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THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
art REVIEW

An exhibition laboring to make a statement

Artists get their hands dirty on a promising subject

From “The Workers’’ at Mass MoCA, a scene from Adrian Paci’s 2007 video called “Centro di Permanenza Temporanea’’ - the official Italian phrase for a detention camp for illegal immigrants. From “The Workers’’ at Mass MoCA, a scene from Adrian Paci’s 2007 video called “Centro di Permanenza Temporanea’’ - the official Italian phrase for a detention camp for illegal immigrants. (COURTESY THE ARTIST AND GALERIE PETER KILCHMANN, ZURICH, GALLERIA KAUFMANN REPETTO, MILAN, PETER BLUM GALLERY, NEW YORK)
By Sebastian Smee
Globe Staff / December 18, 2011
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Everything about “The Workers,’’ a group show at the wonderful Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, looks auspicious. Above all, the timing: The show, which opened back in May and continues through April 14, has coincided with a period of high unemployment and with the Occupy protests, which together have intensified society’s focus on the plight of workers in a sputtering economy. Unfortunately, the show itself is dreadful.

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THE WORKERS At: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, through April 14. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org