States of the art

By SHAULA CLARK  |  June 9, 2009

MASSACHUSETTS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART (MASS MOCA) | The Berkshires — a strange, quiet wilderness to the west that would be perfectly at home in Lovecraft novel — host this modern-art behemoth. The Mass MoCA resides in a cluster of Industrial Revolution–era mill buildings transformed into Cold War electronics plant. It opened its doors as a museum in 1999. In addition to a long-term (as in, 25 years long) installation of the wildy colorful, undulating works of Sol Lewitt, you can also find three special exhibits on view through January 31: "Thursday the 12th," an assortment of Guy Ben-Ner's frequently slapstick video pieces (including a re-make of Moby Dick staged in his kitchen); "Long Time Gone," a graphic-novel collaboration between George Cochrane and his six-year-old daughter; and the wryly anxiety-laden group show "This Is Killing Me." If you're planning a Berkshires jaunt, keep your eye on their events calendar, as Mass MoCA flexes some serious live-performance muscle. Upcoming concerts include Blonde Redhead on June 27, Aimee Mann on July 11, and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival (July 15 through August 1).

1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, Massachusetts | 413.662.2111 |

WORCESTER ART MUSEUM | Where's the culture in Wormtown? Call the WAMbulance; they'll fix you right up. Resident jaw droppers at Massachusetts's second-largest art museum include Rembrandt's Saint Bartholomew, El Greco's The Repentant Magdalen, and Edward Hicks's Peaceable Kingdom. Also check out "Rona Pondick: The Metamorphosis of an Object" (through October 11), in which the sculptor juxtaposes ancient bronzes with her 3-D-modeling-aided fusions of human, plant, and animal forms.

55 Salisbury Street, Worcester, Massachusetts | 508.799.4406 |

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM | The crown jewel of downtown Portland's Arts District and Maine's oldest art institution (with a 1983 addition designed by I.M. Pei), the PAM offers such gems as Frank Lloyd Wright furniture, a bevy of Winslow Homers, and an Edgar Degas bronze. Summer exhibits to watch out for: "Call of the Coast: Art Colonies of New England" (June 25 through October 12); "For My Best Beloved Sister Mia: An Album of Photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron," a 19th-century collection of tender portraits snapped by Virginia Woolf's aunt (July 4 through September 7); and "Joyce Tenneson: Polaroid Portraits" (July 11 through October 4), works by the Rockport-based artist whose photos — many with an emphasis on the nude female form — have graced the covers of such mags as Time, Life, and Esquire.

7 Congress Square, Portland, Maine | 207.775.6148 |

FARNSWORTH MUSEUM | If the Portland Art Museum can't slake your insatiable lust for Andrew Wyeth's paintings, the Farnsworth Museum will hook you up. The museum keeps its focus zoomed in on locally connected artists, and even though Wyeth was born in Pennsylvania, his summers in Maine left an indelible mark on his work, as current exhibit "A Tribute to Andrew Wyeth" (through October 18, partly in the Wyeth Study Center Gallery, built from a restored church) shows in its 30-painting collection spanning the 1930s to the end of his career. While you're there, check out their other collections, featuring works by pop artist Alex Katz, Hope and Love sculptor Robert Indiana, and Grandma Moses's folk-art paintings.

16 Museum Street, Rockland, Maine | 207.596.6457 |

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Virginia Woolf, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marcel Breuer,  More more >
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