"US: Maya IV," Jarvis Rockwell's Earlier Works to be on Display


NORTH ADAMS, MA - Artist Jarvis Rockwell will open "Us: Maya IV" on Thursday, July 28, on DownStreet Art Thursday, an initiative of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC).

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., as part of the DownStreet Art Thursday celebration. The event is free and open to the public.

In addition to Rockwell's "Maya IV" sculpture, the installation will include a new wall drawing and other work he created in the 1960s and '70s.

According to Jonathan Secor, director of special programs at MCLA, "What started out as a vehicle to show Jarvis' wonderful pyramid of toys has turned into a complete installation of all things Jarvis - from his beautiful delicate drawings of the 1960s, to his first line drawing works of the '70s to his three-dimensional large-scale wall pieces. And, for the past month, he has been connecting all the work, literally, with line drawings and the addition of objects creating a current dialogue between the works, the artist and the viewer."

Since 1978, Rockwell has collected the action figures that appear on his "Maya IV" sculpture, but never before has the pyramid been accompanied by such a varied array of his other artwork.

In contrast with his earlier works, visitors to the gallery can see Rockwell's newest piece on the back wall of the gallery, which will continue as a work-in-progress throughout the summer. This drawing further investigates his ideas of reincarnation and drawing the soul back into being.

"Maya" has been on display in four separate galleries, each time with toys being added and rearranged and with the idea behind it growing stronger. From the display in the windows as one walks in, to the wall drawing in the back, one inspiration is seen: Us. According to Rockwell, the ever-changing window display is meant to show who we are, what we are, and how we act in different situations, while the wall drawings are Jarvis's attempt to show where we go and what happens when we die.

According to Rockwell, "Maya IV" represents who we are as people. "Maya" is a Hindi word which implies that the world we live in is an illusion that we have created.

Lauren Sottile, associate gallery manager for "Us: Maya IV," describes her experience working with Rockwell for the summer: "Even after such a short time in the gallery, I have seen the connection Jarvis creates between his narratives in the artwork and the way we live our life become more apparent.

"Jarvis always says that if he knew what his artwork was going to be, he would have no reason to have produced it," she continued. "That is, he has used this creation process to come nearer to his ideas. He explains, 'As I get closer to the end of creating all this artwork, I can see better where I've been.'"

The exhibition will remain on view through Oct. 16. "Us: MAYA IV" is at 49 Main Street in North Adams and is open Wednesday through Friday, from 12 to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DownStreet Art Thursdays will take place on the last Thursdays of July, August and September, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and will run till the Open Studio Weekend on Oct. 15-16. These events will feature music, performances, gallery openings and other downtown activities. 

DownStreet Art is a project of MCLA's Berkshire Culture Resource Center, partnering with the City of North Adams, Develop North Adams, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The program is made possible through leading sponsorship support provided by Orbit Visual Graphic Design, Excelsior Printing, Scarafoni Reality and Berkshire Bank. Additional support is provided by: Adams Co-Operative Bank, Brewhaha Café, Edward Jones Investments, The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, Moulton's Spectacle Shop Inc., Persnickety Toys, Jarvis W. Rockwell and The Sushi House.

The initiative was designed to revitalize downtown North Adams by identifying the city as a cultural haven. The program serves not only to increase MCLA's visibility, but also to showcase what other local arts organizations have to offer. For more information about DownStreet Art and MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, go to and bcrc .

For more information about Rockwell's DownStreet Art installation, (413) 663-5253.