Monday, October 3, 2011

Critic's tour of treasures meanders in the hills

A recent article from the Boston Globe Travel section highlighting the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, (only minutes away from the 1896 House Inn)

Critic's tour of treasures meanders in the hills

From Williamstown to Stockbridge, museums display art for every taste

all it the Mohawk art trail.
Every two or three months, as part of my job as the Globe’s art critic, I drive out Route 2 headed for North Adams and Williamstown, two towns that, although just five minutes apart, couldn’t be more different in character but share a role as cornerstones in a part of the state rich with cultural treasures.
My destination in the former industrial center of North Adams is the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which occupies a campus that used to be Sprague Electric Co. headquarters, and before that, the Arnold Print Works factory, one of the world’s leading producers of printed textiles.
When Sprague closed its North Adams operation in 1985, the local economy had the stuffing knocked out of it. Art - and a museum director called Thomas Krens - came to the rescue.
Krens, as many people know, later became an aggressively expansionist director of the Guggenheim Museum, where he was responsible, among other things, for reviving the languishing Spanish industrial town of Bilbao with a spectacular, Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim outpost. Back in the 1980s, he was still director of the Williams College Museum of Art.
Seeing North Adams’s plight, and hunting around for a flexible space suited to the showing of large scale contemporary art, he backed a town proposal to convert the old Sprague campus on Marshall Street into what is now Mass MoCA, which has since become one of the most dynamic contemporary art museums in the country.
Read the rest of the article at  ( free access with registration)

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