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Nick Cave: Until
Community Events

The artist Nick Cave, whose exhibition Until is currently on view in MASS MoCA’s signature Building 5 gallery, has invited performers and community groups to coalesce around common ideals and ultimately find healing in the exhibition — Cave’s largest, most political, and most personal — in which he addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in America today.

When Nick Cave conceived Until, he intended it to be more than an exhibition; his vision was a space that would serve as a platform for dialogue and expression. Cave gathered friends, performers, and community groups through two “convenings,” which took place within the exhibition. Community groups include Northern Berkshires for Racial Justice, Northern Berkshire Community Collation, Common Folk Artist Collective, the First Congregational Church of Williamstown, Lift Ev’ry Voice, and members of the North Adams and Pittsfield Police Departments.

Community Events

Date       Event
October 15, 2016 Opening Reception featuring Brenda Wimberly and Sereca Henderson
October 28, 2016 Helga Davis
December 1, 2016 Venable 8: Three Lessons on Gun Violence in the Classroom
December 22, 2016 E3 Academy drum circle with Otha Day
February 4, 2017 NBRJ’s Free Day interactive workshop
March 4, 2017 Bill T. Jones
April 2017 NBRJ with MCLA and Williams College: Community open mic
March 14, 2017 NBCC Unity: Teen writing workshop
March – May 2017 Ted Thomas’ 6-week poetry and creative writing workshop
March – May 2017 WordxWord and Lift Ev’ry Voice
April 7, 2017 Okwui Okpokwasili
April 26, 2017 Nick Cave in conversation with Denise Markonish, Helga Davis, and Bob Faust at the New York Public Library
April 28, 2017 Book Talk and discussion with Cave, Markonish, and Lori E. Lightfoot
June 3, 2017 R.O.P.E. World
June 16, 2017 Carl Hancock Rux
June 30, 2017 The Francesca Harper Project
August 17, 2017 Paul Green and Youth Alive dancers
August 19, 2017 Nona Hendryx & Nick Cave
September 1, 2017 Brenda Wimberley, Sereca Henderson, Poetic X, Bob Faust, and Nick Cave

 

Together with the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams-based Common Folk Artist Collective staged “Venable 8: Three Lessons on Gun Violence in the Classroom,” in the Kidspace gallery at MASS MoCA, where Cave is also exhibiting. The December performance was followed by conversation in Until. Led by percussionist and community organizer Otha Day, students in North Adams’ E3 Academy participated in a pop-up drum circle, in which museum visitors were able to participate and watch.

Northern Berkshires for Racial Justice’s (NBRJ) interactive workshop took place within the exhibition in early February, at the museum’s annual Free Day, which drew a crowd of close to 4,000. The group prompted museum visitors to answer the questions “How do you consider yourself a messenger in your community?” and “Who are the helpers in your community that you see doing good work?” Cave has frequently spoken of himself as a messenger — his art is his mode of communication.

In April, NBRJ, together with MCLA and Williams College, hosted an open mic event that invited community participants to respond to Cave’s provocative question: “Is there racism in heaven?” A poetry and fiction workshop is planned for March, when the Northern Berkshire Community Collation brings its Unity teen writing group for a tour of the exhibition. Teens will be encouraged to write about their experience with Until.

Award-winning poet, writer, editor, and educator Ted Thomas leads a 6-week inter-generational poetry and creative writing workshop in which high school students and elderly community members explore such topics as violence in American society, racism, fear, and stereotypes, using the Cave exhibition as a jumping-off point. For three weeks each group will meet separately, before coming together during the final three weeks of the workshop sessions to explore racism and stereotypes in poetry, as well as images of hope, peace, and harmony.

The Pittsfield, Mass.-based WordxWord and Lift Ev’ry Voice festivals collaborate to present serial spoken word events with young adult poets throughout the spring and summer. After a guided exploration of Until, the emerging poets will write, share, and workshop their poetry, before performing it in the gallery from May through August. In response to Cave’s exhibition, the youth-led performers of R.O.P.E. World presented a history of violence against Americans of color on Saturday, June 3, with the premise that violence has been embedded in our culture since the birth of this nation. Narratives communicated through spoken word, drama, dance, and video focus on gun violence in American, with solutions explored from a youth perspective.

In a community event on August 17, clarinetist Paul Green, co-director of “A Summer Celebration of Jewish Music,” joins together with community leader Shirley Edgerton’s Youth Alive dancers for a performance that merges traditional Jewish music with hip-hop. NAACP Berkshire Chapter President Dennis Powell introduces the collaborative performance, which includes a drum corps of young boys from Pittsfield, vocalist Wanda Houston, students from Congregation Knesset Israel, and Dr. Eli Newberger — a local pediatrician and tuba virtuoso. Following the event, a reception will be held for all community groups at one of MASS MoCA’s outdoor performance spaces.

Tickets to all performances held in the galleries are free with gallery admission. Gallery admission is $20 for adults, $18 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round.

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