Fine Arts

  • Rembrandt at the Frick

    The Artist's Divine Encounter

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 08th, 2017

    It’s often said that in some museums you go from a masterpiece to something less in a step. The Frick, mainly the inspiration of the daughter of the steel magnate from Pittsburgh who dueled with Andrew Carnegie, each work that hangs on the walls of the Frick home in New York is perfection.

  • Berkshire Museum Dumps the Fine Arts

    Selling Two Paintings by Norman Rockwell and 38 Other Works

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 21st, 2017

    When the Berkshire Museum announced plans to focus on science and history there was initial euphoria. To reach a goal of $60 millon, $20 for renoivation, and $40 million for endowment it will sell 40 works of art including two paintings by Norman Rockwell which the artist gave to the museum and his Berkshire neighbors. In so doing it violates deaccession restrictions for art museums. In a shuffle Van Shields, the director of BM, has stated that he does not run an art musuem and is not bound by ethical guidelines. That may change as coverage evolves from local to national news.

  • Laurie Norton Moffatt on the Role of Trustees

    Rockwell Museum Director Argues for Respect

    By: Laurie Norton Moffatt - Aug 14th, 2017

    In a key op-ed piece for the Berkshire Eagle, Laurie Norton Moffatt the director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, called on the Berkshire Museum to "pause" its plans to sell 40 works including two by Rockwell. Largely based on her position the story broke in the national media. In the process the rhetoric escalated. In this opinion piece she asks for a wider understanding of the commmitment and responsibilites of serving on boards of non profits. With so many cultural institutions looking for funding from the same small pool of donors there are parfticular and extreme pressures for boards in the Berkshires. She calls for a focus on issues and not individuals.

  • Figuratively Speaking at Eclipse Mill Gallery

    Five Berkshire Artists Explore the Human Condition

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 15th, 2017

    The special exhibition Figuratively Speaking, at the Eclipse Mill Gallery, September 1 to 24, offers fresh and evocative interpretations allowing for a broad range of approaches to the perennial conundrum of the human condition. The five Berkshire based artists include William Archer, Joanna Klain, Linda O’Brien, Opie O’Brien, and Wilma Rifkin.

  • Cape Cod Museum of Art

    Promoting Regional Visual Arts Since 1980

    By: Charles Giuliano - Oct 24th, 2017

    During our visit to the Cape Cod Museum of Art we viewed several special exhibitions: Salvatore Del Deo: A Storied History, extended through October 28, Discovering Cape Cod’s Museum Treasures, through November 26, and Judith Shahn Selections: A Tribute to Thomas Linxweiler through November 12. We met with Dr. Edith Tonelli who has been director for the past four years. She provided an overview of the museum and plans moving forward. We also learned why the museum and adjacent Cape Playhouse prove to have been uniquely moving experiences.

  • Arnold Trachtman at Galatea Fine Arts

    More from a Concerned Artist

    By: Charles Giuliano - Oct 29th, 2017

    Since the late 1960s I have curated and written about the work of the Cambridge based, activist and artist, Arhold Trachtman. A few of us- scholars, curators and critics- share a convicition that he is on the short list of most significant Boston artists of his generation. Given the highly charged and passionate focus of the work it has been in general too hot to handle for mainstream museums and curators. He has a staunch champion in Marjorie Kaye, the emeritus founder of Galatea Gallery, who co cuated the current exhiition with the artist's daughter Maxima Baudissin.

  • Guggenheim Bilbao at Twenty

    An Inspiring Success Story

    By: Zeren Earls - Nov 06th, 2017

    The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao recently concluded a year-long celebration of its 20th anniversary under the concept "Art Changes Everything", inspired by the major changes that the city of Bilbao and its residents have experienced since the Museum's opening on October 19, 1997, while at the same time underscoring the transformational capacity of art. I felt fortunate to be able to visit this cultural treasure during a tour of the Basque region of northern Spain in late September.

  • Ersatz Cubist Dana Shutz

    A Metaphysical Pratfall

    By: Martin Mugar - Nov 11th, 2017

    There were protests when Dana Shutz exhibited a painting of the mutilated black youth Emmet Till in his coffin. It was a controversial inclusion in the Whitney Biennial. It is not a part of a large overview of her work at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art. There the curators have over expained the work with excessively detailed wall labels. It conveys the notion that the work in a kitchy, ersatz Cubist manner cannot speak for itself. Activists have petiitioned the ICA to shut down the exhibition.

  • Owens Pottery of North Carolina

    North Carolina's Route 705 Is the Pottery Highway

    By: Susan Cohn - Nov 11th, 2017

    The oldest, continuously operating pottery along the Pottery Highway is Owens Pottery of North Carolina, also known as Original Owens Pottery. The Owens family has been involved in pottery since the early 1800s.

  • Villa Dolores by Rafael Mahdavi

    Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

    By: Charles Giuliano - Nov 30th, 2017

    Since the 1980s, the artist Rafael Mahdavi has been a colleague and friend. For many years, in addition to painting, photography and sculpture, he has been writing. Recently, he published a second book Villa Dolores a memoir of childhood and adolescence with another volume, already written to follow. He is also revisiting, editing and preparing for publication several novels. This memoir is relatively brief, just 173 pages, but compact , polished, explosively evocative and poetic. I took my time reading brief chapters of two or three pages. Each was a distilled and detailed anecdote, some horrific in nature, that flowed like an intimate conversation.

  • Exploring Porto

    Winding Down an Adventure in Portugal

    By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 03rd, 2017

    My pre Thanksgiving travel in Portugal ended with a weekend in Porto. With 2.4 million inhabitants it is the small nation's second largest city. On a glorious, summer-like afternoon a highlight of the adventure was a river cruise in the romantic City of Bridges.

  • MASS MoCA Update

    Winter/ Spring Programming

    By: MoCA - Dec 14th, 2017

    MASS MoCA heads into the winter/spring season with new works in the spotlight, on stage, and in the galleries. The season kicks off on January 20 with the museum’s annual Free Day, when MASS MoCA opens its galleries, free of charge, and activates its art with family-focused activities and performances throughout the day.

  • Berkshire Museum Top Arts Story of 2017

    Coverage Morphed from Local to National News

    By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 26th, 2017

    A decision on an appeal by Attorney General of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, to halt the sale of 40 key works of art at Sothebys on behalf of the Berkshire Museum will be decided by the end of January. Van Shields, now on medical leave as director of the museum, and board president, Elizabeth "Buzz" McGraw, announced their $60 million plans for a New Vision in July. What started as a local story has morphed into national and global coverage. The outcome of this unethical attempt at deaccessioning by a pariah museum may have a game changing impact on the mandate of all American museums' commitment to preserve and conserve collections for future generations.

  • A Study in Contrast Two Museums in Lisbon

    National Tile Museum and MAAT Bookend Art and Culture

    Two Libon Museum
    By: Mark Favermann - Dec 30th, 2017

    These institutions visually and physically reflected Portuguese art and culture, one embracing the nooks and crannies of history while the other exhibited a vibrant openness to contemporary urbanity.

  • The Jewel Of The Douro Valley

    Since 1880 Ramos Pinto Has Produced Port

    By: Philip S. Kampe - Jan 07th, 2018

    The Ramos Pinto brothers founded Ramos Pinto in 1880 and marketed the port wine producing company to Brazilians. They commissioned remarkable artworks illustrating their products and guerilla marketing practices. Today, the posters are iconic and the new owners, Champagne Roederer, have been following in the footsteps of Antonio and Adriano Ramos Pinto.

  • Vermont’s Eclectic Shelburne Museum

    How Sweet It Is

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jan 12th, 2018

    Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888-1960) founded the Shelburne Museum which has 150,000 objects and 39 buildings on 45 acres. Her father Henry Osborne Havemeyer was known as The Sugar King. With his wife Louisne they created a vast collection donating 2,000 objects, including French Impressionist masterpieces, to the Met. Electra married polo champion James Watson Webb II of the Vanderbilt family. Well before the controversies of the Berkshire Museum, in 1996, the Shelburne Museum sold $30 million of its art to pay expenses. During the winter just five buildings are open. We viewed two special exhibitions in the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education which opened in 2013. It was a lively and intriguing experience.

  • Salvatore Del Deo: A Storied History

    Co Founder of Provincetown’s Ciro’s and Sal’s

    By: Charles Giuliano - Oct 23rd, 2017

    Now 92, the first generation Italian born artist, Salvatore Del Deo, settled in Provincetown in the post war 1940s. To pay for paint he did all the usual odd jobs. On summer he shippied out on a scallop boat. That experience richly informs a poignant triptych “Homage to the Patricia Marie” which was a part of his retrospective Salvatore Del Deo: A Storied History at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis. Famously he teamed up with another starving artist, Ciro Cozzi, to co found the legendary restaurant Ciro's and Sals. He later started his own Sal's Place.

  • Group Fundraises to Block Berkshire Museum Sale

    Save the Save

    By: Save the Art - Oct 13th, 2017

    “This is a classic case of confronting a well-organized, well-financed, misguided inside group, hoping to lead them to their better angels,” said Leslie Ferrin, founder of Save the Art. “That’s why we’re crowd-sourcing Save the Art’s legal action fund. We want to invite people to step up at whatever level they can, and say, “we support finding a better solution.”

  • MAGMA Opens in Gloucester

    Dance Program of Sarah Slifer Swift

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 29th, 2017

    To launch Sareah Slifer Swft's Movement Art Gloucester MA (MAGMA) there were popup performances as well as card triks by her adolescent son Seamus. It was a fun way to christen a great space for dance and the performing arts.

  • Frank Gehry to Design Northern Berkshire Museum

    Bilbao Effect Anticipated for North Adams

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 02nd, 2017

    In May the world's foremost architect, Frank Gehry, signed on to design The Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum in North Adams. It is one of 11 projects being developed by visionary museum director Thomas Krens. There is a daunting sticker price of some $300 miliion for construction anticipated to start as early as June, 2018.

  • Everything Old Is New Again

    David Hockney at Eighty

    By: Edward Rubin - Sep 05th, 2017

    Happy Birthday Mr. Hockney: Self Portraits and Photographs at Getty Museum in Los Angeles remains on view through November 26. On the occasion of his 80th birthday there are many incentives to evaluate the British born artist who for many years has resided in Santa Monica. Paintings of his pool are among the most admired of his works that range from self portraits to "joiners" or photo collages.

  • Conspiracy to Decimate Berkshire Museum

    Protests Planned for September 9

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 08th, 2017

    Barring intervention by the Attorney General, at best a long shot, plans to sell 40 works of art with two paintings by Norman Rockwell worth as much as the remaining 38 lots, the fall auctions by Sotheby’s in New York appears to be a done deal .For the second time protestors will picket in front of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield from 10 am to 2 pmon Saturday, September 9. This past week Sotheby’s announced a presale estimate of “thirty pieces of silver.”

  • Three Artists Out on a Limb

    Eclipse Mill Gallery Shows Pendell, Sutro and Vera

    By: Eclipse - Sep 12th, 2017

    Out on a Limb explores the creative process and how it engenders a final product. The exhibiting artists employ painting, collage, fiber art, and preliminary drawing to embody how new ideas push change. The exhibition at Eclipse Mill Gallery in North Adams features work by Debi Pendell, Sarah Sutro and Betty Vera. The opening will occur Saturday, September 30, from 6-8pm.

  • Berkshire Museum Financials

    Follow the Money

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 18th, 2017

    Based on an extensive Berkshire Eagle background check of Van Shields, and a failed attempt to create a radical new museum in South Carolina, it appears that he arrived in Pittsfield, a month after being fired, with an agenda. Funding plans that failed there entail selling 40 treasures of the Berkshire Museum. Through intensive study of non profit reports filed with the charity desk of the Attorney General, Thomas White, with knowledge of these matters, has sent us bullet points. They shed light on the "dire straits" forcing the museum to decimate its legacy to rebuild for the future.

  • Bennington Center for the Arts

    Announces Award wWnners at Art Opening

    Hui Lai Chong "Into the City"
    By: Thomas Dyer - Sep 27th, 2017

    This past weekend The Bennington Center for the Arts held an opening reception for two fall exhibitions, The Collective Members’ Show and the Artists for the New Century. Awards were announced for Artists for the New Century as well as for the outgoing Laumeister Fine Art Competition.

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