The Berkshires Massachusetts

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Enlightening Exhibitions

The natural charm and beauty of The Berkshires is transcended only by its heightened cultural awareness. Renowned for astonishing excellence and variety in music, dance, theater and other art forms, its museums are no exception. This season, the Berkshires comes particularly to light and life with an array of with brilliant exhibitions.

     Pastels: Special Installation
Through June 18, 2006 at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
225 South Street, Williamstown,
413-458-2303; www.clarkart.edu

     In the spirit of the 50th anniversary of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, a special installation of pastels is literally brought to light. French and American artists Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, Jean-François Millet, Frederick Childe Hassam, Edouard Vuillard and Edouard Manet are featured. These 19th-and early 20th-century artists revived the traditional use of pastels for portraiture, and often depicted new subjects, particularly modern life and the city. The fleeting quality of the pastel made it the perfect vehicle for representations of light, and these artists experimented with the physical qualities of the medium.

     National Geographic: The Art of Exploration
Through May 31, 2006 at The Norman Rockwell Museum
9 Glendale Road, Stockbridge,
413-298-4100; www.nrm.org

     For more than a century, the National Geographic Society's illustrators have taken readers to places beyond the reach of a camera's lens on journeys of the imagination. Vivid and compelling, their images have allowed us to witness the birth of our planet and look forward to the colonization of space, helping us to understand our history and the mysteries of the natural world. Renowned artists N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, Charles Knight, Jean-Leon Huens, Tom Lovell, Robert McCall, James Gurney and many others are represented in this exciting exhibition.

     In the Dark
January 21 - May 21, 2006 at The Berkshire Museum
39 South Street (Route 7), Pittsfield,
413-443-7171; www.berkshiremuseum.org

     This exhibition illuminates environments of darkness and the unique life forms that inhabit them. Through a combination of hands-on and whole-body interactives, walk-through dioramas and specimens, you can wander through a nocturnal forest past glowing mushrooms, and discover the amazing underground worlds beneath basement floors and backyards. Fragile cave ecosystems provide a labyrinth of adventure. Take the plunge to explore the unique life deep in the world's oceans. Discover how darkness has intrigued and influenced humans for thousand of years, and how we can help preserve fragile worlds without light.

        Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection
March 19 - May 2006 at MASS MoCA
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams,
413-662-2111; www.massmoca.org

     Life After Death presents the country's foremost collection of paintings from the New Leipzig School - a collection built by the Rubell Family in Miami and presented in its entirety for the first time at MASS MoCA. Based in Leipzig, these painters breathe new life into the East German tradition of social realist figure painting with enigmatic narratives and surrealist overtones. The New Leipzig School is the 21st century's first bona fide artistic phenomenon. Exhibition includes works by Tilo Baumgartel, Tim Eitel, Martin Kobe, Neo Rauch, Christoph Rückhaberle and more.