By now it shouldn’t come as any surprise that MASS MoCA isn’t the only place in the Berkshires to hunt for 20th and 21st century art. The Williams College Museum of Art has always had an eye on contemporary art in its contained but powerful collection.
It can sometimes seem as if MASS MoCA had been built for the large-scale artful mash-ups that Rauschenberg reveled in. But while he’s the perfect guest at North Adams, Williams College actually has a course built around his work. The art history/museum course investigates the relationship of Rauschenberg’s life and work, making Autobiography the perfect complement to the class. Autobiography is actually his three-part work, 4½ by 17 feet, that includes photographs, Rauschenberg’s horoscope and photo-reproductions of an X-ray of his body.
Meleko Mokgosi’s Democratic Intuition series (through Sept. 17)… mixes hyper-realistic representation with psychoanalytic symbolism and post-colonial aesthetic theory. If that sounds like a mouthful, Mokgosi’s cinematic artwork is as direct as it is abstract. You might have to provide your own storyline at first, but his figures jump off the WCMA walls whether celebrating everyday life and love or confronting power structures, both political and psychological, in southern Africa.