The Berkshires has emerged as a major destination for the visual arts, drawing both sick-of-the-city weekenders and artists in search of cheap studio space and inspiration. Much of the action revolves around the big, ambitious, sometimes controversial projects mounted at MASS MoCA. One absurdly complex installation, Training Ground for Democracy, is the subject of a court battle over whether the museum should show it in its current, unfinished state. While a settlement is reached, catch a glimpse of it under a yellow tarp in the football-field-size Building 5.
Less than five minutes away, Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts is a former textile mill now housing a live-work artists’ community in 40 condos. Some of the studios are as big as 3,500 square feet, creating a lively mix of sculptures and photos amid pots, pans, and other household stuff. Don’t leave without checking out space No. 203, where painter Rick Harlow displays abstract landscapes inspired by his travels in the Colombian Amazon.
Don't expect a New York moment for “The Unknown Monet,” an exhibit of recently discovered pastels and drawings by Claude Monet. The show debuted in March at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and makes its lone Stateside appearance at the Clark in Williamstown (through September 16). The museum, spread across 140 acres, is currently being renovated by architect Annabelle Selldorf, who previously overhauled the Neue Galerie.