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Cool Summer Suggestions

Summer is upon us in western New England, and baby, it's hot out there! The first thing that comes to my mind is a nice nude swim to cool off. On second thought, Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes From the Prado is on view in the Clark Art Institute's beautiful new air-conditioned wing (through October 9).

Twenty-eight luscious, sensuous old master canvases by the likes of Velazquez, Titian, Tintoretto, and the lover of luscious flesh himself, Rubens. Collected by the Spanish royals during the early 17th century, these risque paintings were kept in private salons, "salas reservadas," where they could be secretly viewed. Eventually the work ended up in the Prado's collection around 1830. Several of the paintings are traveling to the U.S. for the first time.

Over at Mass MoCA, where there are always several changing exhibits, Richard Nonas takes over Building 5. This big hall can easily overpower, but Nonas's meditative sculptural work turns this massive industrial space into a Zen-like garden. Another exhibit, The Space Between, sets seven artists loose around the campus, using a variety of media, both inside and out, to investigate ways to actively inhabit this state of “just passing through.” It's the kind of installation art that MassMoCA is perfect for.

In Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish and co-curator, Columbus, Ohio-based artist Sean Foley, enlist 23 artists to consider what the writer Ray Bradbury often spoke of, the need to retain a sense of wonder: you remain invested in your inner child by exploding every day. You don’t worry about the future, you don’t worry about the past — you just explode.

The Hall Art Foundation has a satellite program on the Mass MoCA campus, in the spotlessly renovated Building 15, filled with the work of Anselm Kiefer. Included in this on-going exhibition are Étroits sont les Vaisseaux (Narrow are the Vessels), an 82-foot long, undulating wave-like sculpture made of cast concrete, exposed rebar, and lead; The Women of the Revolution (Les Femmes de la Revolution, 1992), comprised of more than twenty lead beds with photographs and wall text; Velimir Chlebnikov (2004), a steel pavilion containing 30 paintings dealing with nautical warfare and inspired by the quixotic theories of the Russian mathematical experimentalist Velimir Chlebnikov; and a new, large-format photograph on lead created by the artist for the installation at MASS MoCA.

Something About Summer is the title of an exhibit by Yours Truly, which opened on June 16 at the Bennington Museum, in Bennington, Vermont. Guaranteed to cool you off or drive you in search of a cold drink.

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