WILLIAMSTOWN -- Abstract art and exaggerated styles will make their way into several local museums this spring and summer, with work spanning at least three centuries.

At WCMA, the current Joan Mitchell exhibition will pave the way for one organized by Kevin Murphy, the museum's new curator of American art. Called "American Art: Colonial to Mid 20th Century," it opens on March 15.

On July 4, the Clark Art Institute, which is reopening after a $170 million campus renovation, will bring in two abstract exhibitions that reach beyond its traditional Impressionist focus: "Make It New: Abstract Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, 1950-1975," and "Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith."

"Make it New" will include works by Pollock, Mark Rothko, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Lee Bontecou and others who pushed the definitions of painting during the period with experiments in color, geometry, and unorthodox materials.

That same Fourth of July weekend, the Bennington Museum is opening an exhibition linking the works of two portraitists: Alice Neel, a 20th century New Yorker, who painted family and friends with a penetrating eye that exaggerated their features, and 19th century New England folk artist Erastus Salisbury Field, a self-taught itinerant who, like Neel, worked in a flat figurative style that exaggerated his subjects' features.


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The Bennington Museum also has new programming underway about American abstract artists who taught at Bennington College in the early 1960s, among them Paul Feeley, Jules Olitski, Isaac Witkin, Kenneth Noland and Anthony Caro.

-- Charles Bonenti

Exhibition outlook ...

Williams College Museum of Art

What: ‘American Art: 1950-1976'

When: Now on view.

What: ‘American Art: Colonial
to Mid-20th Century.'

When: Opens March 15.

Where: Williams College Museum of Art, Main Street, Williamstown.

Admission: Free.

Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Wednesdays.

Information: (413) 597-2429; www.wcma.org.

Clark Art Institute

What: ‘Make It New: Abstract Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, 1950-1975,' and ‘Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith'

When: July 4 through Oct. 13 and 19 respectively.

Where: Clark Art Institute,
225 South St., Williamstown.

Hours: With the exception of the Stone Hill Center, galleries are currently closed for renovation. After the July 4 reopening, galleries are open daily 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m. July and August.

Information: (458) 2303; www.clarkart.edu

Bennington (Vt.) Museum

What: ‘Alice Neel and Erastus Salisbury Field: Painting the People'

When: Opens July 4.

Where: Bennington Museum, 75 Main St. Bennington, Vt.

Admission: Adults, $10; seniors and students 18 and over, $9; children and students under 18 free.

Hours: Daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July through October.

Information: (802) 447-1571;
www.benningtonmuseum.org.