The coronavirus pandemic is putting a strain on many artists and museums and creative spaces. Last week Mass MoCA explained how they are responding. It shakes me as a writer in the Berkshires. And I’ve been thinking about all the reasons why.Read article
Lanterns glow in the dusk. On an early spring night, a woman stands in golden light. I remember seeing her for the first time in a Japanese ukiyo-e print, with the light swimming around her on a rainy night. And I can see her now in my living room.
This is a changing time. Concerns for health and safety are most important, and for many of us, what we can do is to stay home. But we can think of the people around us now and talk with them. And we can share ideas.
While Berkshire art museums, artists’ studios and galleries are closed, we can explore many of them online. This is a challenging time for many local artists and makers and entrepreneurs, but we can take time to see what we have close by.
I’ll add to this as we go on. What art here do you remember, or do you want to see?
Clark Art Institute
The Clark Art Institute has its collections up on its website for browsing.
You can look through 100 years of Japanese woodblock prints, from Mount Fuji to Kyoto at night. They are prints but intricately made and colored, so that they catch subtle moods and shades of light.
Or take a walk in imagination along the Claude Monet’s geese.
Bronze in motion: Andrew DeVries
Berkshire artist Andrew DeVries casts his own bronze sculptures, making him rare. Metal sculptors are much more likely to create a design and work with a foundry, but he works creates his own molds and works with metal.
His people are fluid in motion, he says. They are lithe figures — dancers, acrobats, women reaching to the sky. And he has images of many of them online, so we can see them here.
Landscapes and light: Greylock Gallery
Early morning light rests on a ridge line or a mountain lake, or a weathered barn high on a hillside. At Greylock Gallery, Berkshire native Rachele Dario gathers established and emerging Berkshire artists — Curt Hanson, John MacDonald, Hale Johnson and many more.
If you’re missing the rainbow dazzle of three floors of Sol LeWitt paintings in reds and blues, yellows and greens, you can walk through them digitally in more than 60 bright images.
Mass MoCA does not yet have a digital collection, but you can get a sense of the scope of the artwork you will see in the galleries when they reopen.
Norman Rockwell Museum
You might find Isabel Bishop’s drawings of women talking, street scenes in Union Square, a kaleidoscope of New York in the 1930s. Or Scott Bakal imagining the story of blues musician Robert Leroy Johnson (1911-1938). Browsing the Norman Rockwell Museum‘s collection can lead in many directions.
The Rockwell has created a illustrators going back to the 1860s and from Rockwell himself.
Glass menagerie: Schantz Gallery
From Dale Chihuly’s wild poppies and sinuous chandaliers to Peter Bremers’ ice bergs, the Schantz gallery in Stockbridge holds a wide array of glass art — abstract and figurative, geometric and natural.
They come from artists in many countries, and in many styles. They are translucent, transparent and opaque. Some are as minute as the sepals of a crocus as and some as smooth as a diving whale.
Williams College Museum of Art
A digital ramble through the Williams College Museum of Art can bring me to work I have never seen on the walls in 20 years, and to work I remember vividly from shows years ago. A horseman gallops through a Mughal painting. The people in Zanele Muholi’s portraits look straight at me with direct and human courage.
Lalla Essaydi’s black and white photograph I remember — this woman with long dark hair kneeling in her white dress, and the writing on her clothing, on the wall and on her reaching hand. I want to read what she is saying.