As one might expect from disciples of Kristin Linklater, the Conservatory actors at Shakespeare and Company gave us a vigorous and clear performance of this problematic work. Awash in Marlovian heroics, it comes close to farce with its constant switchbacks. I got a sense from these young actors that they had connected with the kind of voice it must have taken to get through a play like this at The Globe. It was a strong kind of speech, sometimes close to shouting, out of fashion these days, the influence of film being heavy in our theaters. It fit well with the ranting nature of the text and had enough energy to hide its weaknesses as well as support its strengths.
A few years ago I went to a lecture of which the most compelling theme was the link between 20th century architectural practice and toy design. I can’t remember the specific architects who were mentioned back then, but I can think of two practitioners from the Northeast who, I believe, at least partially fit into that thesis—Ann McCallum and Andrus Burr of Burr & McCallum in Williamstown, Massachusetts:
The toy is sometimes the object and the by-product of obsession, invention, tinkering, and learning. In the right person’s hands, the toy can express elevated aesthetic thought and highly selective insight, instances where rigorous work and play are so closely linked that they can become indistinguishable from each other. Another way to say it is that
Virtuosos make what they do look easy.
The past week has provided one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life for a variety of reasons. My first trip to the Northern Berkshires centered specifically in North Adams and Williamstown, Massachusetts and began on Canada’s West Coast—on Vancouver Island, where I live . My purpose was to attend an opening of Artists without Borders at the Brill Gallery, located in the historic Eclipse Mill in North Adams.
This exhibition at Williams College Museum of Art is supplemental to the immense retrospective installation at MassMoca in North Adams. In some surprising ways it reveals more of the evidentiary by-products of the thought process of the seminal conceptual artist than the spectacular realizations at MassMoca.
With the chronological retrospective exhibition of the wall drawings of Sol Lewitt, Mass MoCA has duly taken its place on the stage as a magnet for contemporary art.
This is intended as no more than a preliminary reflection on the retrospective installations which just opened at Mass MoCA and the Williams College Museum of Art—a first impression gathered when the galleries were full of people, some of whom I see all the time and others not in years. Amidst all the champagne, the personalities, and the excitement, the wall drawings still made their presence felt, rather powerfully, I thought. His measured forms and resonating colors were able to make their Platonic statement above all that mundane human static.
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