1939, the Quabbin Reservoir was created in western Massachusetts
to quench the thirst of those in the eastern part. Four
towns along the dammed Swift River were evacuated in the
effort: Dana, Greenwich, Prescott, and the largest, Enfield—incorporated
in 1816. In that town, 2,500 people were displaced, more
than 1,000 buildings were destroyed or relocated, and more
than 7,000 graves were dug up and moved. In all of the areas
affected, personal histories were buried, communities were
disbanded, factories were demolished and millions of acres
of trees were razed. When the reservoir was finally filled
to capacity, which took until 1946, nearly 40 square miles
The collective loss and disruption is the inspiration for
choreographer Sara Sweet Rabidoux’s new work, Poised,
which her dance company, Hoi Polloi, will perform tomorrow
(Friday) at MASS MoCA. The dance explores the subject by
narrating the history of events while simultaneously portraying
the ensuing emotions—sadness, change, loss—through montage.
Rabidoux and her company “lead the audience through an examination
of the sense of community, place, and change and the importance
of these themes in the overall process of healing.”
Rabidoux and Hoi Polloi will perform Poised at MASS
MoCA (1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams) tomorrow (Friday,
Oct. 25) at 8 PM. Tickets are $12 and available through
the box office, (413) 662-2111. For information, visit www.massmoca.org.
Wilson: Objects and Installations 1979-2000
Fred Wilson enjoys a challenge, particularly one that exposes
racial bias within cultural assumptions and underlying messages.
Wilson, whose show Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations
1979-2000 opens at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art
Gallery on Saturday, uses the museum as his medium, creating
faux-art objects that could conceivably be on exhibit, but
whose purpose is to address issues of race, gender and class.
Wilson grew up going to New York City’s Museum of Modern
Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he later became
an educator, and it was his work with various museums, particularly
as gallery curator at the Longwood Arts Project in the Bronx,
that led Wilson to realize how much a museum’s curator creates
how one views and intellectualizes certain objects within
the space. “I figured if they can do it, I can do it too,”
Wilson has said.
The artist has been invited by many museums and institutions
to create mock installations of their permanent collections,
and in doing so he reveals to the staff and visitors a new
way of experiencing the holdings. “I do jarring, upsetting
things, like exhibiting slave shackles next to lavish silver
museum pieces,” Wilson has said. “But I try to ease people
into these juxtapositions. I use beauty as a way of helping
people to receive difficult or upsetting ideas. The topical
issues are merely a vehicle for making one aware of one’s
own perceptual shift—which is a real thrill.”
and Installations, the first retrospective to examine
Wilson’s work, was organized for the Center for Art and
Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore
County, and it will check into the Tang Teaching Museum
and Art Gallery at Skidmore College (815 N. Broadway, Saratoga
Springs) on Saturday (Oct. 26) and run until Dec. 31. Wilson
will present an artist talk on Nov. 2 at 5 PM, followed
by a reception at 6:30. Call 580-8080 or visit www.skidmore.edu/tang
for more information.
Glass Ensemble and Dracula
Tod Browning’s atmospheric 1931 film Dracula, which
immortalized Bela Lugosi as the Transylvanian bloodsucker,
has one very peculiar characteristic: Its soundtrack contains
very little music and few effects. Whether this was because
Universal was trying to save money on a score, or a result
of the backlash against too much background music
in many early talking pictures, isn’t definitively known.
The lack of music certainly didn’t effect the film’s tremendous
initial success, or its long-term hold on the conciousness
of movie fans.
The studio saw the film’s lack of music as a great opportunity
67 years later, however, when they commissioned Philip Glass
to compose a new score for a home-video reissue of Dracula.
Musical minimalist Glass wasn’t a strange choice for a horror
film. Art-house regulars familiar with his work on the Koyaanisqatsi
films, and with his film scores for acclaimed directors
Martin Scorsese and Errol Morris, may be surprised to learn
Glass scored both Candyman and Candyman: Farewell
to the Flesh.
The reaction to the new Dracula score among horror
film buffs was decidedly mixed—as many hated it as loved
it—but audiences flocked to the Kronos Quartet’s live performances
of the music with the picture, and critics gave Glass nothing
but kudos. Glass has rearranged the score for his own ensemble,
and is taking Bela back on the road. In one of the great
scheduling coups of the fall season, the Egg is presenting
Glass and Dracula the night before Halloween. Bring
your own crosses.
The Philip Glass Ensemble will accompany Dracula
on Wednesday (Oct. 30) at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany).
Tickets for the 8 PM show are $28 adults, $25 seniors, and
$14 children. Call the Egg box office, 473-1845, for reservations