Monthly Archives: September 2015

In the week ahead

Looking ahead through the coming weekend, fall events catch my eye … First Fridays Artswalk —  Art shows will open throughout downtown Pittsfield from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, including “South,” an exhibit of Clemens Kalischer’s photography at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Ave. Kalischer took these photographs while traveling through the…

Great Barrington history under foot

I didn’t know a walk around town would link me to the Mississippi flood of 1927, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison’s battle over electric current and a Major from King Phillip’s War who captured Algonqian troops and sold the men as slaves. It was a sunny morning, a real early summer day, and I had…

James Baldwin on home ground

“There were people on the café terraces, boys and girls on the boulevards, bicycles racing by on their fantastically urgent errands. Everyone and everything wore a cheerful aspect, even the houses of Paris, which did not show their age. Those who were unable to pay the steep rents of the houses were enabled, by the…

James Baldwin on film

On a September day in Paris, James Baldwin described a bright, warm morning, as he waited at the Sorbonne for the Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists to begin. “There were people on the cafe terraces, boys and girls on the boulevards, bicycles racing by The boys and girls and old men and women who…

Sculpture OMI

In August I wandered one afternoon through the Field Sculpture Park at ArtOMI — the OMI International Arts Center in Ghent, N.Y. I’ve known of ArtOMI for many years and never seen it until this hot, still, quiet noonday. Some of the work seems to come organically out of the woods and fields, and some draws a deliberate contrast to them with all the subtletly of a chrome yellow buzz saw.

One contrast has stayed with me. I had just come from Little Ghent Farm, where Jesse Tolz, a young farmer growing flowers and vegetables, explained to me why he had seeded his field insteand of transplanting seedlings. He sewed seeds directly into the field, rather than starting them in seed trays or small pots, because a plant that grows in the ground can establish a taproot and keep it intact, he said.

Here in the sculpture park I saw Robert Montgomery’s work, with its the signlike legend: “And the trees are sentinels of something, standing there between the buildings and breathing like horses all night.” He made trees watchful, alive, warm-blooded and running with sap. And nearby in the same field a sapling tree stood encased in what looked like thick rubber. Fresh from that farm conversation, I saw that rubber enclosing the tree’s rootball so that it too could not send down a taproot — cutting it off from water on this hot, dry day.

Norman Rockwell and the news

Imagine what it would be like if newspapers today commissioned paintings to run on their color pages? In honor of throwback Thursday, I offer a question I first asked in a column on Jan. 8, 2009. I have visited the Norman Rockwell Museum many times since then, often on the track of a story. But then it…