'Masters in Cardboard' Headed to MCLA Gallery 51


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' (MCLA) Gallery 51 will present the work of North Adams artist Andy Davis, who has recreated masterpieces from the Clark Art Institute's permanent collection. "Masters in Cardboard" will open on Thursday, Feb. 28, and run through March 24.

The public is invited to attend an opening reception for this exhibition on Thursday, Feb. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. in MCLA Gallery 51. The event is free.

When The Clark undertook the largest renovation project of its history, Davis reproduced their world-renowned collection in cardboard so the curators could plan new installations. Now these cardboard mock-ups are presented as art objects in their own right. An exhibition within an exhibition, "Masters in Cardboard" will take viewers on an imaginary trip through The Clark's collection.

"I made these cardboard paintings at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, where I work in the Curatorial Department. Due to renovations, we needed to re-locate nearly 100 paintings from various galleries and install them in a very compressed space," Davis explained.

To save the artwork from unnecessary handling, staff at the Clark decided that Davis should make stand-ins out of cardboard. Each cardboard work was installed in advance of the actual artwork, to make sure they worked well in their appointed locations.

"Every mock-up is accurate down to the eighth-inch. They had to be, in order to do their job," Davis said. "They were also made fairly quickly. We needed accurate sizes and shapes, but it wasn't worth it for me to belabor any details. The project had the unintended consequence of providing the world with a cardboard museum."

Davis is a painter who also works in mixed media, sculpture, and installation. His work is represented in collections around the world. He formed Davis Art Services as a vehicle to realize creative projects he wants to see happen. He has organized shows at Sotheby's Beverly Hills, Bonhams Los Angeles, [seven-degrees] Laguna Beach, PRESS Gallery and Branch Gallery in North Adams, and his own Avalon Seafood Gallery and Grass Gallery as part of DownStreet Art.

MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. It is at 51 Main St., and is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (413) 664-8718, or go to Gallery51 or