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BCC Gallery Opens with Exhibition by Grier Horner

By Peter DudekSpecial to iBerkshires
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'And She Was All of Solid Fire'

Grier Horner:
Dresden Firebombing

Berkshire Community College Gallery
Director, Lisa Yetz
Intermodal Transportation Center
1 Columbus Ave., Pittsfield

Through April 17, 2009

Fridays and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.
Berkshire Community College has opened a new exhibition space in the building that houses the Intermodal Transportation Center in downtown Pittsfield.

This now brings the number of year-round gallery/exhibition spaces in the city to six, along with the Berkshire Museum, Ferrin Gallery, Zeitgeist, Lichtenstein Center and the Storefront Artist Project, the most of any town in Berkshire County.

For Pittsfield, this is an unprecedented achievement and emphasizes the ongoing role that the creative economy is playing in the revitalization of its downtown. 

BCC opened the storefront space with an exhibition of large paintings by Berkshire artist Grier Horner. The shape of the gallery echoes the wedgelike form of the transportation building and has large floor-to-ceiling windows making the exhibit visible 24/7 from the outside.

Working with an initial one-year lease Director Lisa Yetz, an artist and faculty member, plans to use this prominent location to present the artwork of professional artists, alumni and students. It is currently open on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 4; more days and longer hours will be added in the coming months.

Photos by Peter Dudek 
Grier Horner in front of one of his works at the BCC Gallery.
The title of Horner's exhibition is "Dresden Firebombing." The six paintings on view were all made in 2006 and are part of an ongoing narrative cycle based on the horrific fire bombing of Dresden, Germany, during World War II. These large stretched canvases tower over the viewer. The dominant colors are red and black, and the paint is often thickly applied by palette knife or loosely dripped onto the surface, creating a waxy and disfigured skein. 

Although the imagery in these paintings can be simultaneously intense and ambiguous, with multiple evocations of fire, angels, birds and planes, the titles like "Angel of Incineration" and "She Was All of Solid Fire" pull the works back into its narrative focus, a dark and gruesome one at that. Frayed skin, disfigurement and a general sense of terror and confusion are evoked. That said, at times these paintings can be rather attractive to look at. It is this attraction/repulsion paradox that keeps the viewer's vision in play.

Horner, retired associate editor of The Berkshire Eagle, has been painting for many years and has created a substantial body of work based on a wide range of subject matter, from "The Scarlet Letter" to portraits to surreal landscapes, but perhaps none of his previous work can match the driven fervor of his "Dresden Firebombing" series.

More information about Horner’s work is available at or his blog.

The BCC Gallery will likely be joining the co-operative efforts of Pittsfield Contemporary, a Web site and promotional effort formed three years ago by the above-mentioned exhibition spaces in order to draw attention to the ever-increasing presence of contemporary visual art in downtown Pittsfield.

Pittsfield has traditionally (with BCC playing a major role) drawn local artists to study and make art, but never before has it had this year-round mix of street-level commercial and noncommercial gallery activity that is now present. And with BCC having added its gallery to this burgeoning cluster of exhibition spaces, there are more opportunities than ever for artists to exhibit and sell their work in the city's downtown.

Left, Lisa Yetz, artist and director of the gallery, talks with fellow BCC instructor Kieth Shaw, an art historian. Above, BCC President Paul Raverta, left,  mingles at the exhibit.
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Schedule and Policy Changes at the Berkshire Museum

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Special hours will be in effect next week as the Berkshire Museum prepares for the Aug. 6 grand reopening of its fully-renovated second floor. 
The museum will close early at 4 pm on Sunday, Aug. 1, and will remain closed to the public Monday through Thursday, Aug. 2 through 5. The Berkshire Museum reopens Friday, Aug. 6, with an all-new second floor complete with five new exhibitions.
Beginning with Member Preview Days on Aug. 2, all Berkshire Museum visitors ages two and older will once again be required to wear protective face coverings throughout their visit and will not be permitted inside the building without a mask or other suitable face covering. 
Since statewide masking policies were lifted in late May, the Berkshire Museum has strongly encouraged visitors to carry on wearing face coverings to protect its many young visitors under the age of twelve who cannot yet be vaccinated. This week's switch to mandatory masking comes in response to recent CDC guidance and changing COVID-19 conditions in the region.
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