Friday, October 27, 2006

Culture Vulture

I confess! I like music and art galleries and museums, theater and all that high-brow long-hair stuff, although my brow ain't high and my hair is medium.

Part of the Adirondacks trip was a stop on the way back at Mass MOCA.

North Adams, MA is on first glimpse an unlikely place for an art museum, but the old mill buildings that display the art are great exhibition spaces, with an emphasis on space: high ceilings, big rooms, big windows, and no fancy ceilings or moldings to distract from the art, which of course, is modern, this being the Museum of Contemporary Art. A clever intelligence was behind some of the less arty elements, like the restrooms and the cafes. The ladies room was obviously an old restroom from the factory, with the metal doors on the stalls and a certain grunge, now a certain spotless cool grunge, with the old fashioned sink the the old-fashioned lights. Worth a trip, even if nature doesn't call. The cafe used, for example, big Sears tool chests on wheels to keep the silverware and table items handy. Food and wine good, and the snack bar had excellent soups!

We saw several exhibits, some of which seem to be gone, except for Artists Making History (strongly recommend) thru April 22, 2007 and House of Oracles, Feb 25, 2007.

One of the exhibits was a series of photographs of various spots in North Adams: churches, schools, parks, cemeteries, and the viewer was invited to write a brief memory of familiar spots. The jottings were then put in a little plastic sleeve and hung by the photos. I read some. The most intriguing comment was about a church where someone wrote "I lost my virginity here."

North Adams has been revitalized by the museum, while the old buildings give new vitality to the art displayed. It's definitely worth a visit, especially in the fall. And you are close to the Berkshires with all that area has to offer. Beautiful scenery, art and music. That's almost as good as it gets.


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