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Opinion

  • Love at a Distance by Kaija Saariaho

    Heralded Across the Continent, So So at the Met Opera

    By: Susan Hall - Dec 22nd, 2016

    An important opera by a major composer is set well at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The Met Orchestra under Susanna Mälkki was magnificent. The orchestral score is one of beauty and terror, evoking the sea and the dangers of love. It is the story that provides an arc, and this production missed it entirely, leaving the experience flat.

  • Met Opera Ends Season with a Bang

    Alagna Sings Cyrano

    By: Susan Hall - May 11th, 2017

    Opera is a form of many pieces. When the set, production, singing and orchestra work together, opera makes its own case. Cyrano de Bergerac realizes the seemingly Sisyphean task beautifully.

  • Massive Rauschenberg Exhibition Headed to NY

    Mulling Over Perls of Wisdom

    By: Martin Mugar - May 12th, 2017

    When visiting the Frank Stella retropective at the Whitney in 2015 the critic had his car towed. The event was so costly and inconvenient that Martin Mugar is thinking twice of driving to Manhattan to view the upcoming Rauschenberg exhibition. Many of his concerns and misgivings are informed by the critical comments of the critic Jed Perl. Here Mugar refects on Perls of wsdom. They enforce his own ideas of how Rauschenberg is emeblematic of the decline and fall of art in our time. As Mugar states "If you like your postmodern condition you can keep your postmodern condition and Rauschenberg's your guy."

  • Expanded MASS MoCA Galleries

    Preview of May 28 Opening

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 16th, 2017

    During a media tour of the final phase of build out for the 17 acre MASS MoCA campus artists, curators and installlers were working around the clock. While some of the works were not ready for prime time we caught an exciting glimpse of what visitors will encounter this summer in North Adams. The development of Building Six adds 130,000 square-feet of usable space. For renovations, programming and endowment the museum has raised $65 million.

  • MASS MoCA Celebrates

    32 Years from Thought to Finish

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 29th, 2017

    It was a challenge to find a legal parking space anywhere near the museum in North Adams. On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, from dawn to dusk, there were long lines and a constant stream of visitors. There may have been some 6,000 during the day and another 10,000 attended the rock concert by Cake on MASS MoCA's Joe Thompson Field.

  • Critical Condition

    ATCA Conference in San Francisco

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 04th, 2017

    In the age of social media everyone is a critic., Some enthusiasts post their "reviews" and images to Twitter and Facebook before curtain calls.That was he elephant in the room as some 80 of the 250 members of American Theatre Critics Association gathered for an annual conference this time in San Francisco. In addition to several days of seeing theatre there were meetings and panel discussions focused on issues and ideas in the profession.

  • Nelsons and his Wife Leave New Met Tosca

    See Them at Tanglewood on August 26th

    By: Paul J. Pelkonen - Jul 14th, 2017

    The new Met Tosca will premier with James Levine replacing Andris Nelsons at the helm. Kristine Opolais stepped out of the title role. They are together in Tanglewood for what promise to be a starry evening on August 26th.

  • 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.

  • Artist Stephen Hannock On Berkshire Museum

    How Selling the Art Betrays the Community

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 22nd, 2017

    Works by Stephen Hannock are in global museum collections. His Oxbow painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be included in a survey of Hudson River artist Thomas Cole. Hannock's mate Sting will also be involved in the project. When he created paintings for his friend's hometown of Newscastle the studies were shown at the Berkshire Museum. He gave one of the studies to the museum to honor philanthropist Nancy Fitzgerald. The fact of that work and the entire fine arts collection of the museum is unknown. We talked at length with the Berkshire based global artist about the impact of the museum's strategy to sell its fine arts collection with a radical makeover as an interactive educational museum for history and science.

  • Berkshire Museum Releases Auction List

    Two Rockwells and 38 Other Works

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 24th, 2017

    Initially the Berkshire Museum disclosed plans to sell two paintings by Norman Rockwell but declined to reveal the other works. Under intensive media scrutiny and concerns from the community the museum has posted responses to frequently asked questions on the website and has released the full list of deaccessioned works. The lot has a pre auction estmate of $50 million toward a goal to "reboot" with $20 milion in renovation and $40 million for endowment. The remaining $10 millions will be raised apart from the sale of works of art.

  • Agita of the Artist Martin Mugar

    Innocence and Experience

    By: Martin Mugar - Apr 26th, 2017

    For Blake, Christ was both a child and a lamb putting the innocence of the child and the lamb of the poem a priori in the realm of the godly. One cannot be a lamblike or a childlike without that innocence of God, which raises the question: what then is experience without innocence? Experience can only be a loss of innocence. Why do I in my painting linger in this realm of peachy keen colors if not to insist on the importance of this innocence that precedes experience.

  • Tilson Thomas and Gehry's New New World

    Miami Beach Leads the Way to Future of Classical Music

    By: Susan Hall - Apr 18th, 2017

    Frank Gehry babysat for Michael Tilson Thomas in Los Angeles where they both grew up. Now they are building a new world for classical music together.

  • Can the Metropolitan Opera Survive

    The House is One-Quarter Full

    By: Susan Hall - Apr 10th, 2017

    Sitting in the 7th row of the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday night, in a skimpy house, most of my neighbors had paid between $20 and $37.50 for their tickets. Fortunately for the Met Opera, HD fans have a different take on Met productions than people who like their opera live.

  • Decline in Theatre and Arts Media Coverage

    Matt Windman Panel for American Theatre Critics Association

    By: Aaron Krause - Jan 08th, 2017

    Matt Windman, author of “The Critics Say…57 Theater Reviewers in New York and Beyond Discuss Their Craft and Its Future,” led a panel discussion during the NY ATCA conference on the state of theater criticism in today’s world of social media bloggers and a decreasing number of full-time print theater critics

  • Pittsfield's Four Freedom's Rally

    Colonial Theatre Saturday, January 28

    By: Kate Maguire - Jan 27th, 2017

    Recently The Colonial Thatre in Pittsfield was the site for a packed gathering as a part of the national Women's March in protest of the extremist threats of President Donald Trump. The Colonial Theatre will be a part of the national Four Freedom's Rally on Saturday, January 28. Kate Maguire, the artistic director of the Berkshire Theatre Group, which includes the Colonial has taken a stand in activist resistance.

  • Vote for North Adams

    Contest for $500,000 Grant

    By: Charles Giuliano - Feb 09th, 2017

    North Adams has bsen selected as one of five finalists for Main Street Season Two. Please help by casting a vote once a day from now through February 16. The prize for the Small Business Revolution contest is $500,000.

  • The Science of Vaccinations

    Scratch and Sniff

    By: Jimmy Midnight - Feb 15th, 2017

    Polio is widely regarded, along with smallpox, as vaccination’s other “unmistakable success,” and in recent years the World Health Organization has pronounced it confined to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • Denver's Unique Strategy to Fund the Arts

    One Cent from Every Ten Dollars Spent Goes a Long Way

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 26th, 2017

    There is a 0.1 percent sales tax for arts and culture in Denver’s seven-county metro area. At just one cent for every ten dollars it generates $1.85 billion annually in economic activity, creates 10,205 jobs, and stimulates $520 million in tourism.

  • Rockefeller Offers Hamilton Matinees

    Title 1 School Children See the Best Show in Town

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 02nd, 2017

    Alexander Hamilton may have created the financial system that made building John D. Rockefeller's fortune possible. Now Rockefeller money is being used to fund tickets for Title 1 school children to attend the hottest show in town, "Hamilton."

  • ICA To Lease Expanded Space

    Two if by Sea in East Boston

    By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 07th, 2017

    When the Institute of Contemporary Art opened its waterfront home there were awards for the dramatic design by Diller Scofido and Renfro. Immediately, however, it was obvious that with 65,000 square feet, and just its top floor for exhibitions, there was no plan for expansion and growth. For the next five to ten years the ICA is leasing a 15,000 square foot industrial place in East Boston. Visitors will commute by ferry to the seasonal Watershed which opens in the summer of 2018.

  • Trumping the Arts

    Budget Wipeout of Government Funding

    By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 16th, 2017

    It is time for dissent and action. The federal budget proposes massive increases for national defense balanced by the elimination of $300 million currently supporting the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) which, if approved by a Republican dominated Congress, will be eliminated.

  • How to Watch a Movie

    Salvation in a Darkened Room

    By: Nancy Kempf - Apr 10th, 2017

    This think piece explores the difference between movies and cinema. In a compelling overview Kempf states that "I go to a lot of movies for a variety of reasons: to learn about other worlds/people/times through fictions and documentaries, to measure the zeitgeist, to ease a 100°+ summer day, but my primary desire is to experience the art of cinema, a remarkable art that, even more than stage, is collaborative and incorporates the entire constellation of the arts."

  • Berkshire Museum Ignores Outcry

    40 Works to be Sold at Sotheby’s

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 27th, 2017

    In compiling a list of 40 works to deaccession the Berkshire Museum opted to sell no works given by living artists or donors. When Norman Rockwell gave two works to the museum the letter, which is referred to in media coverage, states his wish to share them with the people of the Berkshires. In selling the works is the museum in legal violation of that trust? GIven the sensitivity of what is at stake we demand that the museum make public the artist's letter.

  • Berkshire Museum Stonewalls Critics

    Hires Costly PR to Spin Its Reboot

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 02nd, 2017

    When ethical concerns and second guessing of its "reboot" plans surfaced the Berkshire Museum has spent money it doesn't have for expensive PR and marketing. Heavy hitters have been hired to deflect tough questions from the media and flack the museum's strategy to sell 40 works of art and change its mandate.

  • Rockwell Family Opposes Berkshire Museum Sale

    Game Changer and Time to Rethink the Reboot

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 05th, 2017

    When Laurie Norton Moffett, director of the Norman Rockwell Museum, in a Berkshire Eagle op-ed piece asked the Berkshire Museum to "pause" in its plan to sell 40 works the story broke as national news. In daily coverage since then the pro and con has rocked back and forth. I seemed like game over when Joe Thompson, director of MASS MoCA, endorsed the sale and radical plans urging readers to "get real." Then lawyers waded in questioning that the works may or may not be "unrestricted." The controversy went into extra innings when the Rockwell family, in an Eagle letter, stated that the artist never intended for his works to be sold as a last ditch bailout for the poorly managed and curatorially aenemic museum.

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