MCLA Gallery 51 to Present Yumi Janairo Roth Collaboration “Straight Lines in Four Directions and All Their Possible Combinations for a Time of Social Distancing” in August


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. —MCLA Gallery 51 (G51) will partner with artist and educator Yumi Janairo Roth and four other local organizations for a social distancing art project in August, based on the work of Sol LeWitt.   

Gallery 51 will also feature Roth for an artist talk at noon on August 1, where she will discuss the project and her artistic practice. The talk is free and open to the public and will be held virtually; register at  

The project involves a kit prepared by the artist, which includes directions, stencils, and materials to create markers for social distancing in public spaces throughout North Adams, including in front of G51 and on the MCLA campus. As you travel around the Berkshires in August, keep an eye out for these Sol LeWitt squares. 

Based on LeWitt’s 1973 work “Straight Lines in Four Directions and All Their Possible Combinations,” Roth’s work adds “for a time of social distancing.” The work reimagines LeWitt’s instructions and geometric shapes as instructions for standing and waiting as well as creating and maintaining spaces between ourselves.   

“As states in the U.S. started announcing shelter-in-place orders, like many people, I became acutely aware of how essential businesses started to outline the visual parameters of social distancing. In grocery stores and home improvement centers improvised lines and shapes drawn with tape on the ground popped up to remind people where to stand and which direction to walk,” Roth said in her proposal for the project.  

“These marks are a visual reminder of the coronavirus as well as the new minimum distance we must keep between ourselves and other people. At the same time, many people turned to online ordering and pickup as a way to minimize contact. Amazon’s grocery sales alone have increased by 100% in recent weeks. I’ve paid attention to both developments, saving my online shipment boxes (“quarantine cardboard”). From that cardboard, I have cut stencils to spray paint social distancing boxes on the sidewalks where people now queue up for entry into stores or for services.” 

About Yumi Janairo Roth 

Yumi Janairo Roth was born in Eugene, OR and raised in Chicago and suburban Washington DC. She currently lives and works in Boulder, Colorado where she is a professor or sculpture at the University of Colorado. Roth has created a diverse body of work that explores ideas of immigration, hybridity, and displacement through discrete objects and site-responsive installations, solo project as well as collaborations. In her projects, her objects function as both natives and interlopers to their environments, simultaneously recognizable and unfamiliar to their users. She received a BA in anthropology from Tufts University, a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts-Boston and an MFA from the State University of New York-New Paltz. 

Roth has exhibited and participated in artist-in-residencies nationally and internationally, including New York (Bronx River Art Center, Sara Meltzer Gallery, Momenta Art, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Smack Mellon, Cuchifritos), San Francisco (Limn Gallery), Portland (Institute of Contemporary Art, Map Room) Houston (Lawndale Art Center, Diverse Works), Boston (New Art Center), Denver (Rule Gallery, Center for Visual Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art), Minneapolis (Soap Factory), Milwaukee (Institute of Visual Arts, Kohler Arts/Industry), Santa Fe (Museum of Fine Arts), Seattle (Consolidated Works), Mexico (Arcaute Arte Contemporaneo, La Galleria Rufino Tamayo), the Philippines (Ayala and Vargas Museums), Colombia (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) Czech Republic (Galerie Klatovy-Klenova, Institute of Art and Design-Pilsen), and Germany (Frankfurter Kunstverein). 

About BCRC: 

MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) provides opportunities, resources, and support to the Northern Berkshire Community. BCRC brings together the Northern Berkshire , MCLA and greater Creative Communities through its cultural programming including: MCLA Gallery 51, Downstreet Art, B-Hip, and MCLA Presents! We will promote, facilitate, and encourage a dialogue in order to foster a sustainable creative community. BCRC is a collaborative project of MCLA, MASS MoCA, and the City of North Adams.