and the Drawing Room—will be designed with custom-built mobile furniture acting as shifting set pieces for a variety of functions including artmaking, socializing, reflection, and performance. Rather than static and fixed, the installation is a set of evolving propositions and possibilities. Combining Yoes’ passion for architecture, period rooms, interior design, and decorative arts in a dynamic environment Hot Corners will serve as a destination space for interactive participation.

Fabric of Time: New England History Told Through Domestic Art

Fabric of Time: New England History Told Through Domestic Art

This new exhibit at Memorial Hall Museum looks at the history of quilting in New England and explores how quilters expressed their aspirations and observations through their art.

With 20 quilts and related objects spanning more than two and a half centuries, visitors can see the enduring traditions and technological advancements and learn how they impacted the creative forces behind some of New England’s domestic art.

We’re proud to be partnering with Sisters in Stitches Joined by the Cloth—a guild keeping the traditions of African American quilting alive. We’re honored that they are loaning us “Roots,” a strip-pieced quilt made entirely from donated fabric and created collaboratively by the guild members. It will be a centerpiece in our new Fabric of Time exhibit, which looks at the enduring values of New England women through the quilts they created.

Memorial Hall Museum is open 11 am to 4:30 pm Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday) through October 31, 2022 Unless fully vaccinated, visitors are required to wear a mask.

Thank you for helping to keep our community safe. All museum staff are fully vaccinated.

A Tale of Two Fiddles - Perception vs. Reality

By contrasting an historical depiction of Black performers to the lived experience of one contemporary Black musician and entrepreneur, we can see how perception and reality diverged from one another and left lasting impacts on the ways we view issues of race today.
Music Room

The Effect of the Mist

The Effect of the Mist
From 1885 to 1920, the Misses Allen—Frances and Mary— traveled the Deerfield region capturing small-town life and agricultural landscapes during the four seasons and in all kinds of weather. They also visited California, as well as Great Britain where Mary noted their approach, “It rains – the soft kindly English rain – but we stop and photograph in the midst – the effect of the mist being too beautiful to lose.” This exhibit features Allen Sister landscapes of Deerfield and beyond.

Edward and Orra Hitchcock

Edward and Orra Hitchcock
He was one of the most accomplished scientists of the 19th century. She was a scientific illustrator whose work is still acclaimed today. This exhibit, in the very room where they met, looks at their lifelong collaboration and their many accomplishments which still have an impact in the 21st century. Produced in conjunction with PVMA’s website Impressions from a Lost World:

After the Attack: Life, Loss, & the Legacy of Eunice Williams

After the Attack: Life, Loss, & the Legacy of Eunice Williams

The same cultures that came together in war also came together in peace. This redesigned exhibit tells the complex story of cross-cultural connections and the lasting impacts of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield.
1704 Gallery – 2nd Floor

In With the Old - In With the New

In With the Old - In With the New

There are many reasons that works of art end up in a museum’s collection; some are obvious, others may surprise you. This exhibit looks at a number of recent additions to the museum’s collection, and why they were added.
Hallway – 1st Floor

Mary Ann Unger: To Shape a Moon from Bone

Mary Ann Unger: To Shape a Moon from Bone reconsiders the multidisciplinary practice of one of the twentieth century’s great artists

Exhibition brings the artist’s dynamic sculpture into conversation with the museum’s global collection and work by Unger’s daughter, artist Eve Biddle

The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) is delighted to announce Mary Ann Unger: To Shape a Moon from Bone, a project consisting of a retrospective survey on view from July 15 through December 22, 2022, as well as a groundbreaking publication. Organized by Horace D. Ballard, former Curator of American Art at WCMA and currently the Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. Associate Curator of American Art at Harvard Art Museums, the exhibition and catalog offer the first curatorial assessment of the entirety of Unger's practice and highlight key works as culminating examples of her material experimentation.

Rising to prominence in the downtown New York art scene in the 1980s and 1990s, Mary Ann Unger (1945–1998) was skilled in graphic composition, watercolor, large-scale conceptual sculpture, and environmentally-responsive, site-specific interventions. An unabashed feminist dedicated to discourse and collective action, and an active member of the Guerrilla Girls, Unger was acknowledged as a pioneer of neo-expressionist sculptural form. Roberta Smith, writing in The New York Times at the time of the artist’s death, asserted that Unger’s “works occupied a territory defined by Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois. But the pieces combined a sense of mythic power with a sensitivity to shape that was all their own, achieving a subtlety of expression that belied their monumental scale.” To Shape a Moon from Bone reexamines the formal and cultural intricacies of Unger’s oeuvre, as well as the critical environmental themes suffusing her monumental installations. The exhibition repositions Unger within and against the male dominated New York sculpture scene in the last decades of the twentieth century.

To Shape a Moon from Bone is Unger’s first solo museum presentation in more than twenty years since the McDonough Museum of Art at Youngstown State University (Ohio) presented a fifteen-year retrospective in 2000. The artist’s monumental homage to prehistoric migration, Across the Bering Strait (1992–94), will be on view in concert with previously unseen works on paper and other sculptural works from the Mary Ann Unger Estate, as well as special loans from the Whitney Museum of American Art and Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, in order to reintroduce Unger’s expansive practice to a new generation. Works by Unger’s daughter Eve Biddle, artist and co-founder of the Wassaic Project, bring two generations of a family of artists—which includes Unger’s husband, noted photographer Geoffrey Biddle—into abundant conversation around memory and material evidence.

José Guadalupe Posada: Symbols, Skeletons, and Satire

José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) was recognized already in 1888 as “the foremost caricaturist, the foremost graphic artist” of his native Mexico. A tireless producer of caricatures and satirical imagery for the penny press, Posada built his career in an era of political repression and lived to see the profound social changes brought by the Mexican Revolution of 1910. His pictorial contributions to broadsides, or ephemeral news sheets, provided a daily diet of information and entertainment to a public for whom images needed to tell the story since literacy was not widely prevalent at that time.  Posada’s highly varied images of noticias—lurid crimes, current scandals, and other sensational stories—constitute only a part of his extensive output. Reused and reprinted, sometimes until they wore out, his beloved illustrations also encompass religious subjects, ballads, and children’s books and games. Posada is best known for his sheets of calaveras (skeletons), which figured in popular rituals around the Day of the Dead but were also adapted into satires of political figures and other individuals. Whether playful or trenchant, vernacular or surreal, Posada’s imagery continues to delight. This exhibition, drawn from the extensive collection of Posada’s works at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, showcases the vibrant visual culture of Mexico in the years before its 1910 Revolution. 

This exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Anne Leonard, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. 


Tauba Auerbach and Yuji Agematsu: Meander

This exhibition pairs new work by Tauba Auerbach and Yuji Agematsu, across parallel galleries in the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, under the rubric of the meander, as both noun and verb, motif and method. For Auerbach (b. 1981, San Francisco; lives and works in New York), this twisting, self-avoiding line traces global traditions of ornament as much as physical waveforms and space-filling curves in geometry. The artist’s restless experimentation in a range of media produces work that is as rigorous as it is visually arresting: calligraphic drawing, infrared imaging, and large-format painting are all part of Auerbach’s complex and expanding universe.

For Agematsu (b. 1956, Kanagawa, Japan, lives and works in New York) and his practice of walking, collecting, and archiving, meander implies drift—both his own paths through New York City and those of other people and things. Agematsu’s handheld sculptures are like small worlds. The flotsam he finds—a foil wrapper, spent fireworks, a fishbone—interest him both aesthetically and anthropologically. Each one marks the time of the artist’s daily ritual, the space of the city, and its movement of people and things.

In plainly different ways, both artists study the rules that govern flows of matter and energy in the universe, between chaos and order, intuition and analysis, the minute and the massive.

This exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Robert Wiesenberger, associate curator of contemporary projects.


Autographs and Timeless Wisdom - Original Susan B. Anthony Quote and Signature Exhibit

Original Susan B. Anthony Quote and Signature Exhibit

The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum is proud to present its “Autographs and Timeless Wisdom” exhibit set to open on August 26th in honor of Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the day women were first given the right to vote in 1920. The exhibit will feature a recently donated Gilded Age era autograph book holding Susan B. Anthony’s authenticated quote and signature. 

The hand-written quote may be the only one in existence as it is undocumented in any of Anthony’s archived speeches or correspondence. Dated 1900 in Rochester, New York, the entry reads, “Whether possessed of the characteristics of the oak, the vine or the flower all truly developed human beings love liberty and demand for themselves and their fellows the possession of equality of rights, privileges and immunities irrespective of sex or any mere accident of birth!”

In addition to Anthony’s salutation, the 5”x9” leather-bound volume holds the signatures and words of prominent American social reformers, scientists, and writers. These include, among others, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Hellen Keller. 

The exhibit will also highlight the entries of two prominent suffragists and reformers Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Julia Ward Howe, credited with the founding of Mother’s Day. 

Nine Presidents including Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Calvin Coolidge also signed the book. While most autograph books contain signatures of family members and acquaintances, this book’s focus on famous contemporary Americans makes it especially unique. 

All pages of the book have been digitized and will be available for viewing on the kiosk in the museum’s kitchen.

Additionally, the new exhibit will present the history and tradition of the 19th century autograph book and information about the book’s owner who bestowed it to the Birthplace. Also included is an interactive section for children to practice their own signatures.

Anthony’s words from her entry are our mission, our virtue. The Museum strives to carry on her vision. The quote beautifully reflects the unwavering dedication to liberty, equality, and human rights Anthony pursued throughout her lifelong career as suffragist, abolitionist, and social reformer. 

The museum thanks Massachusetts residents Terry Maitland and Gail Clock for donating the autograph book that belonged to their family for three generations.


Carolyn Webb - Work on Paper: Drawings and Print

September 1 - October 30

Carolyn Webb - Work on Paper: Drawings and Print
About the Artist: A deep curiosity about the natural world, combined with a sense that all that we easily see is not the entire story, inspires my sculpture and printmaking. Underlying the complexity of the known world, I intuit systems that echo, repeat and grow within a grand wholeness. My earliest childhood awareness/memory of life as a spiritual situation colors all of my observations and prompts me to seek what I term, “essential forms”, that is, forms distilled from plant, animal or human anatomy. 
Through these found and/or invented forms, I strive to express and honor the singing quality any living thing exudes. Joy and loss, as well as tension between the familiar and the mysterious are also important dynamics embodied in each work.
Always, I desire to make objects that resonate with their own truth, that stand on their own as presences, as meaningful signifiers of the wonder we have always known, yet forgotten or not seen in our haste and distraction

Williams Hays - Reduction Linocut Prints

Williams Hays - Reduction Linocut Prints
Since beginning a full-time commitment to printmaking in 2012, William H. Hays has established a national and international reputation as a master printmaker. His intricate relief prints have sold the world over, but he has held off launching a solo exhibit of his prints until now.
Salmon Falls Gallery was the first gallery in the country to show William’s work in 2012.  Join us to welcome this selection of his recent works from his studio in Turners Falls.

About the Artist: Turners Falls artist William Hays has been creating beautiful works of art for more than 40 years. He began painting in watercolors as a teenager and eventually ended up with a degree in sculpture from the University of Alaska in Anchorage. After moving to Vermont from Alaska in 1987, he concentrated on painting in oils. He was regularly recognized as one of the region's leading painters creating primarily landscape images. His works in linocut prints began in 2007 with the encouragement of his late wife, Patricia. Since 2012 Hays has concentrated exclusively on printmaking. Hays' work is frequently included in juried exhibitions regionally and nationally where he has been singled out for recognition. His artworks grace the walls of private collectors in more than a dozen countries around the world. His work is exhibited in fine art galleries in the United States.
He says, "Landscape is the foundation of my inspiration. I often work more from memory or an impression than from a particular place. The compositions are the framework on which I hang a sequence of layered colors in rhythmic patterns to create a mood and a harmonious image. Using reduction printing techniques and multiple blocks allows me a level of complexity that suits my drive to create artworks which evoke my imaginings, my experiences, my creations."

"The technical challenges and severe limitations of the medium have become a part of my natural vocabulary with time. I have become very fluid in changing many aspects of my original design as I go along. I'll often add additional blocks as I progress. The process of carving and printing an edition offers me much time to consider every aspects of each print as I am working. Most of the decisions about color are made during this time according to what has come before in the sequence of printing."
Since 2002 William has written extensively about the process of creating his art - from sketches and photographs through step-by-step illustrations, on to the final product. An archive of his writing, artwork and photographs can be found on his blog page, along with additional articles from other sources. William has also written an essay explaining his reduction linocut printing process.


Yankee Candle Village – Fall Fun Weekends

Yankee Candle Village – Fall Fun Weekends

September 3rd – October 30th


Every Weekend

Games - We’ve got plenty of games for you to play — even a candy jar guessing game!

Scavenger Hunts - Search for clues through- out the store & submit your checklist for a chance to win a Wax Works package for 4!

Crafts -Starting at 11am, while supplies last!

Raffles - Every weekend, we’ll be raffling off a gift basket worth $220! (prizes may vary)


September Events

Food Collection - September is Hunger Action Month — bring in a non- perishable food donation and be entered to win a Wax Works package for 4!

Labor Day Weekend – Live Music from T.J. & the Peepers


Service Appreciation Weekend - September 24th – 25th

Get 30% off your purchase & a free Car Jar® when you show a govt. or military ID!

Meet the South Deerfield Police & Fire Dept. Saturday 12pm-4pm!


October Events

Hay Rides - Every weekend in October!

Columbus Day Weekend - October 8th – 10th

Live Music from T.J. & the Peepers!

Meet Tom Ricardi & his Birds of Prey on Sunday & Monday!

Halloween Celebration - October 22nd – 23rd Dress in costume and join our costume parade!

Go Trick-or-Treating all around the Village!



The Living Landscape: Robert Strong Woodward

Featuring 20 original works by acclaimed Western Mass landscape artist Robert Strong Woodward, including recently discovered and never-before-exhibited works.

Nice and Easy Trail Hike

10:00 a.m.—12:30 p.m.

Nice and Easy Trail Hike

September 2nd, September 10th & September 30th 

Easy-paced, one to 3-mile guided hikes, geared toward seniors but open to all ages. A wonderful opportunity to join other hiking enthusiasts! Dress for variable weather and wear sturdy boots. Hiking poles recommended. Bring drinking water, bug repellent and a snack. Program duration 1 and 1/2 —2 and 1/2 hours. Inclement weather cancels. Meeting locations vary each week. Please call the Visitor Center in advance at (413) 499-4262 to verify meeting locations, program status and

weather information.

Shelburne Falls Farmers' Market

Time: (2:00pm - 6:00pm)

Drop by for some fresh, local vegetables from our wonderful growers. Purchase fresh, home-made bread and other treats. Pick up your local, pasture raised eggs and meat. Find hand-spun wools and other hand-made gifts.Every week we will have musicians playing on the green, you are invited to come dance, play, eat or just relax and enjoy your Friday evening with us.

One Friday each month is dedicated to a special market day:

Summer Solstice Celebration – June
Children’s Day – July
Barbeque Day- August
Customer Appreciation Day – September
Cider Day – October

Please visit our Facebook page for more updates on the market, our vendors, and our special days dates!

Westminster Farmers Market

The Westminster Farmers' Market is committed to enhancing their local economy by bringing together local food producers and making their products easily available to the public.

Grass-fed beef, Pastured Pork, Goat Cheese, Cheddars and Goudas, Milk, Artisan Breads, fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, seedlings,eggs, artisan soaps, handcrafted cutting boards, bird houses, jewelry, alpaca wool, household items and crafts, fudge, wood-fired pizza, pesto, salsa, ice cream

Every Friday afternoon we have local musicians creating an upbeat atmosphere that keeps the market hoping. Entertainment At The Gazebo 2022 Schedule - (subject to change without notice due to artist cancellations and/or weather- related issues)

May 13th Nate Grigos

May 20th Jeff Mendoza

May 27th Chris Baum

June 3th Shear Bros.

June 10th Dave Malouin

June 17th Joe Reidy

June 24th Sean Fullerton

July 1st John Sullivan

July 8th Dave Malouin

July 15th Bob Jordan

July 22nd Hip Swayers

July 29th Big River Jazz Band

August 5th Jeff Mendoza

August 12th Sean Fullerton

August 19th Hip Swayers

August 26th Kathryn Swantee

September 2nd John Sullivan

September 9th Ward Bowie

September 16th Chris Baum

September 23rd Bob Jordan

September 30th Joe Reidy

October 7th Kathryn Swantee

October 14th Nate Grigos

October 21st Sean Fullerton

The Westminster Farmers’ Market is Sponsored by the Westminster Agricultural Commission


Entertainment at the Gazebo in Westminster

Every Friday afternoon we have local musicians creating an upbeat atmosphere that keeps the market hoping.

Entertainment At The Gazebo 2022 Schedule - (subject to change without notice due to artist cancellations and/or weather- related issues)

May 13th Nate Grigos

May 20th Jeff Mendoza

May 27th Chris Baum

June 3th Shear Bros.

June 10th Dave Malouin

June 17th Joe Reidy

June 24th Sean Fullerton

July 1st John Sullivan

July 8th Dave Malouin

July 15th Bob Jordan

July 22nd Hip Swayers

July 29th Big River Jazz Band

August 5th Jeff Mendoza

August 12th Sean Fullerton

August 19th Hip Swayers

August 26th Kathryn Swantee

September 2nd John Sullivan

September 9th Ward Bowie

September 16th Chris Baum

September 23rd Bob Jordan

September 30th Joe Reidy

October 7th Kathryn Swantee

October 14th Nate Grigos

October 21st Sean Fullerton

The Westminster Farmers’ Market is Sponsored by the Westminster Agricultural Commission

Petersham Farmer Market

Time: (10:00am - 1:00pm)

At the Petersham Friday Market, more than a 2 dozen local farm families and crafters offer organic produce, fresh corn and other produce, locally raised meat, chicken, local eggs, local honey, baked goods, home-baked dog cookies, herbal remedies, handmade soaps and other craft items. The menu of choices changes with the seasons.
Also promotes programs offered by Petersham Grange 95 and by local healthcare and social service accessible place from which those groups can deliver information to the public.
The Friday Market offers its program of free music each Friday


May 27 - Petersham Jams Band

June 3 - Steve Benson Sitar

June 10 - Lunar Carnival

June 17 - The Equalites

June 24 - Walkin' Antiques

July 1 - Tribe

July 8 - Nate Martel

July 15 - Hip Swayers

July 22 - Chuck and Mud

July 29 - Walter Crockett

August 12 - Stone Line

August 19 - Joel Cage

August 26 - Brian Bender & Robbie Roiter Jazz Duo

September 2 - Gumbo Jumbo Dixieland Band

September 9 - East Hill Band

September 16 - Yiddishkeit Klezmer Ensemble
September 23 - Drew Paton

September 30 - Eric Phelps

October 7 - Big Chief Band

October 14 -TBA

October 21 -TBA

That's all folks