Art

Take a walk in Edith Wharton’s garden

The French lilac are blooming in wide arcs in the gardens at The Mount, at the end of the lime walk. Standing in the circle of bushes, I watched two swallowtail butterflies touch down for a drink. In the woods yellow iris still show in marshy places, and around the grounds artwork has come in…

Building 6 resounds on opening day

On Sunday, on opening day, I walked through sunlit halls and wide open gallery spaces in Mass MoCA’s new Building 6, taking a look at the new exhibits, from Robert Rauschenberg to Louise Bourgeois. In Gunnar Schonbeck’s No Experience Necessesary a whole family was coordinating to bang four clangers at once. In Thumbs Up for the Mothership,…

Paradise City Arts Festival

Wooden boxes as smooth as leather-bound books, glass melted and pulled into vines, embroidered landscapes as fine as paintings — Memorial Day weekend brings the Paradise City Arts Festival to Northampton. In the photo at the top, Cake n’ Chit-Chat, Dwight Baird walks the backstreets of Havana, Cuba. This is one in a series of paintings with old…

Are You Really My Friend? Tanja Hollander connects

In 2010, on New Years Eve, Tanja Hollander was at home alone. She was sending a Facebook message to a friend working on a film in Jakarta and writing a letter in pencil to a friend deployed in Afghanistan. She began thinking about the group of people who made up her 626 Facebook friends. And she…

I wonder as I wander at Mass MoCA

Mass MoCA could have a writer-in-residence — I’ve thought that before. Imagine the stories someone could write. Walking through “Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into Wonder” one more time before it closes on March 19, I listened to whale song in a dark room over glinting hermit crabs and thought it again. The show takes it’s name from a quote from Ray Bradbury, and looking at these installations I can easily see fantasy or science fiction spinning off from them: luminous bindweed — a philosphy kit in a portable cabinet like a case for metal type — a giant bottle rocket carrying a thread of blue light, like the Tesseract in a Marvel comic.

I don’t know whether it would sound more phantasmagoric or futuristic, but I can imagine echoes of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose of or David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks — time travel, hidden libraries or hidden worlds.