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Events December 2021

12/01/2021 (Wednesday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/02/2021 (Thursday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/03/2021 (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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Franklin County Rotary Club/Greenfield Kiwanis Club The Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees

The event, co-hosted by the Franklin County Rotary Club and the Greenfield Kiwanis Club will take place at

Aromatic Fillers at 253 Greenfield Road in South Deerfield, MA

Over three weekends Friday and Saturday beginning Nov. 26.

Friday November 26th, December 3rd & 10th  from 5:00- - 8:00 PM

Saturday, November 27th, December 4th & 11th from noon- 6:00 PM

As many 100 or more decorated trees sponsored by local businesses, families or individuals, all of which will be raffled off at the end of the three-weekend event, on Sunday, Dec. 12, the raffle winner of each tree will be contacted and a time will be scheduled to pick up the tree.

 

12/04/2021 (Saturday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Santa & Mrs. Claus @ Kringle Candle

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be visiting weekends - 11:00am – 3:00 pm

Weekends:

November 20th & 21st and November 27th & -28th

December 4th & 5th , December 11th & 12th and December 18th & 19th

Photos with Santa  - bring your camera to take your own photos with kids. Santa will be walking around as well as there will be a couple of photo ops for kids/family and Santa (standing photos - no lap-sitting).

Experience The Permanent Collection - Weekly Gallery Talk @ The Clark

Saturdays starting at 11:15 am (September 2021 through June 2022)

Clark educators lead guided talks in the galleries. Enjoy a close look at some visitor favorites as you discover the history of the museum and get to know the Clark’s collection today.
This program is free with gallery admission. Registration is not required. Meet in the Museum Pavilion, near the entrance to the permanent collection galleries.

 

Franklin County Rotary Club/Greenfield Kiwanis Club The Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees

The event, co-hosted by the Franklin County Rotary Club and the Greenfield Kiwanis Club will take place at

Aromatic Fillers at 253 Greenfield Road in South Deerfield, MA

Over three weekends Friday and Saturday beginning Nov. 26.

Friday November 26th, December 3rd & 10th from 5:00- - 8:00 PM

Saturday, November 27th, December 4th & 11th from noon- 6:00 PM

As many 100 or more decorated trees sponsored by local businesses, families or individuals, all of which will be raffled off at the end of the three-weekend event, on Sunday, Dec. 12, the raffle winner of each tree will be contacted and a time will be scheduled to pick up the tree.

 

Mother Goose on the Loose – Story Time

Mother Goose on the Loose – Story Time

Saturdays at 1:00 pm

Ages birth to 3 on an adult lap

This event is free

Dates:

Saturday, October 9th & 16th  

Saturday, October 23rd - no story hour

Saturday, October 30th  - Halloween Story Hour, costumes optional, all ages

Saturday, November 6th 13th, 20th

Saturday, November 27th  - no story time for holiday weekend

Saturday, December 4th  - last Mother Goose on the Loose in the series

Holiday season break starts

This event is indoor and masked need to be worn – Thank You

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12/05/2021 (Sunday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Santa & Mrs. Claus @ Kringle Candle

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be visiting weekends - 11:00am – 3:00 pm

Weekends:

November 20th & 21st and November 27th & -28th

December 4th & 5th , December 11th & 12th and December 18th & 19th

Photos with Santa  - bring your camera to take your own photos with kids. Santa will be walking around as well as there will be a couple of photo ops for kids/family and Santa (standing photos - no lap-sitting).

12/06/2021 (Monday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/07/2021 (Tuesday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/08/2021 (Wednesday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/09/2021 (Thursday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/10/2021 (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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Franklin County Rotary Club/Greenfield Kiwanis Club The Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees

The event, co-hosted by the Franklin County Rotary Club and the Greenfield Kiwanis Club will take place at

Aromatic Fillers at 253 Greenfield Road in South Deerfield, MA

Over three weekends Friday and Saturday beginning Nov. 26.

Friday November 26th, December 3rd & 10th  from 5:00- - 8:00 PM

Saturday, November 27th, December 4th & 11th from noon- 6:00 PM

As many 100 or more decorated trees sponsored by local businesses, families or individuals, all of which will be raffled off at the end of the three-weekend event, on Sunday, Dec. 12, the raffle winner of each tree will be contacted and a time will be scheduled to pick up the tree.

 

12/11/2021 (Saturday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Santa & Mrs. Claus @ Kringle Candle

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be visiting weekends - 11:00am – 3:00 pm

Weekends:

November 20th & 21st and November 27th & -28th

December 4th & 5th , December 11th & 12th and December 18th & 19th

Photos with Santa  - bring your camera to take your own photos with kids. Santa will be walking around as well as there will be a couple of photo ops for kids/family and Santa (standing photos - no lap-sitting).

Experience The Permanent Collection - Weekly Gallery Talk @ The Clark

Saturdays starting at 11:15 am (September 2021 through June 2022)

Clark educators lead guided talks in the galleries. Enjoy a close look at some visitor favorites as you discover the history of the museum and get to know the Clark’s collection today.
This program is free with gallery admission. Registration is not required. Meet in the Museum Pavilion, near the entrance to the permanent collection galleries.

 

Franklin County Rotary Club/Greenfield Kiwanis Club The Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees

The event, co-hosted by the Franklin County Rotary Club and the Greenfield Kiwanis Club will take place at

Aromatic Fillers at 253 Greenfield Road in South Deerfield, MA

Over three weekends Friday and Saturday beginning Nov. 26.

Friday November 26th, December 3rd & 10th from 5:00- - 8:00 PM

Saturday, November 27th, December 4th & 11th from noon- 6:00 PM

As many 100 or more decorated trees sponsored by local businesses, families or individuals, all of which will be raffled off at the end of the three-weekend event, on Sunday, Dec. 12, the raffle winner of each tree will be contacted and a time will be scheduled to pick up the tree.

 

12/12/2021 (Sunday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Santa & Mrs. Claus @ Kringle Candle

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be visiting weekends - 11:00am – 3:00 pm

Weekends:

November 20th & 21st and November 27th & -28th

December 4th & 5th , December 11th & 12th and December 18th & 19th

Photos with Santa  - bring your camera to take your own photos with kids. Santa will be walking around as well as there will be a couple of photo ops for kids/family and Santa (standing photos - no lap-sitting).

12/13/2021 (Monday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/14/2021 (Tuesday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/15/2021 (Wednesday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/16/2021 (Thursday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/17/2021 (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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/18/2021 (Saturday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Santa & Mrs. Claus @ Kringle Candle

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be visiting weekends - 11:00am – 3:00 pm

Weekends:

November 20th & 21st and November 27th & -28th

December 4th & 5th , December 11th & 12th and December 18th & 19th

Photos with Santa  - bring your camera to take your own photos with kids. Santa will be walking around as well as there will be a couple of photo ops for kids/family and Santa (standing photos - no lap-sitting).

Experience The Permanent Collection - Weekly Gallery Talk @ The Clark

Saturdays starting at 11:15 am (September 2021 through June 2022)

Clark educators lead guided talks in the galleries. Enjoy a close look at some visitor favorites as you discover the history of the museum and get to know the Clark’s collection today.
This program is free with gallery admission. Registration is not required. Meet in the Museum Pavilion, near the entrance to the permanent collection galleries.

 

12/19/2021 (Sunday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

Santa & Mrs. Claus @ Kringle Candle

Santa & Mrs. Claus will be visiting weekends - 11:00am – 3:00 pm

Weekends:

November 20th & 21st and November 27th & -28th

December 4th & 5th , December 11th & 12th and December 18th & 19th

Photos with Santa  - bring your camera to take your own photos with kids. Santa will be walking around as well as there will be a couple of photo ops for kids/family and Santa (standing photos - no lap-sitting).

12/20/2021 (Monday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/21/2021 (Tuesday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/22/2021 (Wednesday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from their culture also contributed to the demise of the language. At the ArtBar, visitors can listen to the artist’s father speak Crow words for animals and then interpret them as part of a community drawing project. Red Star’s drawing activity builds awareness of her Native language and demonstrates the importance of clear and accurate communication across cultures (and perhaps its impossibility). 

About the Artist

Artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonization, both historically and in contemporary society. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Red Star’s work is informed both by her heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in work that is at once inquisitive, witty and unsettling. Intergenerational collaborative work is integral to her practice, along with creating a wider forum for the expression of Native women’s voices in contemporary art.

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.

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

Glenn Kainoin The Light of A Shadow

I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away. How long, how long must we sing this song?

The refrain bears repeating: how long must we sing this song?

On March 7, 1965, in Selma, Alabama, John Lewis and Hosea Williams led 600 protestors in a march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a nonviolent action intended to spotlight civil rights violations, while also demanding voting rights. Known as Bloody Sunday, the peaceful protestors were attacked by troopers with tear gas. Many were beaten, leaving marchers hospitalized.

How long must we sing this song?

On January 30, 1972, 15,000 protestors marched from Bishop’s Field in Derry, Northern Ireland, in protest of violations of civil rights by the British government. British military opened fire, killing and injuring dozens. In Ireland, this date is also referred to as Bloody Sunday and has been memorialized by U2 through their iconic song of the same name.

How long must we sing this song?

On February 23, 2020, the unarmed Ahmaud Arbery was shot in Georgia while out jogging, by two white men. The police initially made no arrests. Less than a month later, on March 13, Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in Louisville, Kentucky, by plain-clothed police officers who entered her home with a no-knock search warrant. And then on May 25th George Floyd, a 46-year old unarmed black man was brutally murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. The protests erupted yet again; Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police became rallying cries.

How long must we sing this song?

These instances are but a fraction of the many.

The song Sunday Bloody Sunday, originally written by U2 in 1983, is a plea for civil rights. It is no coincidence that the title for the song comes from the number of violent protests or civil rights throughout history. And once again, today, as we hear the news, this song rises forth again, all too pertinent decades later. Hands Up Don’t Shoot. I Can’t Breathe. Black Lives Matter.

Artist Glenn Kaino brings the idea of this song into the 21st century starting with the events of May 30, 2020. On this date, Deon Jones, a long-time collaborator and team member of Glenn Kaino Studio, was peacefully protesting in Los Angeles after the death of George Floyd when police shot him at close range in the face with a rubber bullet. One inch lower, and he would have lost his hearing. One inch higher, and he would have been dead.

This project started last year with a sculpture of a circular arrangement of metal bars. It was a type of wall that Kaino envisioned “had bent upon itself into a circle. A device that once separated now connected, but problematically so.” Each bar is sectioned into varying lengths to play a specific musical note when hit with a baton. Struck in sequence, the bars play the guitar track from U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday. This sculpture conjures the intimidating structures often used in contexts of political suppression and border divisions, yet, through the creation of this sculpture, Kaino transforms the barrier into an instrument that gives voice through a powerful piece of music. This instrument serves as a backdrop for images of protest through history, but mostly it serves as a platform for Jones, face still swollen, to sing, to plead: How long must we sing this song.

Immediately following Jones’ attack and recovery, Kaino rallied an all-star cast of collaborators to his side – including Butch Vig, Jon Batiste, and Glenn Kotche – to re-imagine and re-contextualize the classic U2 song around Jones, who is also a vocalist. The song starts with the sculpture as an instrument, played by Kotche, expands with Batiste on the piano, and then is fully realized with Jones’ singing. He sings with passion and despair, channeling his responsibility as a public voice in a chorus speaking out against police violence. In the accompanying video, directed by Kaino and shot by Larry Fong, Jones sings for us, “I can’t believe the news today. I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.” He sings again and again, “How long must we sing this song?” A refrain seemingly meant for this moment, but tragically nearly 30 years old.

Jones’ rendition of Sunday Bloody Sunday is the first component of Glenn Kaino’s exhibition In the Light of a Shadow, which will open at MASS MoCA in February 2021. It is a hopeful gesture, offering the promise of new possibility — a desperately needed emotional experience in this anxiety-ridden moment. This exhibition allows us to look at the intersectionality between the history of civil rights and the racial and ecological implications of the global pandemic. The video will debut on Kaino’s new digital platform, Ships, which will initiate and extend the dialogue around a wide range of studio activities, in exhibitions, film, and across the digital and experiential worlds.

 

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.

Repro Japan: Technologies of Popular Visual Culture

In Japan’s Edo period (1603–1868), the growth of urban audiences and new popular entertainments from kabuki theater to travel tourism developed in tandem with new printing technologies. This resulted in the rise of new forms of visual culture—including color woodblock prints and printed textiles—that could be mass produced, transformed, and consumed.

Subsequently, photography and electronic media have fostered the global spread of Japanese popular visual culture, including manga, anime, cosplay, and subcultural fashion. This spread across different technologies, eras, and cultures has produced an incredible diversity of material—reproductions, appropriations, reverse-importations, parodies, remixes, and tributes. At the same time, the central themes and motifs—sports, fashion, and fighting, along with fantasies of all kinds—have remained remarkably consistent.  

These themes and media technologies are integrally linked with the human body: as subject, maker, performer, viewer, and consumer. Bodies represented in 18th-century prints, 19th-century photographs, and 20th-century anime cels are seen taking similar actions, from gazing in mirrors to exchanging blows. These bodies can be read variously as objectified or self-actualized; as violated, celebrated, or liberated; as objects of pure, popular consumption or as nuanced critiques of consumption itself.

 

In line with the most recent updates to Williams College campus policies, WCMA is now requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all visitors ages 5 and up. Adults 18 and older will be asked to show a photo ID with their proof of vaccination. Members of the college community can enter with only their Williams ID. Masks are still required for all visitors to the museum.

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

Competing Currents: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints

This exhibition explores two parallel Japanese print-making movements through the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga and sōsaku-hanga works. Although conceived in opposition, these two movements became deeply intertwined. By focusing on two key moments in the international exchange of Japanese prints in the twentieth century, the inter-war period and the post-war period, the exhibition considers how travel, tourism, and commercialism intersected within the medium of printmaking during the period. 

Shin-hanga, or ‘New Prints,’ reached their zenith of popularity in the 1930s, following a concerted promotional effort by the publisher Watanabe, whose offices in Japan and London, as well as distribution routes to the United States, facilitated a renewed fervor for the Japanese print abroad. Following the model established by famed ukiyo-e printmakers during the Edo Period, shin-hanga prints were created through a collaborative process whereby work was divided amongst the artist, carver, printer, and publisher. The picturesque views of famous places (meishō) of Kawase Hasui and lyrical landscapes and dusk-shrouded street scenes of Yoshida Hiroshi constitute the majority of the Clark’s collection of shin-hanga works. Further, prints within the collection by artists such as Torii Kotondo, Tsuchiya Koitsu, and Takahashi Hiroaki would further add to visitors’ understanding of the movement.

These works will be put into conversation with the Clark’s collection of sōsaku-hanga, or, ‘Creative Prints’. Arising as a direct response to shin-hanga’s popularity, sōsaku hanga artists emphasized their individual agency in creating works of art. Indeed, two works within the collection by the sōsaku-hanga artist Saitō Kiyoshi are coupled with small slips of paper that declare the prints “self-carved and self-printed in Japan.” Although sōsaku-hanga prints did not receive the same amount of attention as their counterparts during the inter-war years, the movement’s works became ubiquitous after WWII.

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). 

 

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hue & Cry: French Print Making and The Debate Over Colors

Hard as it is to believe today, the use of color in fine-art printmaking was for a long time a controversial issue. This exhibition explores the surprising but steady opposition to printed color over the nineteenth century in France. Even as technical advances encouraged leading printmakers to innovate with color, entrenched voices in the art establishment continued to insist on printmaking as an art of black and white. A wide range of associations attached to color prints, along a broad spectrum from highbrow preciousness and subtlety to lowbrow commercialism and bad taste. Color lithography was a particular lightning rod for controversy, for the extreme complexity of the process meant that the designer of a print became farther and farther removed from its actual production. This was just as true for the delicate and exquisite suites produced in limited editions by Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis as it was for the large-scale, brightly-colored lithographic posters of Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, used to advertise popular urban entertainments.

 

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. 

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

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.

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

 

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

 

2021-22 Winter Season Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 29, 2021 - April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Branches of Woodworking: Labor, Learning & Livelihood, 1760-1860

Lobby, Flynt Center of Early New England Life

This exhibition reveals the evidence that objects hold about their manufacture and the diverse scope of work practiced by different kinds of woodworkers.  Artisans offered a variety of skills and services to satisfy their neighbors’ demands for everything from high-style furniture to agricultural implements.  Their trade demanded a broad range of tools and varying skills to transform wood in timber framing houses, joinery, cabinetmaking, turning, wheelwrighting, coopering, carpentry, and repair work. 

2022 Winter Hours: Flynt Center of Early New England Life

Open 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from through April 15, 2022
The historic houses are closed for the winter and will reopen on April 16, 2022.

Visitors can visit the village and walk along Old Main Street, a public street, at any time of the year.

Plan your visit using our village map.

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

Hibernation, Migration and Adaptation Stations!

December 16th, 2021 through February 28th, 2022

10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn about our native animals and birds that hibernate, migrate, or change their appearance in ways to adapt to the changing seasons!

Chose a storybook, video, or craft activity!

Take home projects also available.

Designed as a self-guide activity with intermittent sessions led by a Park Interpreter.

This program is free and open to the public.

Meet at the Visitors Center – Children must be accompanied by an adult

Call 413-499-4262 for more information

12/23/2021 (Thursday)

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.

Wendy Red Star/Apsaalooke: Children of The Large-Beaked Bird

Be sure to make an advanced reservation to see the art of Wendy Red Star, on view in Kidspace, MASS MoCA’s child-centric gallery (that adults love!). There is no charge to visit Kidspace, and you may also visit it for free (so long as you don’t plan to visit the other MASS MoCA galleries).

Multi-media artist Wendy Red Star, a member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) tribe, offers accounts of American history that rectify the frequently flawed narratives about Native people. An avid researcher, Red Star re-examines cultural artifacts and primary source historic imagery, and uses them as the foundation for her beautifully annotated photographs and installations. The Children of the Large-Beaked Bird exhibition provides an opportunity for adults and children to look at history and representation with fresh eyes. As Red Star notes: “It is critical to preserve and pass along culture, heritage, and shared values while also providing future generations with a sense of identity, solidarity, and empowerment.” 

At the center of Children of the Large-Beaked Bird (the English translation of “Apsáalooke”) are Red Star’s annotated portraits of the historic 1880 Crow Peace Delegation that brought leaders to meet with U.S. officials for land rights negotiations. Using red pen to add text and definition to the archival images, she draws attention to the ways in which the original portraits deliberately remove the leaders from their contexts. New work created specifically for MASS MoCA turns these images into large photographic blow-ups and lifesize cutout figures, with the goal to bring the portrait sitters to life, and reclaim Red Star’s ancestors.

The exhibition will also feature plush stuffed toy animals based on drawings and notes by Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Chief Medicine Crow, together self-portraits of the artist, as she places herself in artificial, colorful dioramas while wearing traditional Apsáalooke clothing.

The Apsáalooke language — spoken today by just 3-4,000 tribal members primarily living in Montana — is at risk of vanishing. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the U.S. government attempted to systematically eradicate the Crow language, requiring Crow children to learn and speak only English at the boarding schools they were required to attend. Since the Crow language is an oral tradition, removal of these children from