We arrived on Friday afternoon at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts to have a private tour with the founding Director Joe Thompson. He led us through the ongoing $55 million construction project where Laurie Anderson, James Turrell and Jenny Holzer will have new installations. This is in partnership with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and is scheduled to open in May 2017. Upon completion MASS MoCA will be the largest contemporary art museum in the country boasting 250,000 square feet of gallery space.
Alex Da Corte’s “Free Roses”, his first museum exhibition creates an hypnotizing environment of sculpture, paintings and video installations created over the last ten years. Taking the lead from the 1960’s Pop artists, Da Corte’s work totally bombards the viewer with layers of various media, neon sculpture, objects from popular culture found in supermarkets and flea markets, references to family life, suburban upbringings, teenage desire, love and loss.
“Like his predecessors Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy and Jim Shaw, Da Corte investigates the cultural and psychological narratives invested in the objects he manipulates.” One of his two most important videos, “Chelsea Hotel No.2″ (2010) features Leonard Cohen’ s soundtrack and is a visual offering of eccentricities.
We continued our tour to view the long-term Kiefer installation realized in collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation in the steel pavilion, a 10,000 square foot space. This includes three major works “Narrow are the Vessels”, (2002) “Velimir Chlebnikov” (2008) and “The Women of the Revolution” (1992-2013). “Velimir” consists of 30 paintings, dealing with nautical warfare and is housed in it’s own pavilion. It is a stunning project incorporating Kiefer’s continual dialogue dealing with the complexities of his German past, history, the ravages of war, poetry, nature and the cycles of life and death. The artist engulfs us in the devastation of the last century in this exquisitely installed space.
Several years ago, I was invited to visit the Halls in Schloss Derneburg, Germany and to see the Julian Schnabel exhibition which was installed in the newly constructed wing. I was excited to visit the Vermont venue of the Hall Art Foundation. We arrived on Saturday afternoon to attend the reception of “Landscapes after Ruskin – Redefining the Sublime”, curated by Joel Sternfeld, the well known landscape photographer. What a fitting theme for this bucolic setting. This exhibition includes four buildings, a stone farmhouse, cow, horse and tractor barns, all converted from a former 19th century dairy farm. The Hall Art Foundation was founded by Andrew and Christine Hall in 2007 and opened to the public in 2012 and continues to engage the community in contemporary art. Exploring the grounds, we discovered Olafur Eliasson’s “Waterfall”, 2004. This monumental sculpture is made of scaffolding, water, wood, foil, aluminum, pump and hose. It measures over 21 feet x 19 1/2 feet x 32 1/2 feet . It is one of 3 Waterfalls that Eliasson created. The other two are in the Aros Aarhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark (2004) and the Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2005).