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Art Finds

Monday, September 28, 2015

Roots on the Rails Finally Heads East

Vermont might be gearing up for the fall foliage crowds, but the real party starts on Saturday, November 7th. That’s when Roots on the Rails, known for its train rides out West that feature live music performances, is staging its first Vermont trip. The round-trip train ride, which is four-hours each way, will climb over the Green Mountains, past covered bridges, villages, farms and gorges while guests listen to folk and indie rock artists perform 45-minute sets. The line-up includes Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Syd Straw, Winterpills, and the Meadow Brothers. The rest of the weekend package includes performances and receptions off the train at locations in Bellows Falls and Saxtons River, with lodging at the Saxtons River Inn. Packages for the weekend run from $429 to $889 per person and space is limited to 60 patrons.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/28/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Don’t Miss Van Gogh Show at The Clark

The blockbuster show in New England this summer is not at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. No, you’ll have to travel to the northwestern corner of Massachusetts to Williamstown to find the Clark Art Institute. On view until September 13th is “Van Gogh and Nature,” fifty paintings and drawings by Van Gogh from over thirty museums and private collections. We stopped at the Clark yesterday, on the way back from dropping our son off at Cornell, and, wow, was it worth the slight detour. The works from the last 3 years of his life, in Arles, Saint-Rémy, and Auvers, are spectacularly vibrant. There are wonderful pairings of sketches and oils, like two depictions of olive trees hung side-by-side. I also liked how the curator used maps to show exactly where in France these towns are located and provided large photographs to see how they would look during Van Gogh’s time. 

Inspired by Van Gogh’s work, you can take you own walk through glorious nature. Stroll through the Clark’s meadows atop Stone Hill for a wonderful vista of Mount Greylock and the town of Williamstown below. Take a breather on the bench inside Thomas Schütte’s “Crystal,” an open-sided architectural piece newly planted on the grounds. You know it’s just been built because it smells like fresh wood. Then make your way down to the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, also on the Clark property to find another gem of an exhibition devoted to “Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist’s Mother),” otherwise known as Whistler’s Mother. Two small galleries of Whistler’s prints and drawings accompany the famous work. One glance at any of these works to see the mast of a ship, portrait of a niece, or buildings so small you’ll need a magnifying glass to find, and you’ll quickly appreciate Whistler’s immense talent. The Whistler show will be on view until September 27th, so make the effort to get here soon. You’ll thank me! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/25/15 at 07:05 AM
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Friday, May 08, 2015

Walk in the Footsteps of Canada’s Group of Seven Artists

Enter Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario and you can’t help be mesmerized by Canada’s source of artistic pride, the Group of Seven. These renowned landscape painters first exhibited together in 1920 at this same museum. Peering at the impressive mountains, lakes, and sky, I’ve often thought to myself that I’d love be at these exact spots in person. Over the years, some of my favorite stories have been following in the footsteps of artists, like visiting Winslow Homer’s Prouts Neck, Maine, or the Lake George Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband Alfred Stieglitz cherished. Now I’m hoping to get the chance to visit the landscape that inspired several of these Canadian greats, specifically A. Y. Jackson and Franklin Carmichael use used northeastern Ontario as their backdrop. First stop is Sudbury, where I’ll see many more works by these artists at the Art Gallery of Sudbury, and my first scenic overlook, the A. Y. Jackson Lookout outside of town. The highlight is Killarney Provincial Park, where I’ll be hiking and paddling smack dab in the middle of a Carmichael canvas, ringed by the La Cloche Mountains. I’ll continue along the Georgian Bay coastal route, with a must-stop at Manitoulin Island before returning to Sudbury. 

Franklin Carmichael
Light and Shadow, 1937
Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Art From Maine’s Top Museums On Display at Portland Museum of Art

The rugged and raw beauty of Maine has been a lure to many of America’s foremost landscape artists. Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School, first visited Mount Desert Island in 1844. When he returned home to New York with a bounty of canvases, Cole’s affluent patrons were astounded by the mix of mountains and sea. Man versus the chaotic forces of nature, particularly fishermen struggling against powerful nor’easters, kept Winslow Homer busy on the boulder-strewn shores of Prouts Neck for more than two decades. In the 1920s, Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and other early American abstractionists from Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery joined John Marin to work at his summer cottage in Deer Isle. 

This summer, the Portland Museum of Art is taking full advantage of this bevy of work to present Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail that includes signature pieces from Maine’s most-renowned art museums. On view from May 21 through September 20, the show will bring the best art Maine has to offer together for the first time. All of these museums are part of the Maine Art Museum Trail. To celebrate the exhibition and the route, Summer Feet Cycling, who I biked with on my 50th birthday, will present a weeklong ride along the coast that visits all 8 museums on the Maine Art Trail. This includes stops at Homer’s former art studio in Prouts Neck, a visit to Andrew Wyeth’s Olson House in Port Clyde, and a requisite day on Monhegan Island, where Robert Henri, Edward Hopper, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent all painted the island’s cliffs, meadows, and quaint fishing communities. The dates are June 21-27 and September 6-12. Cost is $2595 per person, including lodging, bike rental, guides, van support, museum admission, and most meals.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/16/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Necessary Stop at the Corning Museum of Glass on a College Road Trip

On our drive last week from the campuses of Penn State to Syracuse, we stopped about an hour south of Ithaca in the small town of Corning, New York. Here you’ll find one of my favorite museums in western New York, the Corning Museum of Glass. Founded in 1851, Corning Glass Works was instrumental in helping Thomas Edison create the light bulb on a mass scale, designed the first television screens, invente the first assembly-line bottling plant, and now the company is thriving with the proliferation of fiber optics. You can learn about the inventors and innovation of glass at the museum. Corning also features an exceptional collection of glass art from Egyptian times to the present that will only get bigger with the new $64 million Contemporary Art and Design Wing set to make its debut on March 20th. The 26,000-square-foot art gallery will be the largest space anywhere dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in glass. It will also house one of the world’s largest facilities for glassblowing demonstrations and live glass design sessions, with 500 seats. Another highlight of the museum is the chance to create your own art, via glassblowing or sandblasting. My wife made a wind chime while my daughter created a glass pendant. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/25/15 at 07:50 AM
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tobago Jazz Experience, April 18-26

As I shovel the 2 feet of snow out of my driveway this morning, my thoughts turn to Tobago. Best known as a beachcombing and birdwatching paradise, the island is also known for it music festivals. One of the best is the annual jazz festival in April, where Caribbean performers pair up with big name singers. Already confirmed for this April are Jill Scott, Jennifer Hudson, and Kool & the Gang. A full schedule should be available shortly. If you need recommendations on places to stay nearby, give us a call. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/28/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Favorite Music of 2014

As I do every year, I go through the Boston Globe and NPR's music reviewers’ lists of top reviewed albums and songs of the year to see what truly stands out. It was a great year for electronica music, thanks to Leon Vynehall, Caribou, and Jacques Greene. Check out these three songs, in particular: Goodthing, Can't Do Without You, and 1 4 Me. Love the sultry delivery of Niia on her latest cut, Body. Lee Field’s Standing By Your Side is old school R&B straight from the playbook of Curtis Mayfield. The Matt Wilson Quartet and John Mediski came out with an ebullient up-tempo jazz album called Gathering Call, which I just purchased on Amazon and can’t wait to listen to it as I write. Check out Pumpkin's Delight. Hip-hop lovers will adore the new Freddie Gibbs and Madlib song, Deeper, meant to be played loud in the car when you don’t want anybody to mess with you. There was some excellent African music to come out this year, including Ugandan singer Somi and her strong delivery on Lady Revisited. Nigeria’s Brymo came out with a great album, Tabula Rusa, including one must-download song, One Pound. My favorite album of the year was A Long Way to the Beginning by Seun Kuti, Fela’s son. The younger Kuti reunited with his dad’s band to once again create that hypnotic Afropop beat, guaranteed to put a smile on your face. I can’t wait to crank it out on my trip to Tanzania in March. Enjoy! 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/20/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists Also Remembered for Wine Labels

The three Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed in Paris were not only known for their biting satire. According to Robert Camuto in his latest blog for Wine Spectator, those same cartoonists were also beloved in France for their imaginative wine labels. “Their spirit was to laugh at everything and expose the biggest bullshit in the world. And they were killed by the biggest act of bullshit,” Bordeaux winemaker Gérard Descrambe tells Camuto in the column. As we celbrate Martin Luther King this weekend, let’s all buy a bottle of Bordeaux and raise a toast to civility and tolerance. Then go out and watch Selma. I’ll be back on Tuesday. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/16/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Mass MOCA Announces Major Expansion

Located in North Adams, Massachusetts, just down the road from Williams College and the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, Mass MOCA is comprised of 26 buildings that were once home to a thriving textile mill. With one building the length of a football field, the museum is in a unique position to house immense works, like the recreation of a 1950s amusement park or a 20-ton sand castle— pushing the boundaries of what most people consider art. One of the most popular offerings is the massive Sol LeWitt installation, where 107 wall drawings are on view until 2033. The long-term exhibition seems to be a hit, because Mass MOCA just announced that other artists will join LeWitt in creating giant spaces devoted to their work. Painter Robert Rauschenberg, sculptor Louise Bourgeois, light artist James Turrell, conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, and instrument maker Gunnar Schonbeck were all chosen for the next round of expansion, set to be unveiled in 2017. Mass MOCA will double its size to 250,000 square feet of exhibition space, making it the largest contemporary art museum in the country. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/04/14 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Boston Needs to Take a Good Hard Look at Rotterdam’s New Food Market

Ten years in the making, the city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands (less than an hour drive from Amsterdam) has just unveiled a public market that will set the standard for design of food markets for years to come. On the base floor of a horseshoe-shaped tunnel, close to 100 food stalls will sell their mix of local cheeses, meats, produce, and flowers at the Markthal. The largest art piece in the Netherlands, Horn of Plenty by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam, wraps the curving interior walls of the hall. Projected onto the individually placed screens are larger-than-life images of vibrantly colored fruits, grains, and vegetables. Arching high in the sky and surrounding the massive artwork are 228 apartments with sweeping views of this port city. The city of Boston should take a good look at this multi-use architectural marvel. Set to debut our own public market in 2015, it seems as if we’re settling for far less by just using space in the old Haymarket building. Why not set much loftier aspirations with an emphasis on the future, not the past? 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/13/14 at 06:00 AM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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