Scorton Marsh, Sandwich, Cape Cod
Scorton Marsh, Sandwich, Cape Cod
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Scorton Marsh, Sandwich, Cape Cod

A Poetic Photo Story

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By: Astrid Hiemer - 09/30/2014
We live in the Berkshire Hills and forests, near lakes. Growing up close to the Baltic and North Seas draws me to oceans still. So we recently spent a wonderful and sunny week on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A photography project follows: From a thousand new Cape photos, we photo-shopped 100, then selected approximately 40, further enhanced or painterly distorted them (or not) for this story and poem.

Private Eyes By Steven Dietz

Fall Comedy at Shakespeare & Company

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/28/2014
Private Eyes at Shakespeare & Company is a theatre about theatre comedy which evoked hearty, knowing laughter from the many actors in the audience during opening night. There are so many dizzy reversals and plot twists in this play by Steven Dietz that one requires a shrink or chiropractor to unwind from the experience.

Doubt Unquestionable At Stoneham Theatre

Brilliant Performances About Church and Humanity

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By: Mark Favermann - 09/28/2014
Doubt, The Parable is about the crimes of the priesthood both proven, suggested and covered up by the Catholic Church. It tells the story of a zealous nun school principal who confronts a well-liked charismatic priest about a relationship with a student. The issue is whether she is on a witch-hunt, or is he hiding a dark secret. Wonderfully acted and directed, it is a tour de force by Karen MacDonald.

Rene Pape in Concert at the Met

His Appetite for Life Colors the Singing

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By: Susan Hall - 09/28/2014
Pape is a natural. With a large voice that flows easily and a perfect instinct for the phrase, for dynamics and for drama he is one of the most gifted singers performing today. He is completing 2014 in performances in Macbeth and the Magic Flute and also Tristan and Iseult. Noone will ever forget his Gurnemanz in Parsifal.

Andris Nelsons' at the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Inaugural Concert as Music Director

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By: David Bonetti - 09/30/2014
What made the inaugural concert f Andris Nelson's as the BSO's music director especially celebratory for some – that would include me – were the vocal soloists. The German Jonas Kaufmann, young and handsome in a dark, slightly exotic manner, is the hottest tenor in the world at the moment, and he was making his Boston premiere in this concert. (For those who care about such matters, he has cut off his tousled, romantic locks.)

Benno Friedman on Painterly Photography

Berkshire Artist Overcomes Adversity

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By: Charles Giuliano - 10/01/2014
For Berkshire based photograher, Benno Friendman, taking an image with a camera is the initial step in creating an exhibition print. In this third and final installment of an extensive interview he discussed the alchemy of the darkroom. In more recent years that has morped into manipulations using Photoshop. Several years ago he suffered a severe injury from which he has made a remarkable but gradual recovery. It proved to have little impact on his feisty spirit.


Frost Is on the Pumpkin

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By: Charles Giuliano - 10/01/2014
A time to plant. A time to uproot that which is planted.

Sweeney Todd Thrilling At LyricStage

Music and Performances Create Haunting Theatre

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By: Mark Favermann - 09/07/2014
Stephen Sondheim's Tony-Award winning Sweeney Todd is a macabre musical thriller that blends wit with a hauntingly beautiful score and grisly humor. Elegantly and wonderfully produced at the LyricStage, the musical follows the homicidal barber Sweeney Todd on his quest for justice and vengeance after years of unjust imprisonment and exile. With the aid of Mrs. Lovett, the twisted proprietor of a failing Fleet Street meat-pie shop, Todd sets out to avenge the terrible wrongs done to him and his family while adding filler to tasty pastry.

Brice Marden Discusses Cheap Shots

At 75 an American Master

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 09/08/2014
Brice Marden is widely admired as one of the foremost abstract artists of his generation. He spoke with the poet Vincent Katz during a recent symposium Make It New? Conversations on Mid-Century Abstraction at the Clark Art Institute During a break we spoke with him and also researched his experiences as an undergraduate at Boston Unversity and transition to graduate study at Yale.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner At Huntington

The Very Human Pain of Confronting the Us and the They

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By: Mark Favermann - 09/11/2014
Set in the 1960s, this an alternating funny and poignant new stage adaptation that offers a contemporary interpretation of the 1967 Academy Award-winning star-filled film. It features Julia Duffy (“Newhart”), Tony Award winner Adriane Lenox (Doubt), and Will Lyman with Malcolm-Jamal Warner (“The Cosby Show”) making his Huntington debut. Still relevant nearly 50 years after the movie it was based upon, this is a story about race, prejudice and acceptance.

Far From Heaven At SpeakEasy

1950s Musical Deals With Sexual and Cultural Issues

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By: Mark Favermann - 09/17/2014
Set in the Eisenhower era of complacency and Norman Rockwell family and Main Street values, Far From Heaven is by the creators of the musical Grey Gardens and Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg, It is a a lushly operatic adaptation of Director Todd Haynes' romantic melodrama of private longings and social taboos. A beautiful 1950s Connecticut housewife's perfect life is shattered when she discovers her husband's secret and then seeks comfort in a forbidden relationship. The world is never what it seems..

Kingdome City by Playwright Sheri Wilner

World Premiere at La Jolla Playhouse

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By: Jack Lyons - 09/18/2014
The La Jolla Playhouse launched the world premiere of “Kingdome City” by playwright Sheri Wilner directed by Jackson Gay. “Kingdom City” is playwright Wilner’s take on the state of censorship in the United States in the 21st century. Like Arthur Miller before her she uses the metaphor of “The Crucible” to examine thorny problems and issues plaguing American society when it comes to religious issues versus political situations and protected First Amendment rights to free speech.

Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight

A Brilliant Woman's Love and Philosophy At The Nora

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By: Mark Favermann - 09/19/2014
Emilie du Châtelet, was a brilliant physicist before physics was a word. She was also a card shark, and all-around bad ass during the Age of Enlightenment. At the Nora Theatre Company, she as a ghost returns searching for answers: Love or Philosophy? Head or Heart? An outspoken eccentric or actual intellectual revolutionary, she was lustful and brilliant. The Marquise introduced Newtonian physics to France and took Voltaire as her lover always correcting errors in his work. This theatrical exploration traverses time and space with a woman ahead of her time, ignoring the rules of polite society, with her greatest limitation being that of her dexterous mind. The central character is wonderfully portrayed by Lee Mikeska Gardner.

Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison

World Premiere at Mark Taper Forum

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By: Jack Lyons - 09/23/2014
What takes place on the stage of the Taper is playwright Jordan Harrison’s thought provoking “Marjorie Prime” drama of the future. It’s the sort of story that is right up director Les Waters’ alley, and one that writer Rod Serling would, most assuredly endorse.

American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style Experience

Lavish Book by Margaret Supplee Smith

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/23/2014
Wake Forest professor emerita Margaret Supplee Smith combined two loves, skiing and architecture in ten years of research. This has resulted in a lavishly illustrated, beautifully designed book American Ski Resort: Architecture, Style, Experience. It will be an absorbing read both for skiers and armchair enthusiasts. Her overview from the Depression to the current era goes beyond a chronicle of the sport to address social, economic, envirnomental aspects of architetural and design issues of resort development.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Cheek to Cheek

New CD Bridges Generations with Duets

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/25/2014
Talk about an odd couple. At 88 and 28 there's a sixty year spread between jazz singer Tony Bennett and his neophyte partner the totally gonzo Lady Gaga. There are winners and loosers on this much anticipated CD. For both artists this was an interesting and risky artistic and career move.

Jonas Dovydenas Endless War

Afghan Photo Series at Lenox Library

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/26/2014
From 1985 until fairly recently the Berkshire based photograher, Jonas Dovydenas, made a number of trips to Afghanistan. He started by shooting black and white film and later abandoned the darkroom switching to digital cameras. In all he shot some 15,000 frames. These were culled and edited resulting in the recent exhibition at the Lenox Public Library.

Berkshire Composer Stephen Dankner

Premieres String Quartets at Williams October 12

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/27/2014
On October 12 at 3 PM there will be a performance by the Dover String Quartet of new works by Berkshire based composer Stephen Dankner. It was originally scheduled for the Clark but because of construction issues has been moved to Williams College and the Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, 54 Chapin Hall Drive, Williamstown. We met for lunch to dicuss this and other premieres scheduled through March.

Made in the Berkshires 2014

Opening Night Celebration, October 10, 2014

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By: Berkshires - 09/27/2014
The annual Made in the Berkshires festival will be held over the October 12 weekend. It features music, theatre and dance in a variety of venues. Here is the full schedule of events.

Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate

Pasadena Playhouse to October 12

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By: Jack Lyons - 09/28/2014
The Pasadena Playhouse launched its 2014/2015 season with an inspired production of “Kiss Me, Kate”, brilliantly directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps, and a cast of seventeen wonderful singers, dancers and actors.

Mississippi Fred McDowell

Afternoon Shots and Beers

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/29/2014
Fred McDowell (January 12, 1904 – July 3, 1972) known by his stage name; Mississippi. He was loaned to me for the afternoon. With a note pinned to his chest with directions to his next destination.

Captain Beefheart

Back of the Limo

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/29/2014
Warner Brothers promo man, Roger Lifeset, invited me to dinner with far out rocker Captain Beefheart and his wife Jan. We watched him crack into a three pound lobster. By the end of the evening he had glommed onto me as his personal Boswell.

Joe Cocker

Getting High With Some Friends

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/29/2014
I grew up with Tim Crouse during summers in Annisquam. We shared an encounter in the men's room with British rocker Joe Cocker.


New York Street Music

read Moondog
By: Charles Giuliano - 09/29/2014
Born Louis Thomas Hardin (May 26, 1916 – September 8, 1999) Moondog was blinded playing with a dynamite cap as a child.. The musician/ poet hung out for spare change not far from my gallery. We collaborated on a sold out gig. It kickstarted his recording career.

Pittsfield CityJazz Festival

Lineup for Events Oct. 10-19

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By: Ed Bride - 09/29/2014
The festival kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 9, with Jazz About Town, with sponsored and affiliated events that span the long Columbus Day weekend and including a "jazz craw,” when venues present Berkshires’ established performers in casual settings.

Two Gentleman of Verona

Indiana Repertory Theatre To October 19

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By: Melissa Hall - 09/29/2014
Indiana Repertory Theatre opens its 43rd season with a play in honor of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. The show includes a cast of IRT vets like Ryan Artzberger and Robert Neal (who both starred in HART “The Tempest” this summer), along with some excellent newcomers. Two standouts were Charles Pasternak as Valentine, who vacillates between ardent lover and frustrated exile and Ashley Wickett as both Julia’s maid Lucetta and the sought-after Silvia.

Dancing Shoes

Well Heeled Uncle Bill

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/29/2014
My elegant Uncle Bill was a professor of Romance literature at Queens College. With Astrid we met each year for a holiday dinner. Estere talked about having his shoes resoled with rubber. But not these he told her.


From the Coast of Chile

read KALFU Wines
By: Philip Kampe - 09/29/2014
Winemaker Alejandro Galaz produces wines from Chile's coastline


Refusing to Wear Pearls or Pink

read Aging
By: Jane Hudson - 09/29/2014
Mirror mirror on the wall. Reflecting on age and not giving in.


Cave Drawing to Burger King

read Lascaux
By: Jane Hudson - 09/29/2014
From ancient bison and cave drawings to sacred cow. The craving for meat sustains through millenia. Defining us as carnivores.

The Metaphor

A Tall Krater

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By: Jane Hudson - 09/29/2014
Don't take this literally.

Harvard Art Museums Open November 16

Renovation by Renco Piano Conflates Separate Museums

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By: Harvard - 03/11/2014
The Harvard Art Museums—comprising the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum—will open their new Renzo Piano-designed facility to the public on November 16, 2014. The renovation and expansion of the museums’ landmark building at 32 Quincy Street in Cambridge will bring the three museums and their collections together under one roof for the first time

A Secret Passage Way - 2014

Global Call to Participate in Photo Project

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By: Astrid Hiemer - 06/17/2014
From February to May we invited participants to submit photographs and words via email and Face Book representing passages in any way real or imagined. Collaborators expanded the project in amazing and unexpected directions. Here is the resulting digital exhibition:


A Poet and Her Muse

read You
By: Jane Hudson - 09/20/2014
Decades later Jane Hudson, artist and musician, returns to her first love poetry. Here she evokes what inspires her.

WAM Theatre Fresh Takes

reading of Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George

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By: WAM - 08/11/2014
WAM Theatre will present the reading on Sunday, August 17 at 3:00 p.m. at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café, 6 Depot Street in West Stockbridge, MA. Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England is the fourth presentation in the new Fresh Takes play reading series, which offers new and reimagined works that tell women’s stories. The series has proven popular with audiences and the first three readings sold out.

My Name is Asher Lev at Timeline

Chaim Potok's Portrait of an Artist in Chicago

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By: Susan Hall - 08/31/2014
My Name is Asher Lev is the story of a boy brought up in an insular world with very particular beliefs and practices. Until recently this world has succeeded in keeping its own in the fold. Very few escape or leave behind the families, religious observances and commitment of the Hasidic world. Lubavitcher ambulances rush all over the boroughs of New York today. Live chickens arrive to be properly slaughtered in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Young couples are married as soon as parents can make an arrangement. They don’t have a chance to think about leaving when they are surrounded by a gaggle of young children. You still see teenage mothers aged by their wigs and their nun-like dress and tied down by several kids hanging from their hems.

Magna Carta at the Clark

1215 and All That

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By: Clark - 08/29/2014
Magna Carta comes to the Clark courtesy of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln Cathedral as part of the United Kingdom’s preparations for celebrating the document’s 800th anniversary in 2015. The Lincoln Cathedral Exemplar of Magna Carta is widely regarded as the finest extant copy of the document due to the fact that it is written in an ‘official’ hand and has remained at Lincoln since the time of its first issue.

Finding Neverland A Spectacular Journey

American Rep Wows With Broadway Bound Musical

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By: Mark Favermann - 08/15/2014
Based upon the story of the creation of the 1904 now classic play Peter Pan, Finding Neverland at the American Repertory Theatre is a wonderful theatrical multigenerational event. With spectacular performances, magnificent stagecraft and beautiful music, this is a sight and sound treat. Already set for Broadway in 2015, getting a ticket might be difficult, but well worth the effort. Bravo Diane Paulus and A.R. T.!

Cape Ann Museum Reopens

Tour with Director Ronda Faloon

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 08/15/2014
The Cape Ann Museum has raised $5 million with $3.5 for a renovation of its eclectic warren of buildings and galleries. Just prior to the recent reopening we were given a tour of the collection by the museum's director Ronda Faloon. The collection displays all aspects of life on historic Cape Ann. Its heart and soul comprises 40 paintings and 100 drawings by America's most renowned 19th century painter of seascapes Fitz Henry Lane. There are also many works by leading artists who were a part of the art colony.

Boston Modern by Judith Bookbinder

Definitive Study of Boston Expressionism

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 08/18/2014
Judith Bookbinder's 2005 publication Boston Modern: Figurative Expressionism as Alternative Modernism is the definitive study of this important but neglected movement. Her study is meticulously researched and documented. This is the catalogue for the exhibition that the Museum of Fine Arts has failed to deliver. Significantly most of the Boston Expressionists were Jews struggling with Biblical constraints against the graven image.

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

A Copper in BBC Hit on Netflix

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By: Charles Giuliano - 08/24/2014
Sarah Lancashire is familiar to PBS viewers as the lesbian head mistress in Sally Wainwright's series Last Tango in Halifax. She has written a news cop series Happy Valley built around Lancashire. The hit, six part BBC series is now avaiable for binge viewing on Netflix.

Berkshire Photographer Benno Friedman

Early Years: Woodstock, Rolling Stone, Playboy

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By: Charles Giuliano - 08/25/2014
Berkshire based photographer, Benno Friedman, bought a camera in a duty free shop in the Amsterdam airport. It was the summer after graduation from college in 1966. Upon returning a friend helped him to process and print the film. Soon that launched into dual career as a commercial and fine arts photographer. That led to assignments like shooting Woodstock for Playboy and Seventeen. He was also a stringer for Rolling Stone. This is part one of a recent extensive interview.

The Vaccination Divide

Exploring the Pros and Cons

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By: Jimmy Midnight - 08/25/2014
Faith based and other concerned parents have opted not to vaccinate their children. This can result in outbreaks in formerly widely preventable diseases. There are concerns that vaccinations may in fact induce dangerous side effects inluding an inclination for autism. Our science correspondent, a firm advocate of vaccination, explores the issues and risk factors.

Salamander a 12 Part Belgian Thriller

Compelling Series on Netflix

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By: Charles Giuliano - 08/29/2014
We devoured the 12 part Belgian series "Salamander" over three riveting evenings. Starting as a not so unique bank robbery the master mind has more than theft planned for the 66 owners of targeted private boxes in the vault. The real motive is to bring down a powerful cabal with the code name Salamander surviving from a WWII Resistance group.

Vaccination Followup

Poor Former Dr. Wakefield

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By: Jimmy Midnight - 08/31/2014
In this sidebar to the Vaccination Divide we discuss the contoversies surrounding the research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield who uncovered links between autism and a particular type of gut inflammation. Eventually his findings were discredieted and his liscense to practice medicine was revoked. But he is correct that aluminum toxicity is capable of doing real damage.

The Freud Machine

Taking Responsibility for Opinions We Promulgate

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By: David Zaig - 09/02/2014
As an artist, I learned to understand that in this world of ours we humans must take responsibility for the opinions we promulgate: that means, ideally, we ought to search for the data to support what we say. We take notions such as subjectivity, creativity, feelings, or likes and dislikes for granted. Let’s not forget that, first, these notions are words--words we inherited and use automatically, words that can be skewed when translated into action, and as such misrepresent and distort our perception of the world.

Benno Friedman Hosted Tim Leary

Hitched Ray and Alice Brock of Alice's Restaurant

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/02/2014
An extended family of artists and hipsters celebrate holidays in the Berkshires at the home of Benno and Stephanie Friedman. Among the renowned guests have been LSD guru, Tim Leary, and chef Alice Brock. Benno shot the illustrations for the Alice's Restaurant Cookbook. There's a shot of me with an apple in my mouth in the chapter on stuffing.

Berkshire Theatre 2014

Highlights of a Diverse Season

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/02/2014
From the first of May through the end of August we posted 86 theatre articles by a diverse staff of contributors. This overview is limited to the four major Berkshire companies: Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Theatre Group, Shakespeare & Company, and Williamstown Theatre Group. Our summary is based on reviewing most but not all of the 2014 Berkshire Summer Season.

Outside The Machine

Waxing Philosophical

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By: Stephen Rifkin - 09/03/2014
There has been a lively response to the provocative series of think pieces by the Berkshire artist David Zaig. Here the Berkshire poet Stephen Rifkin debates Zaig's contentions. They often sit at the same table during weekly Monday night Chinese dinners in North Adams. Rifkin recently gave a poetry reading at the Rudd Art Museum where Zaig is currently exhibiting his work.

Modern Art in the Berkshires

Clark Curator David Breslin Part Two

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 09/12/2014
Through October 13 the new special exhition galleries of the Clark Art Instiute feature Make It New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art 1950-1975. This is part two of a dialogue with Clark curator David Breslin who worked with Harry Cooper of the National Gallery. We discussed how this changes art history and the impact of the exhibition on showing modern art in the Berkshires.

What’s Magna About Clark’s Carta

Williamstown Display of Seminal 1215 Document

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/06/2014
The Barons of England forced King John to sign Magna Carta in 1215. It limited his Divine Rights and created a Constitutional Monarchy laying a foundation of British Common Law and the eventual creation of Parliament. A less than perfect document it was annuled a few months later then revived several times in later years. One of only four copies of the original document is on display as the special exhibiton Radical Words: From Magna Carta to the Constitution on view at the Clark Art Institute through November 1.

The Man with the Beckett Face

Heavier Than Joyce, Terser,

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By: Stephen Rifkin - 09/07/2014
He crossed over to Ireland, yet again. That was August,1939, and the Germans On the move.

An Update with Michael Conforti

Clark Art Institute's Globe Trotting Director

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 09/07/2014
Completing a $145 million renovation and expansion the Clark Art Institute repoened this summer. The occasion was launched with a stunning range of special exhibitions. During a recent opening of Magna Carta we asked the museum's fast moving director, Michael Conforti, for an overview of the season and when we might expect to see Treasures from the Prado?

Modern Theatre at Suffolk University

The 2014-2015 Season

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By: Suffolk - 09/11/2014
The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University announces the programming lineup for its 2014-2015 season, featuring conversation, film, and new and classic plays.

Brook and Estienne's The Valley of Astonishment

Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn

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By: Susan Hall - 09/17/2014
Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne stage mesmerizing moments at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center. In a program note, Brook makes clear that theatre must both amaze and hit the audience in its gut. Four unusual characters are presented under examination by neuro-scientists. The result is charming, engaging and provocative.


Damage Control for a Rare Bowl

read Fulper
By: Jane Hudson - 09/20/2014
With her husband Jeff, when not making art and writing poetry, Jane is a partner in Hudson's Antiques at Mass MoCA. Here she considers the nature of condition and value.

Anselm Kiefer at Mass MoCA for 15 Years

Building Developed with Hall Art Foundation

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 09/27/2013
In collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation a building dedicated to works by the German artist, Anselm Kiefer, will be on view at Mass MoCA for the next 15 years. Combined with the 25 year agreement for the Sol LeWitt building this greatly enhances the museum as America's foremost destination for contemporary art.

Izhar Patkin's Space Time Continuum

The Wandering Veil at Mass MoCA

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 01/19/2014
In the vast space of Building Five, for the coming year, Mass MoCA is hosting a retrospective for the Israeli born artist Izhar Patkin. A series of rooms features Veils inspired by the poems of a collaborator, the deceased Pakistani poet, Agha Shahid Ali. The artist is challenged by solving technical problems for a variety of approaches to painting in sculpture in a range of media. Central to his practice is a commitment to modernist inspired narratives devoid of the irony of post modernism.

Israeli Izhar Patkin Debates Jewish Art

Secular Narratives When God Is Dead

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 01/21/2014
During a dialogue with the artist Izhar Patkin about his Mass MoCA exhibition David Ross hit a dead end when he asked whether there is a Jewish art? At this point in post modernism, with more than a century since Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz, Chaim Soutine or Amedeo Modigliani, it is not a question that one would ask a Jewish American artist. But is it relevant for an Israeli Sabra?

Joe Thompson on Mass MoCA Expansion

Part One on Phase Three

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano and Joe Thompson - 03/09/2014
Several months ago we spoke in depth with Joe Thompson about a bill pending on Beacon Hill to grant $25 million toward the final phase of developing the North Adams campus of Mass MoCA. This week, early August, 2014 the bill has been signed by outgoing Governor Deval Patrick a Berkshire neighbor of the museum. Thompson, as he discusses here, must raise an additional $30 million for the project which will take several years.

Huntington Theatre Company 2014-2015

Six Shows Plus One

read Huntington Theatre Company  2014-2015
By: Huntington - 03/18/2014
Huntington Theatre Company announces six productions of its 2014-2015 Season plus one additional title. Continuing its 32-year tradition, the Huntington will present world-class productions of new works and classics made current created by the finest local and national talent. The varied lineup includes a Tony Award-winning Broadway comedy, a thrilling new play set in Boston, a new play by a celebrated local writer that riffs on a beloved classic, a revival of a provocative comedy, a classic American drama, and a topical new play directed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, plus the return of visionary director David Cromer (Our Town).

Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010

German Master Surveyed at MoMA

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 06/03/2014
Sigmar Polke (1941-2010) was one of the most important Post War German artists. He is the subject of a dense, sprawling and and messy retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art through August 3. It would be a folly and conceit to attempt to review such diverse and eclectic, mind boggling work. For that we refer you to mainstream critics all of whom fail, to varying degrees, to nail down the work of one of the most fascinating and daunting artists of our time.

Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges

Bringing Iconic American Art to Arkansas

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 06/11/2014
During our visit to Crystal Springs Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas we met with museum spokesperson Diane Carol. Fending off questions of media controversy regarding aggressive acquisitions she emphasized that the museum is free and serves a region that lacks resources of its quality. As she pointed out since opening in 11/11/11 some 1.3 million visitors have viewed "Kindred Spirits" by Asher B. Durand which formerly hung in the New York Public Library.

Descartes to Yogi Berra

When You Come to the Fork in the Road Take It

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By: David Zaig - 08/19/2014
The artist/ playwright/ thinker David Zaig evokes Descartes and Yogi Berra in a lively response to dissent aroused by his recent ruminations in Berkshire Fine Arts. Here he brings more depth and insight to those previous discussions.

Are Humans Becoming Stupider

IQ Scores Have Declined 14 Points Since the 19th Century

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By: David Zaig - 09/09/2014
The reason why humans are getting stupider is because we think we are immutable. In the grand scheme of things, we are as primitive as an amoeba trying to build a brain. Some think our brain has reached its peak. Evolution is either too slow or becoming ineffective. Now we are on our own.

Unexamined Life Isn't Worth Living

But Not By IQ Tests

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By: Stephen Rifkin - 09/09/2014
Schools used to assign children to classes based on their IQ test scores. Then schools decided it was better for children to be in heterogeneous, or mixed IQ, classes. They would get a better feel for life because many people are not so fast. Now experts may be reconsidering. It is one of the truisms of fashion, and there are intellectual fashions, too, that they change. Here Rifkin again rebuts Zaig.

Joseph Rosen Starts Fall NY Music Season

James Cohn, Beethoven and Brahms

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By: Susan Hall - 09/09/2014
Musicians like Joe Rosen will keep all forms of music alive. Monthly or bi-monthly, in a lovely, open salon that seems to hover over the Hudson and the setting sun, Rosen gathers together special young musicians as they begin their careers in music, or continue them even if they have to have a day job elsewhere.

Clark Launches New Galleries with Make It New

Selection of Mid Century Abstraction from the National Gallery

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 09/11/2014
Clark curator, David Breslin, worked with Harry Cooper of the National Gallery for a special exhibition launching the spacious new galleries designed by Tadao Ando. For long time friends of the Clark it is a bold move into issues of 20th century art. This is the first of two parts of a dialogue with Breslin about the impact of the exhibition, a related seminar, and what this means for the future of modernism in the Berkshires.

Beef and Boards Announces Season

Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis

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By: Melissa Hall - 09/13/2014
Our Indianapolis contributor and ATCA member, Melissa Hall, is set for another season of dinnert theatre at Beef and Boards. The company is note for lavishly staged productions of popular musicals. As well as decent roast beef.

Can One Idiot Learn from Another

What You Don't Know About Quantum Mechanics Does Help You

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By: David Zaig - 09/21/2014
Knowledge doesn’t limit us or take away the beauty and mystery of the world—it actually enhances our view of the world and should make us stronger and more tolerant.

Small Minded

You Can't Put Quantum Mechanics on Your Corn Flakes

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By: Stephen Rifkin - 09/23/2014
We look far to satisfy our discontent, and look strangely. It is we humans who are the proper object of wonder, and perhaps dismay, endowed as we are with beauty, banality, and yes, spooky action.

The Marriage of Figaro Opens Met Season

Noteworthy Ensembles are Pinnacles of Richard Eyre's New Production

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By: Susan Hall - 09/23/2014
For the past few months, the Metropolitan Opera's struggle for survival has made the news. Marriage of Figaro, arguably the world's greatest opera, opens the new season. Even the most tame of productions is a treat. While Richard Eyre's take on the opera is bland, Peter Mattei, Ildar Abdrazakov, Marlis Petersen and Amanda Majeski gave noteworthy performances.

Il Pane Degliangeli, Offering of the Angels: Paintings and Tapestries of the Uffizi Gallery

On View at Savannah’s Telfair Museums Through March 31

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 03/07/2013
The venerable Ufizzi Museum in Florence has tarnished its reputation by packaging works from storage and sending them to four out of the mainstream American museums. We viewed the final destination of the revenue generating tour at the Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah, Georgia.

ArtsEmerson Announces 2013-2014 Program

Fourth Season Starts September 17

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By: Emerson - 04/12/2013
ArtsEmerson announces the first half of its fourth theatre season, beginning in the fall of 2013. This announcement covers productions into January of 2014, with more winter/spring productions to be announced later. Tickets for these productions go on sale to ArtsEmerson members on April 12, and to the general public on May 3.

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil

Vast Installation at Mass MoCA on View for a Year

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 12/05/2013
Building Five of Mass MoCA is one of the largest and most magnificent spaces for contemporary art in North America. It is always fascinating to see how artists respond to the daunting challenge. Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil is now on view for the coming year.

WAM Theatre Announces 2014 Season

Focus on Women and Girls

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By: WAM - 02/25/2014
WAM Theatre’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven announces highlights of the 2014 season. The Berkshire-based professional theatre company will celebrate its fifth anniversary with plays readings, special events, panel discussions, and educational programs that focus on women artists and stories of women

Emotional Impact: American Figurative Expressionism

April Kingsley's Catalogue for Michigan State University

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 06/19/2014
While curator of Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University from 1999 to 2011 April Kingsley had the resources and inspiration to collect works by the undervalued and poorly understood artists of the Figurative Expressionist movement. It was widely felt among artists that there would be a return to the figure informed by but diverging from abstract expressionism. Aspects of this experimentation occurred with little or no direct communication in New York, Provincetown, Boston, and the Bay Area of San Francisco. This book fails to present a cohesive overview of those complex developments.

Re-Introducing The Rhino Horn Group

Evolved from Figurative Expressionism

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Fine Arts
By: Adam Zucker - 07/24/2014
When Pop Art dominated the art world and mass-media a group of New York expressionists said no thanks. The primal, raucous, and confrontational approach to painting exhibited by the group’s members kept the emotional impact of Figurative Expressionism alive. However, aesthetic tradition was less important than the moral obligation of depicting the reality that the artists perceived. This put the Rhino Horn artists at odds with many of the mainstream artists that had turned away from expressionism and humanist art.

Love Made Visible by Jean Gibran

A Complex Book on Her Husband Kahlil Gibran

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 07/27/2014
Decades ago the sculptor Kahlin Gibran and his wife Jean purchased a shell in Boston's ethnically mixed South End. A meticulous craftsman the home evolved as a museum of his work and collection. Together they wrote a definitive 1974 biography "Kahlil Gibran, His Life and World." Now Jean has published "Love Made Visible: Scenes from a Mostly Happy Marriage" about a complex relationship with her late husband.

Ann Hamilton Bangs on a Can

Paper Sounding Premieres at Mass MoCA

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 07/30/2014
With just four rehearsal sessions in less than a week installatin artist, Ann Hamilton, returned to Mass MoCA to create a piece for some thirty individuals "Paper Sounding" as a part of the annual Bang on a Can festival. The spontaneous and lively work was co directed by Mark Stewart and David Cossin. The performance was our introducton to an area of the vast Building Six which the museum hopes soon to develop. We spoke with Hamilton about the significance of paper in her practice.

Cogito Ergo Sum Ok Now What?

The Mind Is What the Brain Does

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By: David Zaig - 08/06/2014
We are supposed to love, feel, and have emotions, but not supposed to know what the mechanisms are that make us behave that way. That is too much to ask. So now, it’s normal to say, “I feel” or “I love” without having to explain how these emotions came about. This is the accepted standard for social and human behavior—it’s very much a fixture of our psyche and the cause for our societal chaos, helplessness, confusion, and mindlessness.

More Than a Basic Wine Course

Wine Made Simple

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By: Philip S. Kampe - 08/10/2014
This is a basic wine course that will help you to understand wine. There are Saturday afternoon tastings at Nejaimes’s wines in both Lenox and Stockbridge and Spirited Wines in Lenox. Your local shop in West Stockbridge, Housatonic, Adams, North Adams or Williamstown may do the same.

Susan Erony’s Redeeming Pessimism

Trident Gallery Gloucester, Mass.

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Fine Arts
By: Matthew Swift - 09/12/2014
In the heart of downtown Gloucester, a short walk from the renovated and expanded Cape Ann Museum of Art is the ambitious Trident Gallery. Unlike the tourist kitsch of the majority of Gloucester and Rockport galleries this venue speaks to the historic role of Cape Ann as a vibrant modernist art colony. Susan Erony is an example of the small but seminal community of professional artists represented by gallerist Matthew Swift. In his catalogue essay published here he offers an insightful overview of the issues and work of a concerned artist.

Sed Festival

Ancient Egyptian Ritual

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/16/2014
On the occasion of his Jubilee Year the Pharaoh was tested in front of the court. Initially there were consequences which eventually evolved into ceremony and ritual.


Giant Steps in Boston

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/16/2014
Only got to hear Trane once. He died young. Surprised that just one tune comprised the set.

Elvin Jones

Sweating It Out

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/16/2014
My first assignment for the daily Herald Traveler was covering Elvin Jones. There was a surprise when I visited his dressing room.

The Mooche

Duke, Buddy Rich, George Frazier

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/18/2014
As a teenager my first visit to a nightclub occurred when my Uncle Brother, a huge fan, took me to see Duke Ellington at Storyville in Copley Square. Years later, as a jazz critic, he joined me to hear big band drummer Buddy Rich. In the tiny dressing room we had an odd encounter.

Sophisticated Lady

Encountering Duke Ellington on the Road

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/18/2014
An afternoon appointment to interview Duke Ellington led to a strange encounter. Beginning with an angry woman loudly evicted from his suite in the Eliot Hotel.

Royal Pain

Childhood Encounter with the Duke of Windsor

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/18/2014
My career as a journalist started young with an interview with the Duke of Windsor. It proved to be suitably imperious.

Lunch With Dexter Gordon

Frozen Schnapps in Copenhagen

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/18/2014
Jazz giant Dexter Gordon was strung out and on the run when he fled to Denmark. He was off smack when I had a schnapps fueled lunch with him in Copenhagen. Not long after he returned to the States in triumph.

Bitches Brew

Miles Combed His Hair

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/19/2014
When Bitches Brew was released it changed the jazz world. I spent months researching a series of Sunday features on Miles Davis from Charlie Parker to this landmark double LP. Through Columbia Records PR guy Sal Ingeme,, a friend of Miles, I got to speak to him after the gig at Lennie's on the Turnpike. That night I learned a lot about Miles as well as the art of the interview. Come prepared but willing to improvise. After the first question all that research went out the window.

Mulligan Stew

Tirade in an Elevator

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/19/2014
There is nothing more soulful and sensual than the rich baritone of Gerry Mulligan. A routine interview proved to be anything but as he was pissed about everything.

Anita O'Day

Errand Boy for Jazz Singer

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/19/2014
During her week at Sandy's, from airport to airport, Anita O'Day owned me. Recalling running errands for one of the great jazz singers of her generation. What a dame.

<50% at Fringe Festival Encores, Encores

Gianmarco Soresi's Hilarious Theatre Piece

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By: Susan Hall - 09/21/2014
Soresi describes his first moment playing a role like <50%'s in second grade: "I was the Handsome Prince in “The Princess and the Pea” in 2nd grade. My crown was made of gold-spray-painted-Styrofoam. It was a big deal. In the penultimate scene, Pretty Princess said to me “I love you”. My response was supposed to be “And I love you”. In the heat of the moment, twenty if not thirty parents’ eyes fixed on me, I stuck my index finger down my opened mouth, tongue outstretched and made a gagging sound. The audience approved. I saw those ten-to-fifteen adults roar with laughter, people who under any other circumstance wouldn’t have given me the time of day (my parents were in the audience as well…), all of us sharing something." In that moment I became a writer, an actor, and a bit of an asshole all at once.


Bermuda Triangle

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/22/2014
On Easter Sunday it's traditional to fly kites in Bermuda. That morphed into ten degrees of separation.

Godfather of Soul

Hardest Working Man in Show Business

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By: Charles Giuliano - 09/23/2014
Saw James Brown lots of times. The Apollo Theatre, Madison Square Garden, a gym in Tampa with Phil Bleeth and Corrina pregnant with Jasmine. Matinee at the Newport Jazz Festival. Boston Garden on looped PBS weekend Martin Luther King was shot. Interview in New York for Blues Brohers press junket. Here we recall a night at Boston's notorius soul club The Sugar Shack.

Crystal Bridges in Bentonville Arkansas

All the Museum that Walmart Money Can Buy

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 06/10/2014
After extensive renovation and expansion the Clark Art Institute reopens this summer. Much is being made of how its Tadeo Ando designed low lying horizontal line and large reflecting pool embrace nature and the background rolling mountain range. The paradigm for architecture set into natural surroundings, however, is the Moshe Safdie design for Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas. It is nestled into a ravine with a series of pontoon "bridges." The museum which opened on 11/11/11 has some 500,000 annual visitors for its controversial collection of American art.

BSO Announces 2014- 2015 Season

Welcomes Andris Nelsons

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By: BSO - 03/06/2014
The Boston Symphony Orchestra’s 2014-15 season shines a welcoming spotlight on Andris Nelsons as he makes hihighly anticipated debut as BSO Music Director, leading performances that feature an eclectic offering of music and an impressive lineup of guest artists, and presenting programs that illuminate touchstone moments in his life as a musician, from his youngest days as a child in Riga, to his present-day stature as one of the world’s most sought-after conductors. When Mr. Nelsons takes on the title of BSO Music Director in September 2014, at age 35, he will be the youngest conductor to hold that title with the orchestra in over 100 years. The fifteenth music director since the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s founding in 1881, Mr. Nelsons is also the first Latvian-born conductor to assume the post.

Franz West at Mass MoCA and WCMA

From Actionism to the Absurd

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Fine Arts
By: Charles Giuliano - 06/21/2014
The Austrian artist Franz West (16 February 1947- 25 July 2012). is being featured this summer in the Northern Berkshires. There is a display of several large scale, puffy, pink phallic sculptures at Mass MoCA and a tandem exhibition of works on paper and smaller scale sculptures at Williams College Museum of Art. The artist was widely included in global biennials and museum exhibitions including a retrospective at the Baltimore Museum of Art. We consider West in the milieu of post war artists in Vienna including its outrageous Actionists.

Rudd Art Museum in North Adams

Presenting Berkshire Artists

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Fine Arts
By: Keith Shaw - 08/06/2014
As artists approach their senior years familiar issues arise. Unless they reach a level of broad recognition and market value for the work there is the challenge of legacy and handling of estates. North Adams based artist/ author and developer, Eric Rudd, has written a book on these concerns and by creating his own museum in North Adams is taking action to address them. Art historian and former Berkshire Eagle critic, Keith Shaw, is assisting Rudd by curating exhibitions based on artists living and working in the region. Here he discusses what that entails.