• Conspiracy to Decimate Berkshire Museum

    Protests Planned for September 9

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 08th, 2017

    Barring intervention by the Attorney General, at best a long shot, plans to sell 40 works of art with two paintings by Norman Rockwell worth as much as the remaining 38 lots, the fall auctions by Sotheby’s in New York appears to be a done deal .For the second time protestors will picket in front of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield from 10 am to 2 pmon Saturday, September 9. This past week Sotheby’s announced a presale estimate of “thirty pieces of silver.”

  • Five Candidates for State Rep

    Race for First Berkshire District

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 12th, 2017

    Last night at Bounty Fair, a North Adams restaurant, five candidates were given ten minutes. They are running to serve the final year of former Rep. Gail Cariddi, who passed away while in office. Running unopposed the Republican, Christine Canning, spoke first. Drawing lots she was followed by Stephanie Bosley, Lisa Blackmer, Kevin Towle and John Barrett III.

  • North Adams Primary Vote September 19

    Mayoral Candidate Tom Bernard Makes a Loft Call

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 16th, 2017

    For the first time in three decades there is an open race for Mayor of North Adams. On Tuesday, September 19, there will be a primary vote for Mayor. Five names will be on the ballot for Mayor- Tom Bernard, Rachel Branch, Robert Martelle, Robert Moulton Jr. and Peter Oleskiewicz. Of these Oleskiewicz has withdrawn from the race. Bernard was invited to the Eclipse Mill to speak with artists and members of the community.

  • Berkshire Museum Financials

    Follow the Money

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 18th, 2017

    Based on an extensive Berkshire Eagle background check of Van Shields, and a failed attempt to create a radical new museum in South Carolina, it appears that he arrived in Pittsfield, a month after being fired, with an agenda. Funding plans that failed there entail selling 40 treasures of the Berkshire Museum. Through intensive study of non profit reports filed with the charity desk of the Attorney General, Thomas White, with knowledge of these matters, has sent us bullet points. They shed light on the "dire straits" forcing the museum to decimate its legacy to rebuild for the future.

  • Van Shields' A New Vision Comes at a Price

    Berkshires Heritage and Legacy Worth More Than $60 Million

    By: Charles Giuliano - Sep 28th, 2017

    To launch A New Vision for the Berkshire Museum it plans to sell 40 key works for some $60 miillion. That's a pot of gold but comes at a terrible cost to the heritage, legacy and cultural branding of the Berkshires. Van Shiields and the museum board insist that there is no other option. That disrespect raises questions regarding stewardship of the 40,000 works in the collection including 2,395 fine art pieces.

  • Berkshire Museum Stonewalls New Yorker

    Van and Buzz Clam Up to Fake News Requests

    By: Charles Giuliano - Oct 05th, 2017

    Relying primarily on published sources Felix Salmon in the New Yorker has reported on the deaccessioning and New Vision of the Berkshire Museum. As Solomon states “The story of the Berkshire Museum is more than one about a second-tier local institution selling off some art. It’s a story about how fragile museum-industry norms are, how unaccountable a museum director can be, and how much destruction can be wrought during a single secret trustee meeting. (The museum’s new P.R. representative, Carol Bosco Baumann, declined repeated requests to make anyone from the museum available for an interview.)” This is consistent with the museum's bunker mentality of playing hard ball with the media.

  • ATCA Sondheim Panel

    Five Actors Discuss Their Iconic Roles

    By: Charles Giuliano - Nov 07th, 2017

    The New York conference of American Theatre Critics Association ended on Sunday morning with a Stephen Sondheim panel at the nightclub Don't Tell Mama. Moderated by the critic Rick Pender, the actors Len Cariou, Harvey Evans, Pamela Myers, Kurt Peterson and Teri Ralston recalled originating now iconic roles. On every level ATCA saved the best for last,

  • Dimitri Hvorostovsky Dies in London

    Superstar Baritone an Opera Icon

    By: Paul J. Pelkonen - Nov 23rd, 2017

    Dimitri Hvorostovsky was at the forefront of a generation of singers that, in the 1990s, invigorated the opera houses of the West when they left the recently collapsed Soviet Union. His U.S. debut came in 1993 in a Lyric Opera of Chicago production of La Traviata. His first role at the Met was as Yeletsky in 1995, a role he would sing eight times that season. He died in London at the age of 55.

  • Villa Dolores by Rafael Mahdavi

    Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

    By: Charles Giuliano - Nov 30th, 2017

    Since the 1980s, the artist Rafael Mahdavi has been a colleague and friend. For many years, in addition to painting, photography and sculpture, he has been writing. Recently, he published a second book Villa Dolores a memoir of childhood and adolescence with another volume, already written to follow. He is also revisiting, editing and preparing for publication several novels. This memoir is relatively brief, just 173 pages, but compact , polished, explosively evocative and poetic. I took my time reading brief chapters of two or three pages. Each was a distilled and detailed anecdote, some horrific in nature, that flowed like an intimate conversation.

  • Berkshire Museum Top Arts Story of 2017

    Coverage Morphed from Local to National News

    By: Charles Giuliano - Dec 26th, 2017

    A decision on an appeal by Attorney General of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, to halt the sale of 40 key works of art at Sothebys on behalf of the Berkshire Museum will be decided by the end of January. Van Shields, now on medical leave as director of the museum, and board president, Elizabeth "Buzz" McGraw, announced their $60 million plans for a New Vision in July. What started as a local story has morphed into national and global coverage. The outcome of this unethical attempt at deaccessioning by a pariah museum may have a game changing impact on the mandate of all American museums' commitment to preserve and conserve collections for future generations.

  • Berkshire Museum Will Gut Its Collection

    Matter to be Settled with Supreme Judicial Court

    By: Charles Giuliano - Feb 10th, 2018

    A compromise is a deal that neither side is happy with. Other than a few hard fought concessions the Berkshire Museum will now gut the museum and its collection in pursuit of its vulgarian, populist New Vision. It's tarnished leadership, including director, Van Shields and board president, Elizabeth McGraw, will have a tough job earning back the trust and support of a community which they so adroitly alienated.

  • Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968

    Ryan H. Walsh’s Landmark Study of the Counter Culture in Boston

    By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 12th, 2018

    For most of 1968 the then struggling Irish musician and composer, Van Morrison, was on the run from his mobbed up New York manager. Living on Green Street in Cambridge, with local musicians he performed gigs and worked on what became the iconic album Astral Weeks. This is the focus of an enthralling book by Ryan Walsh fleshed out in the context of a meticulously researched account of the vibrant counter culture of that year of living dangerously. Through what evolves as a page turner we learn about Mel Lyman and his Fort Hill Cult, their paper Avatar, founding of WBCN FM as the rock of Boston, the Boston Tea Party, the Bosstown Sound, and Boston After Dark/ Phoenix. Along the way we encounter films, The Boston Strangler and Titicut Follies,as well as LSD gurus Tim Leary and Baba Ram Dass. Long overdue this fiftieth anniversary book sets the record straight.

  • Meet Me in Milwaukee

    Intersections Summit Addresses Social Justice

    By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 27th, 2018

    From March 23 to 25 Milwaukee Repertorty Theatre hosted a conference Intersections Summit. It was convened to address equity, identity and inclusion through diversity and community outreach. In a letter to ATCA president, Bill Hirschman, managing director, Chad Bauman, who hosted us said in part "All in all, nearly 200 theater professionals from 80+ organizations from 30+ states attended including ATCA, TCG, funders such as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and journalists from media outlets such as The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune. More than 50 engagement leaders presented sessions and several of which were live streamed via our Facebook page as well as Howlround."

  • Renowned Boston Arts Critic David Bonetti

    Found Listening to Classical Music

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 05th, 2018

    A Berkshire Fine Arts contributor, the renowned arts critic, David Bonetti, was found dead in his Brookline, Mass. apartment while listening to classical music. His writing career started with Art New England and the Boston Phoenix. He joined the San Francisco Chronicle and then St. Louis Post Dispatch. After that he retired writing the occasional feature on the fine arts. In his final years he wrote on opera for this site. He was widely regarded as one of the best critics of his generation.

  • Chicago Theatre Critic Nancy Bishop

    Sharing a Life in the Arts

    By: Emma Terhaar - Apr 06th, 2018

    We met Chicago theatre critic Nancy Bishop during a conference of American Theatre Critics. In the past few years she has covered theatre for us. This is an interview posted to the website she edits Third Coast Review.

  • Legendary Alternative Editor Harper Barnes

    New Journalism in Boston/ Cambridge in the Early 1970s

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 14th, 2018

    The recently published book Astral Weeks, by Ryan Walsh, has brought national attention to the counter culture of Boston/ Cambridge in 1968. This extensive interview with Harper Barnes, former editor of the Cambridge Phoenix and columnist for The Real Paper, covers developments in the early 1970s. It was a fertile era that launched careers of numerous arts critics and political commentators. After a stint in Boston, eventually, he returned to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch and the city where he continues to reside.

  • Flight of the Phoenix

    Former Editor Arnie Reisman Rebuts Editor Harper Barnes

    By: Arnie Reisman - Apr 15th, 2018

    The response of former Boston After Dark editor, Arnie Reisman, to former Cambridge Phoenix editor, Harper Barnes, was too long to post as a comment. Accordingly, we have opted to run it under Reisman's byline. He was my first editor at the Brandeis Univertsity Justice and later hired me for Boston After Dark. There is much yet to be said about alternative media in the 1970s but with this exchange matters get curiouser and curiouser.

  • Rick Harlow's The Landscape of Energy

    Statent by a Berkshire Artist

    By: Rick Harlow - May 05th, 2018

    Through the end of May The Eclipse Mill Gallery launches its 2018 season with the first Berkshire solo show of abstract paintings by resident artist, Rick Harlow. In an artist's statement Harlow provides a context for what he describes as The Landscape of Energy. On May 26 in the gallery at 243 Union Street, North Adams, the group Aluna will create improvised music inspired by the paintings.

  • Arnie Reisman on Boston's Counter Culture

    Golden Age of Arts and Media from 1969 to 1981

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 08th, 2018

    The critical success of "Astral Weeks" by Ryan Walsh has brought national media attention to Boston's counter culture in 1968. Following a prior interview with former Cambridge Phoenix editor, Harper Barnes, we pick up on the other side of the Charles River with former Boston After Dark Editor, Arnie Reisman. This continues our coverage of arts and media during a golden age from 1969 to the demise of The Real Paper in 1981.

  • Berkshire Museum Plays Bait and Switch

    Juried Show Art of the Hills Opens on June 2

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 22nd, 2018

    On Sunday, June 2, the Berkshire Museum is hosting a festive opening for its summer-long juried exhibition Art of the Hills. Of 230 who applied works by 36 regional artists will be on view. I will not cross picket lines to attend the "celebration." There are no plans for Berkshire Fine Arts to view or review the exhibition.

  • Boston Publisher Stephen Mindich at 74

    Presided Over Once Formidable Phoenix Media Empire

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 25th, 2018

    While he lacked stature, Stephen Mindich, who died this week at 74, cast a giant shadow. As a hip capitalist at the height of his power he was an ersatz Citizen Kane of Boston's counter culture industry of print and broadcasting media. In 2013, his Phoenix empire exhinguished never again to take flight from the embers of fame and fortune.

  • Fed and State Support for Berkshire Arts

    Making $1 Worth $10

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jun 01st, 2018

    Arts leaders and the media met at Shakespeare & Company to hear good news about state and federal funding. With manufacturing long gone from the region cultural tourism is the major industry. The arts season attracts more than 400,000 visitors and generates 4,000 plus jobs. Congressman Richard Neal announced $348,000 in NEA funding for the Berkshires. The federal funding cycle provides $900,700 to the Massachusetts Cultural Council and $1,092,400 to the New England Foundation for the Arts to benefit cultural groups across the state. He reported that the NEA this year got an increase of $3 million for a total of $152,849,000.

  • Real Eyes on Adams

    Former Furniture Store Now a Gallery

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jun 03rd, 2018

    Until a few years ago the vast Simmons Furniture Store anchored the Park Street business area of downtown Adams. The town has improved curbside cosmetics. Now that business has been revitalized as Real Eyes Gallery with two large spaces. One featuers an arts and crafts store while the other displays works by former Met Opera scene painter, Bill Riley. He and his wife Francine Anne Riley are now gallerists as well as continuing as arts activists and community catalysts.

  • Director Laurie Norton Moffatt of Rockwell Museum

    What His Legacy Means to the Berkshires

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jun 12th, 2018

    The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge has just launched “Keepers of the Flame: Parrish, Wyeth, Rockwell and the Narrative Tradition.” During a recent press preview we enjoyed an unencumbered view of the scholarly and superbly installed exhibition. Founding director, Laurie Norton Moffatt, discussed what the Rockwell legacy means in light of the controversy of the sale of two of his works by the Berkshire Museum. One of those works "Shuffleton's Barber Shop" was acquired by George Lucas who is loaning it to the Norman Rockwell Museum for the next 18 months.

  • ICA Launches Watershed in East Boston

    Expansion Shuttles Across the Harbor

    By: Frank Conte - Jun 25th, 2018

    When the ICA opened its new home on the edge of Boston Harbor its fatal flaw was immediately obvious. While praised for dramatic design with development of surrounding towers it was soon hemmed in with no space for expansion. In a bold move it has now reached across the harbor to fast changing East Boston. A former factory has been reconfigured as Watershed. It combines generous exhibiton space with opportunities for meetings, education, and community programming. A long time community activist Frank Conte covers the launch which opens with free admission on July 4.

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