Will Call #12— Van Gogh and Nature at the Clark

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The Olive Trees, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889; oil on canvas;, Museum of Modern Art, New York

The Olive Trees, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889; oil on canvas;, Museum of Modern Art, New York

I love having my senses tested—really put through their paces. That’s just what “Van Gogh and Nature,” a painstakingly assembled collection on exhibit now at the Clark Art Institute, did to me last week. Although you have plenty of time to see this installation (Exhibit closes September 13, 2015), absorbing yourself in every brush stroke now, at the peak of summer, may be the best thing you can do to celebrate the verdant world of the Berkshires.

Vicki Saltzman, Director of Communications at the Clark, shares some surprising facts about Van Gogh, his works, and the exhibit with us during an extremely enjoyable conversation. Eventually, our chatter drifted like milkweed down on a summer’s day to other subjects. We we left Vincent behind to spend some quality time with Whistler’s Mother (entitled Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 by the artist), now in place at the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, along with other works by James McNeill Whistler.

We could have talked for much longer, we realized, when we strayed into the territory of the Clark’s permanent collection. Suffice it to say that we’ll be speaking with Ms. Saltzman again soon. If you’d like to combine a tour of “Van Gogh and Nature” with fine dining (and, really, who wouldn’t?), the Clark hosts Dinner and the Show, on Saturday August 22, during which curator Richard Kendall will lead an intimate discussion of the exhibit. Visit the Clark’s website for information about these, and many other, events going on year-round at one of the best-kept-secrets of the Berkshires.

PLUS: Michelle Daly, Program Coordinator, MCLA Berkshire Cultural Resource lets us know what’s in store in August during the Downstreet Arts Festival


Imperial Fritillaries in a Copper Vase, Vincent Van Gogh; 1886; Musée d'Orsay Paris; hoto Credit: The Art Archive/Gianni Dagli Orti / Art Resource, NY

Imperial Fritillaries in a Copper Vase, Vincent Van Gogh; 1886; Musée d’Orsay Paris; hoto Credit: The Art Archive/Gianni Dagli Orti / Art Resource, NY

From the Clark’s website:
From his earliest letters to his last great works of art, Vincent van Gogh showed an extraordinary fascination with the natural world. Youthful studies of trees, flowers, and heath-land were accompanied by verbal descriptions of the changing seasons, while increasingly ambitious pictures showed the Dutch landscape in all its aspects.

His travels to England, Belgium, and France brought new encounters with nature and a shift from biblical perspectives to modern attitudes influenced by contemporary literature and science. In Arles and Saint-Rémy, most notably, Van Gogh painted elemental landscapes in snow, wind, rain, and sunshine, while making incisive images of insects, leaves, and rocks that reflect his knowledge of illustrated natural history publications. Van Gogh and Nature will be the first exhibition to explore this subject in depth. Some forty oil paintings and ten drawings will survey the artist’s developing relationship with his natural surroundings.


Downstreet Art Continues!


Michelle Daly, program coordinator at the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts,  talks with the Greylock Glass again about the amazing summer-long arts bonanza that is Downstreet Art. AGAIN, we still didn’t cover but a fraction of the attraction.




Here’s ONE show, “Glazed and Diffused,” that we talked about. From the website of the Ferrin Contemporary & Cynthia-Reeves:

Glazed & Diffused is a survey exhibition focused on a select group of international artists, from George Ohr (b. 1857) to several mid-career artists chosen from the exhibition Ceramic Top 40. These artists use fired clay and glaze pigment to convey abstract content. Their sculpture, objects, vessels, tile, and site-specific installations reveal intended, abstract results using fluidity, abstraction, and color theory.

Listen to our conversation to hear Michelle describe some of her favorite parts of the festival, and then head on over to the the Downstreet Art Festival website for a listing of all the exhibits, installations, and events—you’re sure to find some new favorites of your own. As you explore, be sure to take note of the many groups Downstreet Art is collaborating with this year, such as the Commonfolk Artist Collective, Teen Summer Residency at MASS MoCA, Assets for Artists. Project eLEVate, and others. Chances are, you’ll want to keep up with some of these artists after the festival is over.



A Special Note of Thanks…

Thanks so much to FreeSFX for the use of the stock audio of an orchestra tuning up. Check out their offerings at http://www.freesfx.co.uk

Thanks also to Karen Savage, who donated her time and voice to LibriVox, the Free Audiobook collection. The sampled public domain audio is from Beatrice’s monologue in Much Ado About Nothing, Act 4, Scene 1.




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