New Haven Meets Mass MOCA

Over the holidays, I took a trip up to the Berkshires. I hadn't been to MASS MoCA in over a year and looked forward to visitng this wonderful sprawling art space that always offers a show or two that wows or perplexes me. I was delighted to discover "Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape," a show curated by Denise Markonish, the former curator of New Haven's own Artspace, who is now a curator at MASS MoCA. The exhibit explores and stretches the concept of landscape, contrasting the beauty of the natural world with the ugliness perpetrated by man. It's a compelling show featuring work by artists from throughout the U.S., including two New Haven area artists. Leila Daw is a textile artist, who creates amazing fabric images. Her tapestry of a volcano plays with perspective in a fascinating way. Joe Smolinski created a turbine inspired by cell phone towers disguised as trees (like the one on the Hutchinson Parkway). Not only are his sketches on display, but a real turbine tree with rotating trunk is set in the outdoor courtyard. The rotating trunk is connected to a generator that converts the wind energy into electricity. Pretty cool. It was exciting to find artists from our region represented at one of the country's most respected contemporary museums. Also at MASS MoCa is a new wing devoted to Sol LeWitt's wall drawings. This mammoth, three-story retrospective of the Connecticut artist (who passed away last year) is a collaboration between the Yale University Art Gallery, the Williams College Museum of Art and MASS MoCA. Over 100 of LeWitt's exquisite drawings are displayed chronologically. ( The LeWitt Drawing Retrospective is on view for 25 years, but you'll have to get to North Adams before April 12th to catch Badlands)


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