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Williamstown, MA – May 2, 2014 – Before mid-century modern became retro-chic or bolstered the drinking glasses of fictitious Mad Men, it had a much more noble goal—reconnecting people with nature though design. This summer, The Trustees of Reservations is pleased to announce “Where Modern Meets Nature,” a new series of workshops, tours and performances offering a chance to step back in time - and into nature - through the portal of art and design. Taking place at The Trustees own ecological and artistic gem in the northern Berkshires, Field Farm, the collaborative series will draw upon the creativity and resources of local partners, bringing in area artists and scholars to lead visitors in a unique exploration of “art in place.”
As one of the northern Berkshires’ most significant cultural landscapes, Field Farm pairs two mid-century architectural structures, The Guest House and the Folly (New England’s youngest historic house museum), on 316 sublime acres of conserved meadows, woods and wetlands. Crisscrossed with trails and framed by sweeping views of Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts’ highest mountain, the property provides an idyllic setting for a summer culture series which exemplifies mid-century modernism’s reverence for the beauty and genius of the natural world. The property’s previous owners, Lawrence and Eleanor Bloedel, were passionate collectors of modern art and furniture. They ensured the public would have continued access to their legacy by distributing Field Farm’s collections between two Massachusetts’-based institutions, The Trustees of Reservations and the Williams College Museum of Art, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
“‘Where Modern Meets Nature’ represents the most immersive and creative exploration of the Bloedel’s Field Farm collection ever offered to the public,” says Joanna Ballantine, Trustees Western Region Director. “The series offers a rare opportunity to experience mid-century art and design embedded within its original spatial and natural context.” From mid-June through late-September, a mix of art and design tours, concerts, photography workshops, art classes and nature walks will encourage exploration and personal experience of how nature and art intersect, and inquire about their meanings, both historically and today. Programming partners include the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA), which will be hosting art, architecture and design tours on selected Sundays as well as separate tours of the Folly on selected Saturdays throughout the summer. In addition,183 Art School of the Berkshires will be offering drawing classes focused on Field Farm’s built and natural environment, including sessions on botanicals, landscapes and architectural drawing. And bringing music to the air, Second Sundays Outdoor Concerts will feature different musical styles with connections to the land from gifted, local artists, held once each month in July, August and September, rain or shine the full series schedule is available at here.
At Field Farm, students and visitors will be able to tap into a spectacular array of resources for learning, artistic expression or pure enjoyment, including the 1948 Bauhaus-inspired Guest House designed by Edwin Goodell, Jr., and The Folly, a 1965 pinwheel-shaped cottage designed by post-modernist architect Ulrich Franzen. Modern artwork adorns the buildings’ interiors, and the surrounding landscaped gardens boast thirteen sculptures, including works by Richard M. Miller and Herbert Ferber. The diversity of natural “architecture” at Field Farm is equally impressive as the two houses, which were designed to blend into their surroundings. The broad fields, wetlands and uplands provide habitat for myriad flora and fauna.
For those who fall for the charms of Field Farm and want to stay a little longer, The Guest House also serves as a six room bed and breakfast run by The Trustees. Likened to a “museum of modern furnishing,” filled with original art and furniture, including pieces by George Nelson, Aldair Aalto, Johannes Hansen & Hans Wagner, sofas by Vladimir Kagan, and an original Eames chair, the Guest House was just named “Best Retro Lodging in the Berkshires” by New England’s acclaimed Yankee Magazine. For more information about the Guest House, including special lodging offers, new this summer season, visit: http://www.thetrustees.org/field-farm/guest-house-specials.html
About the Trustees of Reservations: About The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of irreplaceable scenic, cultural, and natural significance for the general public to enjoy. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees is the world’s oldest land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation non profits. Supported by more than 100,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 112 spectacular reservations including working farms, historic homesteads and landscaped gardens, community parks, barrier beaches, mountain vistas and woodland trials located on more than 26,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. An established leader in the conservation and preservation movement and worldwide, The Trustees have also worked with community partners to protect an additional 34,000 acres. With hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, camps, concerts and events annually designed to engage all ages in its mission, The Trustees invite you to Find Your Place and get out and experience the natural beauty and culture our state has to offer. For more information, visit: www.thetrustees.org.