MCLA

A Lot of Possibilities, North Adams

A Social Strategy For Art, Activism, And Urban Farming


02/15/2011

NORTH ADAMS, MA- MCLA Gallery 51 is pleased to announce the opening of "A Lot of Possibilities, North Adams" on Thursday, Feb. 24. The exhibition is named after "A Lot of Possibilities," a project by artist Anna Lise Jensen that belongs to a practice of contemporary art that reflects the concept of artwork as communal and participatory.

From paper salad with cable dressing to small glass beetle sculptures, the prints, the installations, each and every one of the works on view along with the project archive allow the viewer to wonder among the animal and vegetable kingdom in a playful and, in some cases, dramatic way.

Anne Lise Jensen is a socially engaged artist based in New York City. Through her work she supports, creates and manages social art activities to spark a communal sense of space and sharing. She first started to work on "A Lot of Possibilities" in 2009 through a seasonal coalition. Since then, she brought together a roster of drastically different artists who have generated an uncanny number of works inspiring one another, interacting with public spaces, combining a range of mediums and strategizing small forgotten islands of urban fabric.

"In the summer of 2010, I thought about bringing "A Lot of Possibilities" to North Adams making MCLA Gallery 51 an additional venue for some of the artwork originated through this project," says Valeria Federici, MCLA program coordinator, Berkshire Cultural Resource Center, who curated the show. "I knew the project and some of the participant artists from a previous exhibition in Queens, N.Y. Pushed by the desire to actively contribute to the ongoing debate about art and change, I was intrigued by the challenge of adapting site-specific installations to a more traditional white box space," Federici continued.

"Anna Lise's response was, as always, enthusiastic. She came to visit the gallery within a couple of weeks from my first e-mail. On that occasion, Alyssa Casey, whose work will be in the show, suggested to use the plants in my backyard for a papermaking workshop to be held in the gallery. Brainstorming and comparing our ideas we started a conversation that brought us to the current exhibition," Federici said.

In concert with the project concept, MCLA Gallery 51 decided to extend the invitation to North Adams' gardeners and farmers. Maria Mazzocco of the Houghton Community Garden positively responded to the call and decided to create a winter garden in one of the gallery windows. Along with that particular installation, the show will feature old and new works of eleven artists: Alumbrados (Laura Fayer & Sandra Mack-Valencia), Norbert Francis Attard, Suzanne Broughel, Alyssa Casey, Lisbeth Langkjaer, Caroline Parks, John Tursi, Petra Valentova, Jonathan Velardi, and Virginia Vergara.

"A Lot of Possibilities, North Adams" aims to sparkle a thoughtful, positive conversation across a community that has demonstrated to be extraordinarily open to sharing, discussing and seeking new approaches to public spaces as well as finding new ways of life, without nostalgia, but looking back to farming, supporting local produce and contributing to deepen our relationship with food and nature.

"A Lot of Possibilities, North Adams" is on exhibit through March 27. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, Feb. 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. A paper-making workshop with Alyssa Casey will be held in the gallery on Saturday, Feb. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

MCLA Gallery 51 is a program of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center.

MCLA Gallery 51, at 51 Main Street in North Adams, is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (413) 664-8718, or visit www.mcla.edu/Gallery51.