There’s a Reason Why Art is Shown Best in Public Institutions. U Get Me?

Last weekend I went on a pilgrimage with a friend to the Hall Art Foundation which is up in Reading, Vermont, near Killington where we stayed during the hottest day of the year to date.

corporate collection, Andrew Halll

The barns of the Hall Art Foundation

There’s no air conditioning up there as they just don’t get that kind of heat normally, well until now that is, and the craziest thing is that the temps were higher up on Mt. Killington than they were back in Boston. Nuts.

Anyway, my friend and I learned of the Hall Art Foundation from a pilgrimage we made to Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) back in September of last year (the two joined in 2013). Mass MoCA was, and always is an amazing time and I highly suggest you check it out if you never have, or even if you haven’t been there in a while. There’s an incredible virtual reality installation by Laurie Anderson that you just can’t miss and a just as mind blowing retrospective by James Turrell (I feel weird calling anything by him a retrospective since he sure as hell ain’t done yet!) which will make you look at light in a whole new way.

But I digress….so, the Hall Art Foundation actually exists in two locations – one in Derneberg, Germany (in the former home and studio of artist Georg Baselitz) and the other, as I had mentioned, in Reading, VT, and is such a lovely discovery!  The entire collection has over 6000 pieces in it and with a little bit of Googling I

outdoor, sculpture, public

Untitled, Richard Deacon

found that it is the collection of a hedge fund manager who made close to 100 million dollars in bonuses just after the wall street bailout. Hmmm. He and his wife are also now the largest private landowners in Reading and the other residents have mixed feelings about what the Halls have done to Reading.

Putting all aside, if that’s completely possible, the shows we saw in 4 separate barns consisted of themed collections curated by well known artists invited in to create some order to what must be overwhelming at first. One show (3 of the barns) carried the theme of women’s bodies and sexuality and the fourth barn was about nature and it’s limited resources.

I must say that the shows were interesting and well curated but, since you can’t see the work without a guide (who couldn’t answer all of our questions) you have a fairly limited amount of time to take the work in as you are kept going at a certain pace. I’m glad that the work can be seen by the public, even though in small chunks at a time, but there was something false about the experience that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The difference in feel between Hall and Mass MoCA is like night and day. It was like the restricting, stern rules of a damaged, controlling adult versus the playful, honest and open heart of a child.

Anyone been to one, the other or both? Thoughts?

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