Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My! @ Kidspace @ The Clark. Inspired by Peter Paul Rubens’s enormous painting Tiger, Lion, and Leopard Hunt, visitors will explore many questions: Who will be victorious? Could this animal hunt really have happened – and did it? What events or personalities caused Rubens to paint this picture? What problems did Rubens encounter when painting such a big picture so very long ago? This exhibition will include a number of hands-on activities. (Through March 31) Oh, Canada @ MASS MoCA, North Adams. The largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced outside Canada, this show features work by more than 60 artists who hail from every province and nearly every territory in the country, spanning multiple generations and working in all media. (Through April 1) Day After Day: The Diaristic Impulse @ University Art Museum, UAlbany. The obsessive desire to record day-to-day activities, document private worlds or chart the passage of time is reflected in work that serves as either a staging ground for more ambitious projects or as an end in itself. Artists include Guy Ben-Ner, Simon Evans, Ray Hamilton, Byron Kim, Meridith McNeal, Laurel Nakadate, David Shapiro, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Harvey Tulcensky and Martin Wilner. (Through April 6) We The People @ The Tang Teaching Gallery, Saratoga Springs. An exhibition and event series that explores constitutions and how they act to create order, configure communities, and form a collective identity featuring Allison Smith, Francis Cape, and Nari Ward. (Through April 7) Xu Bing: Phoenix @ MASS MoCA, North Adams. Drawing inspiration from the contemporary realities of his fast-changing country, Chinese artist Xu Bing spent two years creating his newest work, featuring two monumental birds fabricated entirely from materials harvested from construction sites in urban China, including demolition debris, steel beams, tools, and remnants of the daily lives of migrant laborers. At once fierce and strangely beautiful, the mythic Phoenixes bear witness to the complex interconnection between labor, history, commercial development, and the rapid accumulation of wealth in today’s China. 50 at 50: Five Decades of Collecting at The Hyde, 1963-2013 @ The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls. In celebration of The Hyde’s fiftieth year as a public museum, this exhibition focuses on 50 works of art from the fastest growing area of the Museum’s collection: modern and contemporary art. Included are paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture by such artists as Joseph Beuys, Robert Cottingham, Sam Gilliam , Adolph Gottlieb, Philip Guston, Keith Haring, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Sol Lewitt, Diego Rivera and David Smith. (Through April 14) An Early Spring @ Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson. Color-drenched still lifes by Dale Payson, abstract gouache paintings by Jenny Kemp, wall relief ceramic paintings by Anne Francey and abstract oil paintings by Kathy Burge. (Through April 14) Backstories @ The Clark, Williamstown. Works of art can lead a double life; often, one side is revealed to the public while the other – the back – remains forever hidden from view. In this exhibition, more than thirty masterworks from the Clark’s permanent collection (including two-dimensional works, such as paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs) will be displayed on pedestals so that viewers can walk around them. Seen this way, the works of art tell their little-known “backstories” and reveal the ways they were made, the way they have been cared for by collectors, and the many changes they have survived. Using “the back” as an artistic theme, the exhibition will also present pictures in which artists portray the human back. (Through April 21) Stories and Journeys: The Art of Faith Ringgold and Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson @ The Opalka Gallery, Albany. Integrating the materials and visual language from their African-American heritage with those from the Western tradition, each of these extraordinary artists tell stories which inspire, educate, commemorate and preserve memories both individual and collective. Opens January 22. Reception: Friday, February 1, 5-9pm with a story tour at 7pm. (Through April 21) Electric Paris @ The Clark, Williamstown. An exhibition that explores the ways in which artists depicted older oil and gas lamps and the newer electric lighting that emerged around the turn of the twentieth century. Paintings and prints in both high art and popular culture demonstrate that the systems of lighting, rather than the abstract idea of light itself, played a key role in defining Paris as a modern city. (Through April 21) The HIGHLOW Project: An Exhibition About Redemption @ The Chapel + Cultural Center, Troy. Photographer Ned Castle partnered with at-risk youth from across Vermont to dramatically recreate the high and low moments that have shaped their lives. The large-scale photographs are accompanied by audio narrations by each story’s subject to provide context and perspective. (Through April 30) Istvan Banyai: Stranger in a Strange Land @ Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge.
Part of the museum’s Distinguished Illustrator Series, an exhibit of works by the Hungarian-born artist whose illustrations have appeared on the covers and pages of The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The New York Times and many others. (Through May 5) Skyline Adrift: Cuban Art and Architecture @ Omi International Arts Center, Ghent.
Large-scale architectonic installations by Cuban architects Yilena Lourdes Feitó Echarri and Yoandy Rizo Fiallo and internationally renowned Cuban visual artists Alexandre Arrechea and Armando Mariño Calzado. (Through May) Bats: Creatures of the Night @ The Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield. A rich array of video, photography, life-like models and interactive stations, all relating the story of the only mammal that flies. (Through May 12) Eugene Ludins: An American Fantasist @ The New York State Museum, Albany. An exhibition exploring the life and work of the noted Woodstock painter of realist and fantastical landscapes, provocative political allegories and insightful portraits. (Through May 12) Gordon Parks: 100 Moments @ The New York State Museum, Albany. Photographs documenting African Americans in Harlem and Washington, D.C., during a pivotal time in U.S. history when both cities were going through significant changes arising from post-WW II urban migration, the expansion of the black press, concern for children’s education, and entrenched segregation and economic discrimination. (Through May 19) Opener 24: Carrie Moyer @ The Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery. Abstract works by Carrie Moyer. (Through May 19) Ansel Adams: Masterworks @ Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield. This exhibition of 47 photographs by Ansel Adams (1902-1984), selected by Adams himself to represent the best of his life’s work, includes iconic landscapes and architectural studies. (Through June 2)
Nature Magnified: Photographs by Andreas Feininger @ Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield. Photographer Andreas Feininger, most well-known for his depictions of the city of New York, also excelled at capturing the intricate details of nature. A series of shell images are paired with actual shells from the Museum’s expansive natural science collection. (Through June 2)Painting Between The Lines @ Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown. Fourteen contemporary painters created newly commissioned paintings based on descriptions of paintings in historical and contemporary novels by authors such as Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett, Sylvia Plath and Milan Kundera. By examining the ways contemporary artists look at storytelling, literature and writing as expressions of individual thought, the show aims to looks at the state of contemporary painting today, presenting some of its most innovative practitioners such as Laylah Ali, Marcel Dzama, and Fred Tomaselli. (Through June 9) The Legacy of Currier & Ives: Shaping the American Spirit @ Albany Institute of History & Art. An exhibition featuring sixty-four hand-colored lithographs that pays tribute to the popular nineteenth-century printmakers and their role in establishing a form of mass media that was inexpensive and eagerly sought by ordinary people. (Through June 15) Labeltalk 2013: India @ Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown. The ninth exhibition in the Labeltalk series, exhibitions that aim to explore works of art from a broad range of perspective, this show focuses on Indian art, inviting Williams professors from a broad range of disciplines to write short responses to the works. Also on view: Teaching with Art: The Persian Image, an array of Persian paintings dating from the 15th to the 20th century. (Through June 30) Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent @ The Tang Teaching Museum and Gallery, Saratoga Springs. A major retrospective of graphic artist, activist and educator Corita Kent including iconic images from the turbulent 1960s and 70s. (Through July 28) Points of Connection: Generations of Mingei @ The Harrison Gallery, Williamstown. In 1918, the British potter Bernard Leach visited Japan where he met a young, then unknown now legendary, potter Shoji Hamada in the small village of Mashiko. This friendship sparked the resurgence of the mingei aesthetic, from which sprung the life force of modern Japanese ceramics. Mingei, the “art of the people,” aspires to celebrate beauty in the functional.
Shoji Hamada, one of Japan’s National Living Treasures, mentored Tatsuzo Shimaoka, also a National Living Treasure, who in turn mentored Ken Matsuzaki. Shinsaku Hamada, son of Shoji, continued the tradition, passing it along to his son, Tomoo Hamada, who, along with Yoshinori Hagiwara, represent the contemporary work in this lineage. Inspired by Bernard Leach, Phil Rogers carries on the legacy in Great Britian. (Through July)
Clark Remix @ The Clark, Williamstown. A salon-style installation of works from The Clark’s permanent collection, including some 80 paintings, 20 sculptures and 300 examples of decorative arts. Visitors will be able to create their own “curatorial remix” of the collection through an interactive project called uCurate, available in the gallery and on the Clark’s website and can then submit them to a gallery that will be featured at clarkart.edu. The Clark’s curatorial team will regularly review the submissions, and will select the best of these for exhibitions that will be presented at the Clark. (Through Jan. 1, 2014)
Some Assembly Required @ Albany International Airport Gallery. An exhibition focusing on collage, expressed through traditional cut paper techniques as well as hybrids of photography, film, painting and sculpture. Artists: Todd Bartel, Allen Bryan, Laura Christensen, Susan Spencer Crowe, Paul Forte, Kirsten Hassenfeld, Niki Haynes, Andrea Hersh, Elana Herzog, Thomas Huber, Mary Lum, China Marks, Michael Oatman, Rob O’Neil, Rich Remsberg, Anne Roecklein. (Through September 8)