Art in the air conditioning

By GREG COOK  |  June 16, 2010

CLARK ART INSTITUTE | One of the quotes attributed to Pablo Picasso is "Good artists borrow; great artists steal." Whether he actually said it or not, it speaks to one of his methods: copying from elders like Velasquez and Rembrandt to learn, as well as to prove who was the best. "Picasso Looks at Degas" (June 13 through September 12) assembles more than 100 works by the two masters to show how Picasso riffed on the Impressionist's images of laundresses, dancers, and prostitutes, moving "from emulation to confrontation, and parody to homage."

225 South Street, Williamstown | 413.458.2303 | clarkart.edu

MASS MoCA | By a twist of art-world fate, the obscure, cantankerous Arkansas photographer Mike Disfarmer has become one of the most influential artists around since a cache of thousands of his old glass-plate negatives turned up a decade after his death in 1959. In a studio along the main drag of tiny Heber Springs, he produced no-nonsense portraits of his neighbors. "Disfarmer Photos" (through December 31) are like time machines transporting us back to starched, flinty, rural World War II America. Beginning July 31, also check out "Secret Selves," in which Boston native Leonard "Spock" Nimoy photographed Northampton folks posing as their "true or imagined secret selves."

1010 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams | 413.662.2111 | massmoca.org

PROVINCETOWN ART ASSOCIATION AND MUSEUM | "Early Impressions" (through July 4) surveys the early illustrations and drawings of Edward Hopper — a sketch of a woman selling soap that he did at age 15, a barbershop, a New York hotel — that reveal him shuffling toward his signature lonely American style.

460 Commercial Street, Provincetown | 508.487.1750 | paam.org

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NuPenny in Portland.

RHODE ISLAND
RISD MUSEUM | Over three decades, Linda Connor has roamed across the Southwest, Egypt, India, Mexico, Nepal, Tibet, and Turkey seeking sacred places. "Odyssey" (July 2 through October 31, closed in August) showcases her photos of holy ruins, petroglyphs, caves, Buddhas, churches, and a holy tree. While you're there, have a close encounter with Tristin Lowe's 12-foot-tall moon sculpture (through October 24). Lowe is also exhibiting a 50-foot-long felt white sperm whale at Williams College Museum of Art through August 8.

224 Benefit Street, Providence | 401.454.6500 | risdmuseum.org

NEWPORT ART MUSEUM | In "Surf Island: A Ride with Newport's Surf Community" (through September 5), Newport's Jason Evans photographs bare-chested dudes and a bikinied lady who brave the cold (check out the hardy folks riding breakers in toward a snowy beach) for the thrills of Rhode Island surfing.

76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport | 401.848.8200 | newportartmuseum.org

MAINE
NuPENNY | If you needed more evidence that Portland's Randy Regier is one of the best sculptors in the country, check out his new installation NuPenny (through September). Peek in the windows and you find a shop seemingly filled with toys from the '50s — cars, a robot, an Art Deco skyscraper, an ape piloting a flying saucer-tow-truck. The lights are on, but the place is never open. Everything is in black and white, so that even in photographs it's marooned in the past. It's like stumbling into an episode of The Twilight Zone.

82 Parris Street, Portland | nupennytoystore.com

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