A feminist survival story developed at MASS MoCA that journeys through emotional and geologic landscapes while carrying a transmuting traveler from a bleak and blurry patriarchal present into a rainbow-colored feminist future. A Goddessey is the synthesis, culmination, and explosion of 15 years of earth-moving performance by LAVA.
From Sundance Theatre Institute, “Club Diamond” gets previewed at MASS MoCA on Friday.
It is not an idle boast to say that the Sundance Institute’s renowned theater program has developed Broadway and Off Broadway hits by the bushel. After all, over the years its annual lab at MASS MoCA in North Adams has gathered top-tier dramatic artists for writing workshops and work-in-progress performances. The quality of the work is often exceptional and cutting edge, which – when combined with the feeling of ink still wet – makes for a riveting night of theatrical innovation.
With Club Diamond, you can witness the latest theater-in-the-making with a Japanese twist in MASS MoCA’s Club B10 at 8pm on Friday (December 9).
Sundance Institute Theatre Lab returns to MASS MoCA with a presentation of Club Diamond, one of four projects it supports with its two-week artistic residency in North Adams. Created and written by Saori Tsukada and Nikki Appino, the play paints the story of a young woman traveling alone from Tokyo to New York City in search of fame. Drawing from Tsukada’s background in Japanese storytelling and Appino’s experience with American film, Club Diamond unfolds with a cross-cultural blend of media and storytelling techniques, rendering a single narrative through the use of silent film, illustration and live animation. The production is paired to Tim Fain’s delicate violin composition.
Image from “JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology” by Theater Mitu at MASS MoCA on Saturday.
A riveting work of theater explores the border community of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas — one a hot zone of the drug cartel wars, the other, directly across the border, the self-proclaimed “Safest Large City in America.” Led by Juárez-born and -raised founding artistic director Rubén Polendo, Theater Mitu’s company members condensed hundreds of hours of interviews and field recordings from both cities. Drawing on their research, JUÁREZ: A Documentary Mythology illuminates the region’s memories, hopes and fears, and takes the stage at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams at 8pm on Saturday (December 3).
Based on the disparate lifestyles of “murder capital of the world” Juárez, Mexico, and its neighboring town on the U.S. and Mexico border, El Paso, Texas, Theater Mitu has developed a piece that draws upon the communities’ “memories from the past, both recent and distant, and hopes for the future, near and far.” Incorporating real citizens’ interviews on audio and video, JUÁREZ creates a multimedia environment engrossed in the authentic issues and emotions of these border towns. As its story unfolds, JUÁREZ confronts hardship and struggle directly, ultimately turning the tides and leaving the viewer with cautious optimism.
John Kelly, a theater artist of rare emotional depth, presents “Time No Line,” a solo work-in-progress based on personal journal entries about the East Village of the 1980s, gender performance, the culture wars, queer history and more, incorporating movement, projections, song and spoken word. Kelly takes the stage at MASS MoCA’s Club B10 in North Adams at 8pm on Saturday (October 22).
John Kelly originally trained as a dancer, studying with top ballet schools before transitioning to the fine arts with a focus on painting and drawing. His connection with the self-portrait progressed into his work with corporeal mime, trapeze, tight-wire and voice. Each interest produces a different perspective on the human body, which has become a central theme in much of Kelly’s work.
Nick Cave in a studio at MASS MoCA, 2016 (photo by Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times)
If you think you know Nick Cave, think again. The artist – not the musician – known for his wearable sculptures called Soundsuits turns expectations inside out at MASS MoCA with “Until,” a massive, immersive installation opening on Saturday (October 15); not a single Soundsuit will be found in this exhibition.
The opening reception – featuring a performance in the exhibition space by Shreveport musicians Brenda Wimberly and Sereca Henderson – will be held from 5:30-7pm. Following the reception, Mercury Prize-winning singer-poet Benjamin Clementine performs in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center at 8:30pm.
Cave fills MASS MoCA’s signature football field-sized space, creating his largest and most overtly political installation to date, made up of thousands of found objects, which will make viewers feel as if they have entered a rich sensory tapestry, like stepping directly inside the belly of one of his iconic Soundsuits. The sheer volume of material that has been gathered is astounding — 16,000 wind spinners; millions of plastic pony beads; thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals; 13 gilded pigs; more than 10 miles of crystals; 24 chandeliers; 1 crocodile; and 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys.
There is a lot going on this summer at MASS MoCA in North Adams, but perhaps nothing is more unusual and tempting than a chance to see how their latest expansion project is coming along, physically, financially and artistically.
So in anticipation of the 2017 Memorial Day Weekend unveiling of Building 6 — the site of MASS MoCA’s third and final phase of development of its 16-acre, 28-building campus — the museum will celebrate the progress of its landmark construction and fundraising effort on Saturday (July 30) with an open house of Building 6, to include a construction update, hard hat tours and a reception. Those who are contributors and members will, of course, be in attendance, but the event also offers a chance for those not-yet-supporters to become part of what will soon – once again – be the largest museum for contemporary art in the world.
New programs included in the Phase III expansion include:
A series of temporary exhibitions, long-term installations and scholarly programs realized in partnership with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, which will show Rauschenberg’s works along with the works of artists who have attended the Foundation’s residency program in Captiva, Florida. The inaugural Rauschenberg residency program features a collaboration between artists Lonnie Holley and Dawn DeDeaux.
A long-term exhibition of the carved marble sculpture of Louise Bourgeois — some never before seen — realized in partnership with The Easton Foundation
A long-term exhibition of immersive light and space environments by James Turrell, including a dramatically scaled Ganzfeld, plus a new outdoor “skyspace” observatory to be created from an abandoned fire-suppression water tank
Storied indie-rock quartet Luna — led by Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, seen most recently at MASS MoCA as a duo performing “13 Most Beautiful: Songs for Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests” in 2009 — returns after a 10-year hiatus. With its 1999-era full-band line-up (also featuring Sean Eden and Lee Wall), the band sounds as strong as ever and is back with a sweet vengeance to open the summer season on Saturday (May 28) at 8pm in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center in North Adams.
Described as “one of indie rock’s most beloved live acts” by Rolling Stone, Luna pairs poignant songwriting with wistful, weaving electric guitar riffs and chugging bass lines — ’90s nostalgic pop-rock at its best. Following the break-up of Wareham’s band Galaxie 500, Luna was formed in New York in 1991 by Wareham with Stanley Demeski of the Feelies and Justin Harwood of the Chills. After releasing its debut album Lunapark in 1993, the band underwent a handful of line-up changes throughout the decade — Sean Eden joined in 1994, Lee Wall took Demeski’s place on drums in 1997, and Britta Phillips replaced Harwood on bass in 2000. The group still produced five studio albums amidst all the changes: Bewitched (1994), Penthouse (1995), Pup Tent (1997), The Days of Our Nights (1999), and Romantica (2002). In 2011, Rolling Stone named Penthouse #99 on its “100 Best Albums of the Nineties.”
FreshGrass, MASS MoCA’s three-day bluegrass and roots music festival, announces additional bands for its annual September festival. UK experimental folk group Lau, mandolin virtuoso Sierra Hull, Texas blues and roots sensation Ruthie Foster, alt-folk, Northampton-based Parsonsfield and Mexican bluegrasser Rana Santacruz join the festival line-up, which already brims with Americana favorites including Old Crow Medicine Show, Glen Hansard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rosanne Cash, the Devil Makes Three, a Saturday night hoedown featuring the Infamous Stringdusters, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Aoife O’Donovan, Alison Brown, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Stephane Wrembel, John Reischman & the Jaybirds, Mr. Sun, Mile Twelve and last year’s FreshGrass Award winners Old Salt Union and Zoe & Cloyd. FreshGrass, at MASS MoCA on September 16-18, 2016, features bluegrass traditionalists and innovators on four stages and in every nook and cranny of the museum’s 28-building, 16-acre campus. This year’s festival marks an integrated partnership with No Depression, the quarterly journal for roots music and online roots music authority.
Lau is at the center of the British folk scene. Featuring guitar, fiddle, squeezebox and the hearty vocals of its three members (Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke), the band’s name comes from an old Orcadian word for “natural light,” and its music follows suit. “Steeped in folk heritage but with a love for experimentation” (The Guardian), Lau’s shimmering folk melodies and countless instrumental layers shed new light on traditional music. Beginning with its debut album released in 2007, Lau won Best Group for three consecutive years at the BBC Folk Awards, has made appearances at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival and wowed a U.S. audience at last year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival. With three masterful studio albums released, Folk Radio UK names Lau as “the mothership for an extraordinary artistic outpouring and some of the best music being made anywhere in any genre.”
Championed by Alison Krauss as having talent with no boundaries, mandolin extraordinaire and prodigy Sierra Hull hits the FreshGrass stage on her way to a tremendously bright future. Hull began playing mandolin at age eight, was signed to Rounder Records at age 13, and now at 24, after attending and graduating from Berklee College of Music on the prestigious Presidential Scholarship, has already recorded three studio albums, collaborating with mentor Alison Krauss. Her most recent, Weighted Mind, produced by banjo luminary Béla Fleck, is a “stunning coming-of-age album” with which Hull joins the likes of Nickel Creek alums Chris Thile, Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins as “pedigreed virtuosos whose youthful, searching musical minds have taken them into postmodern singer-songwriter territory and beyond” (NPR Music).
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