Monday, July 7, 2008


If anyone is in the Upper Hudson Valley or the Berkshires this summer, you will certainly not want for cultural distractions. Besides the myriad of galleries dotted around the country towns and villages, this area also plays home to some innovative and classic museums. MASS MOCA, where my wife and I travelled up to see Beth Orton on Sat night, ( by the way she stunk, beware Prospect Park) is one the countries premier museums. Their courtyard feels like a Yorkshire creamery at the turn of the 19th century, awesome. BERKSHIRE Museum, The NORMAN ROCKWELL Museum, tons of fun, OLANA, home of Fredrich Church of the Hudson River gang, is open for tours. But its THE CLARK that stands out in my mind from the rest. Situated in Williamstown MA, nestled among the surrounding hills, its an ideal setting for one to step back in time and reflect on the works of some great masters. Small and intimate, easy to navigate, and very little in the way of crowds. Certainly not avant garde, in terms of the work being shown, its a little like watching TMC on a rainy afternoon. Of course we have moved on, but look at how we got here, brilliant, luminous and still working its magic. The buildings themselves are quite modern and beautifully designed. Right now "LIKE BREATH ON GLASS the art of painting softly" is showing. The works of Whistler, Innes, Homer, Steichen etc. Steichen's inclusion is wonderful from a photographic point of view as you can see exactly where he put his palate down and picked up his camera. There is almost nothing lost in the crossover and with so many photographers using modern techniques to achieve the look portrayed by this work, it seems pretty relevant today. Well worth a summer trip to the country.
PS Walk out back in the next two weeks, while he lillies bloom for their recreation of Monets Lilly pond at Giverny.

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