- MASS MoCA
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.
|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|
|August 17, 2017||Culminating event with Paul Green and Youth Alive dancers|
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.
This April, NBRJ, together with MCLA and Williams College, will host an open mic event inviting 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 will present 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 final 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 culminating 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 $18 for adults, $16 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.
Nick Cave: Until was organized by MASS MoCA and co-produced by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art of Bentonville, Arkansas, and Carriageworks of Sydney, Australia.
Principal exhibition support was provided by an anonymous gift. Major exhibition support was provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Jack Shainman Gallery, Marilyn and Larry Fields, BeadKraft, and the Robert Lehman Foundation.
Core education funding is provided by the WLS Spencer Foundation.
“A Responsive Museum,” a new initiative of the Education Department at MASS MoCA, is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Major education support is provided by the Milton and Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation and Holly Swett.
The Milton and Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation gives in memory of Sandy and Lynn Laitman.