Mohawk Trail and Mass MoCA

After the MLB Hall of Fame, we decided to continue our “off highway” travel by swinging through North Adams as we followed the Mohawk Trail (Route 2) across northern Massachusetts. We figured we would hold off jumping on the Mass Pike (US 90) as long as possible and still get Joe home Thursday evening.

Living on the coast, this may be the first time I was ever in North Adams. Western Massachusetts is so out of the way for South Shore people and our Portland-Boston-Providence-New York axis. It was a real treat to drive through the Berkshires on incredibly windy roads. There was very little traffic in either direction although we were practically forced off the road by Staties escorting three extremely “long load” trailers carrying the propeller blades for a wind powered generator destined, I imagine, for some Berkshire hilltop. I almost wanted to turn around and follow this parade to see how they planned to negotiate the narrow winding roads, especially the hairpin turn that was only about three miles behind us now. But we pressed on.

I’m not that into art, that’s Betty’s forte, but I did want to see the Massachusetts Museum of  Contemporary Art in North Adams. It was placed out here on a restored 13 acre 19th century “factory campus” to attract tourists to the northwest corner of the Commonwealth, a beautiful if somewhat economically depressed area.

Mass MoCA was easily found and $15 to get in. (Seniors have to be 65, dammit) I love these old 19th century factory buildings; sturdy brick with lots of windows and every construction feature out in the open and uncovered. The state is covered with these obsolete factories and mills, remnants of our former position in the forefront of the leather and textile trades. It is great to see these rambling old structures re-purposed as condos, retail, light industry or, in this case, museums.

My favorite of the current gallery events was “Oh, Canada” consisting of many large installations ranging from weird to, well, even weirder. But that’s plays right to my taste. Click the pictures to enlarge.

There were a lot of paintings, most of which were strange and vaguely  apocalyptic in nature, but as stated, right up my alley. But my favorites were the large installations.    One was “The Mountain” by Graeme Patterson.

The first exhibit that really drew me in was a snow-capped mountain with two flanking buildings.

Scale models and other miniatures are a real weakness of mine and it was all I could do to keep from climbing inside the mountain to examine every exquisite detail.

A shot of the interior of the mountain. There are three little video screens showing a loop of a dancing figure, a “scale model” of the mountain and a lot of debris evidently left over by the miniature artisans as they built the installation. This is their workshop.

Another interesting piece is shown below. It depicts two deeply anguished American Indians, each leaning over their respective Anglo sidekick who has obviously committed suicide. 

The embroidered plaque reads “Die Liebe, Die Ihren NamenNicht Zu Nennen Wagt”. There are Heineken bottles strewn about. The white guy has evidently cut his wrists.

We were puzzled by the German saying on the right side until we found the same plaque in English on the Lone Ranger side. It read “The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name”. This makes obvious the message of the piece. These pairs of tortured gay lovers were pushed to suicide by anti-gay society. A bit dated now, we fervently hope.

Tonto grieves for his Kemosabe, who has slashed his wrists in despair.

Some artistic assembly of random stuff. Cool though.

Basket weaving extraordinaire.

This is art. It is framing made entirely of soap. Interesting, but not anything you would want in the house.

Nicely done.

There is broken glass on the floor. Detail of the far wall below.

 

 

 

 

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One Response to Mohawk Trail and Mass MoCA

  1. rachelynne says:

    Wow! These pieces are incredible! I live in eastern Mass and have never gotten to this museum. I’ll have to venture out there now. So glad I stumbled on your post!

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