Weekend Preview April 1-3



Artist Nari Ward’s dramatic sculptural installations are composed of material systematically collected from the neighborhoods where he lives and works or to which he is personally connected. On Sunday, April 3, Ward’s massive new exhibition, Sub Mirage Lignum, comprising several interconnected works and encompassing an entire floor, opens at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass. , where those “neighborhoods” are Ward’s birthplace and childhood home of Jamaica and the century-old restored capacitor factory that houses MASS MoCA. Visitors can experience the new show as both a large-scale environment and as a series of smaller yet connected spaces. 

The centerpiece of Ward’s exhibition is a monumental, 16-foot long sculpture titled Nu Colossus, whose form comes from a small conical basket-woven fish trap - a trap which lures fish only to ensnare them. Nearby, a 30-foot long wooden boat held up by large sheets of glass references glass-bottomed tourist boats, but also creates a mirage of the boat floating in the middle of the space.


Adjacent galleries will hold connected works like Stall, a sound and sculptural piece. Though a poor country, Jamaica is home to a booming tourist trade, which drives a robust market for souvenirs that are linked to national cultural traditions. Ward recorded sellers in a Jamaican marketplace calling to him to buy their wares; this soundtrack will be combined with elements collected from the former Sprague factory (now MASS MoCA.) This beckoning is key, for just as the sellers of tourist goods are calling to people to see their craft, Ward is doing the very same thing in calling visitors to the museum.

Mango Tourists
takes the form of 10-foot tall snowman shapes encrusted and embedded with found objects and mango seeds. This work unites the two sites of inspiration for Sub Mirage Lignum: the former Sprague factory and Jamaica. The sculptures will be covered in foam embellished with capacitors found at MASS MoCA and several thousand dried mango seeds harkening to the tropics. The capacitors and seeds will encase the sculptures like intricate beading, another mirage shifting humble materials to jewels. Additionally, both the capacitors and the seeds contain potential, one for power and the other for reproduction.

Lastly, the exhibition will also include two video works: Sweater, a macro-view close-up of pores on Ward's skin and the sweat beading and pouring off its surface, linking the artist to the fluidity of the ocean but also the toil of labor; and Jaunt, which merges two mirages -- one in Jamaica and one in North Adams -- further connecting these two disparate places. In Jaunt, the central image comes from footage of the water horizon line in Jamaica, which will then be framed by an image of the car wash bays on River Street in North Adams, around the corner from MASS MoCA. This effectively places the mirage of “paradise” smack dab in the middle of the reality of daily life, yet in the distance we can see the clock tower at MASS MoCA, another reminder of the transformation of factory to museum.

MASS MoCA members receive complimentary admission to the opening reception for Nari Ward: Sub Mirage Lignum on Saturday, April 2, at 5:30. Not-yet-members may attend for $8. Guests at Ward’s opening may also attend the opening reception for Memery: Imitation, Memory, and Internet Culture taking place at the same time at MASS MoCA.


Belgian musician Wieland Kuijken, the renowned player of the viola da gamba and baroque cello, performs works by Leclair, J.S. Bach, Marais, d’Anglebert and others at Kellogg Music Center of Simon’s Rock College in Great Barrington, Mass., as part of the South Berkshire Concerts series, on Sunday, April 3, at 3, accompanied by Dutch recorder virtuosa Eva Legêne and harpsichordist Arthur Haas.


A bevy of Berkshire musicians, including the BTUs (Steve Ide, Bobby MacVeety, Rick Leab, Butch Amiot), the Rev Tor Band, Bella’s Bartok, Divinitress, Sherri James Buxton and Bob Shepherd, the Wanda Houston Duo, Robin O’Herin, Barbara and Graham Dean, Jordan Weller, Rodney Mashia, and students from the Berkshire Music School will be joined by Grammy Award flute player Joseph FireCrow for the Berkshires Blossom for Japan Relief Concert, a benefit to raise funds for Japanese victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami, on Sunday, April 3, from 1 to 10 in the Founders’ Theatre at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass.


Close Encounters
, an exhibition of mixed media artwork including photography, painting, sculpture and video by 30 regional and national artists, addressing topics such as anxiety, comfort, bliss, the power of relationships, solitude and sensory engagement, opens at MCLA’s Gallery 51 in North Adams, Mass., on Thursday, March 31, at 5. The event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit is curated by MCLA’s museum studies class, part of the College’s arts management program. The students are responsible for every aspect of the show, including the theme, writing the call for entries, producing marketing materials and programming events. With guidance from arts management professor Lauren O’Neal and MCLA alumna Caitlin Healey, the students have worked on the show since the beginning of the semester, and have spent many hours outside of class in preparation.

MCLA Gallery 51 (), a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, is open daily, 10 to 6.

The Mahaiwe
in Great Barrington, Mass., features a weekend of hard-swinging country music and rip-roaring comedy. On Saturday, April 2, singer-mandolinist Ricky Skaggs, a 14-time Grammy Award winner, performs with his bluegrass-inspired group, Kentucky Thunder, while on Sunday, April 3, at 7, comedian Kathleen Madigan, whom Lewis Black – no slouch himself in the comedy department -- deemed "The Funniest Comic in America," presents her new act, Gone Madigan.

Ricky Skaggs continues to do his part to lead the recent roots revival in music. His album, Ricky Skaggs Solo: Songs My Dad Loved, was nominated for Grammy's 2011 Best Traditional Folk Album. The all-star lineup of Kentucky Thunder includes Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Cody Kilby (lead guitar), Mark Fain (bass), Paul Brewster (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar), Eddie Faris (baritone vocals, guitar), and Justin Moses (background vocals, banjo).

Kathleen Madigan follows in the tradition of great comedic minds like George Carlin and Bill Hicks; with biting wit and a big dose of Midwestern charm, she skewers politics, American culture, and her family.



On Saturday, April 2 at 9, New York based Spottiswoode & His Enemies, fronted by London-born Jonathan Spottiswoode, who is also the band's principal songwriter, returns to Club Helsinki in Hudson, N.Y., where the group inaugurated the stage officially last spring. The self-described “musical expressionists” have an eclectic sound, with songs ranging from rock to folk to jazz to gospel.

Spottiswoode & His Enemies are about to release their fifth CD, Wild Goosechase Expedition. The album is the band’s most shamelessly eclectic recording since their debut over a decade ago and pays homage to The Beatles. The remarkable artwork by renowned English painter, Alexander Gorlizki, clearly reflects this. Produced for Old Soul Records by Kenny Siegal, the band careens from balls-out rock, novelty blues and haunting balladry to acerbic sometimes tongue-in cheek social commentary.


Jonathan Spottiswoode also has released a solo CD, Piano 45, currently nominated for a 2010 Independent Music Award, and he has also written a gothic opera, Above Hell's Kitchen, that the band performed in October 2010 at the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Club Helsinki

405 Columbia St.
Hudson, N.Y.




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