For Immediate Release
4 December 2019
Contact: Jodi Joseph
Director of Communications
Bill T. Jones, Car Seat Headrest, and High Mud Comedy Festival with John Early return along with live music from Liz Phair for a winter/spring lineup packed with new art, live music, dance, comedy, and film
All-new virtual reality from Laurie Anderson, contemporary artists explore translation in Kissing Through a Curtain, a 60-ft landscape from Gamaliel Rodríguez, and Ad Minoliti’s first solo museum show in the U.S. fill the galleries
Sam Evian, Bell Orchestre, and Michael Daves grace the Club B10 stage, while artist residencies include Ian Chang, Raga Maqam, and more
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS — A new year of art and music is on the horizon, but before we tempt you with all that, MASS MoCA ends its 20th year on a high note, offering FREE admission to all Berkshire County residents December 6 – 23. To further celebrate all things local, on December 6, MASS MoCA presents Gina Coleman and Misty Blues in a festive (ticketed) concert to mark 20 years of making blues music in the Berkshires.
MASS MoCA’s annual Community Day falls on January 25, when the museum throws open its doors to all visitors free of charge. It’s a day to delight in old favorites like Sol LeWitt, immerse in James Turrell experiences, and check out brand new art including an all-new virtual reality installation from Laurie Anderson and new work in the big gallery by Ledelle Moe, and it’s the day when thousands will be introduced to Big Bling, the 40-foot sculpture by Martin Puryear that now sits at the southernmost perimeter of MASS MoCA’s downtown North Adams campus.
MASS MoCA welcomes legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones on March 21 to preview Deep Blue Sea, a poignant powerhouse of dance and movement presented in a work-in-progress performance with our partners at Jacob’s Pillow before it premieres in New York City at the Park Avenue Armory. High Mud Comedy Fest returns on April 17 and 18 with hilarious headliner John Early whose singular brand of millennial hilarity will have us hooting. Indie-rock hero Car Seat Headrest travels back to MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center on April 25 for a one-of-a-kind preview. Legendary indie darling and fem-rock icon Liz Phair plays North Adams on May 16.
Join us on March 21 to celebrate new art with Kissing Through a Curtain — a whopper of an exhibition exploring translation in sculpture, painting, music, and more — Argentinian artist Ad Minoliti, and former Assets for Artists resident artist Gamaliel Rodríguez who displays a 60-foot wall drawing this winter — the first three exhibits MASS MoCA unveils in 2020.
In the Galleries
Laurie Anderson — “one of the artists VR was invented for” (The New York Times) — presents an all-new VR experience beginning December 21. To the Moon propels the viewer into the galaxy to walk on the lunar surface, glide through space debris, and fly through DNA skeletons.
On view beginning March 21, curator Alexandra Foradas brings together nine artists in Kissing Through a Curtain exploring what place translation — or, indeed, any attempt to communicate — occupies in a time when isolationism and xenophobia are on the rise.
On view beginning January 18, Gamaliel Rodríguez’s La Travesía / Le Voyage is a 60-foot long hyper-realist landscape conflating MASS MoCA’s repurposed factory architecture and the abandoned infrastructure projects of Rodríguez’s native Puerto Rico. Rodríguez first came to MASS MoCA through a scholarship program of Assets for Artists: The Studios at MASS MoCA in support of working artists in Puerto Rico who were devastated by the effects of Hurricane Maria.
Argentinian artist Ad Minoliti’s Fantasías Modulares — her first solo museum show in the U.S. — spins narratives that she populates with playful and fantasy-like figures, landscapes, and queer sensibility working to unravel and expand our conceptions of identity.
On March 21, celebrate these three exhibitions, Kissing Through a Curtain, Gamaliel Rodríguez’s La Travesía / Le Voyage, and Ad Minoliti’s Fantasías Modulares, when Kissing artist Jimena Sarno performs her piece taracatá trabaja (taracatá, an onomatopoeia in an iconic Argentinian folk song characterizing the sound of laborious work [i.e. fields being plowed and nails being hammered] and trabaja meaning works) during a Members Opening Reception. On April 23, artist Kim Faler, a recent resident of the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Program, where she began fabricating 20 large-scale sculptures of chewed bubblegum cast in materials including metal and chalk on view in Kissing Through a Curtain, gives an artist talk in the galleries.
Visitors get a glimpse into the inner workings of the creative process with five residency programs this spring, each concluding with a work-in-progress performance. On January 18, Ian Chang’s debut album 属 comes to life as a mesmerizing world of integrated sound, light, and projection responds to his drumming.
Legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones previews Deep Blue Sea on March 21, co-presented by Jacob’s Pillow, before its world premiere at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Developed in part during Jones’ visit to Nick Cave’s momentous 2017 MASS MoCA exhibition Until, the new movement work is a meditation on the nature of finding community in this confusing era of ours. Jones — “the most written-about figure in the dance world of last quarter century” (The New York Times) — is developing the piece in partnership with the renowned architecture team Diller Scofidio + Renfro and projection designer Peter Nigrini.
On the heels of a blowout 2019 Hunter Center appearance, the lo-fi cult band turned hi-fi critical darling, led by Will Toledo, Car Seat Headrest returns to a favorite venue for a residency, followed by a one-of-a-kind preview concert on April 25. Dubbed “the future of U.S. rock” by The Guardian, the band will test a new set, new lighting rig, and new stage performance ahead of some big plans for 2020. See the work-in-progress concert here — first.
On May 7, director and playwright Peter Glazer’s stage adaptation of author Karen Shepard’s mesmerizing novel, The Celestials, gets a staged reading that transports us to 1870 North Adams as seventy-five Chinese laborers — and unwitting strikebreakers — arrive in this bustling factory town. The novel was inspired by the same history as Simon Starling’s 2008 MASS MoCA exhibition The Nanjing Particles. Newly formed ensemble Raga Maqam explores the confluences of Indian classical Raga and Middle eastern/African Maqam on May 9, following a weeklong creative and technical residency.
On February 1, Gregory Maqoma — the South African choreographer who last visited MASS MoCA to work on William Kentridge’s The Head & the Load in spring 2019 — returns with Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro, weaving a narrative of greed, power, and the pain of mourning, another co-presentation with Jacob’s Pillow. This one features a high-energy live score interpreting Ravel’s music through South African vocal traditions.
Community Day visitors on January 25 should stay for the fiery rhythms of M.A.K.U. Soundsystem, whose blend of Colombian folklore, psychedelic rock, and Caribbean groove promises a party. On February 15, saxophonist and bandleader Jaleel Shaw brings his trio to “play with seductive melodicism” (The Washington Post) — perfect for a post-Valentines night out with some of the hottest players on the NYC scene. Brooklyn-based indie singer-songwriter Sam Evian brings some heat, his guitar, his band, and the very essence of pop to North Adams on February 29. Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Treya Lam’s cinematic songs and ethereal vocals fill Club B10 on March 14. On March 28, Roger C. Miller + Ludovico Ensemble blend elements of classical and rock with looped electric guitar for Music for String Quartet + 2 Turntables. Stay tuned for a pop-up gallery talk between artist and musician. Bell Orchestre — a Montreal-based collective that includes Arcade Fire members Richard Reed Parry and Sarah Neufeld — is “everything instrumental post-rock should be” (Pitchfork) in North Adams on April 4.
Get a first taste of one of the most acoustically exceptional spaces in the Northeast on April 21 at Studio9 at Porches, when Porches guests, Bang on a Can All-Star Mark Stewart, Broadway’s Karen Curlee, and a quartet of mainstay local musicians deliver a swinging evening of Cole Porter tunes.
Just as the mountains begin to green, get ready for a big splash of summer when FreshGrass presents Michael Daves & Friends on May 2, including Yonder Mountain String Band’s mandolin master Jacob Jolliff up in the club — MASS MoCA’s most intimate music venue.
Fem-rock icon Liz Phair sends spring out like a lion on May 16, for a night of timeless hits and her one-of-a-kind ferocious energy. From her indie roots, including her smash album Exile in Guyville, the alternative rocker has sold millions of records and garnered multiple Grammy nods. Her musical influence is wildly evident in today’s most empowerment-minded music.
On February 22, true crime podcast Criminal, which has over a million listeners each month, comes to North Adams for a live recording of stories about people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. “One of the most expansive, compassionate portraits of the lives of real people caught up in crime.” (New York Magazine) Be part of the process as stories unfold on stage at MASS MoCA and broadcast from North Adams to bounce around the globe.
Wet your comedy whistle on March 7, when High Mud Comedy Fest presents Schmermie’s Choice by trans actor, performer, and writer Becca Blackwell. Tragic and hilarious, this standup special features personal tales of being adopted by a religious Midwest family and trained to be a girl. Then it’s a full weekend of laughs on April 17-18 when MASS MoCA’s High Mud Comedy Festival returns with headliner John Early, “comedy’s secret weapon” (Esquire), whom you know from his head-turning roles on hit shows like 30 Rock, High Maintenance, and Broad City. The annual early-spring yuk-fest will be stacked with comedy club kings and queens, mocking museum tours, and always popular (often sold out) comedy workshops. Stay tuned for more lineup announcements, but for now pen in mud season in the Berkshires for two days piled high with serious laughs.
Community Day, an annual winter celebration when MASS MoCA throws opens its doors for free to all visitors, activates art throughout the museum, and waives admission for all visitors, falls on January 25 from 10am to 7pm. Enjoy live music, make your own art, watch a pop-up performance, learn about the past of our historic factory campus, and hop on a gallery tour. We’re free. Are you?
On April 4, International Slow Art Day asks you to take your time — enjoy a slow looking tour, followed by coffee and conversation with Kidspace curator Laura Thompson. The 10th Annual Teen Invitational kicks off with a rollicking Friday night award ceremony on April 10. The exhibition stays up all weekend showcasing a stunning breadth and depth of local student talent.
The 2020 election: Are we on the brink of the apocalypse, or a new era of enlightenment — or both? Defining issues are embedded in our annual documentary series, from voting rights to immigration to labor to the end of the natural world as we know it. Kicking off on February 13, our film series “What’s at Stake,” features four documentaries including American Factory, Let the People Decide, Border South, and Swarm Season. Each Thursday night screening includes a Q&A with filmmakers and/or special guests.
High-resolution images of MASS MoCA’s Winter/Spring 2020 events are available through this link: bit.ly/SP20MM
Evergreen images of MASS MoCA’s campus and programs: bit.ly/2EAhIa2
About MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making, showing, and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. MASS MoCA nearly doubled its gallery space in spring 2017, with artist partnerships that include Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, and James Turrell.
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. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is seasonal and currently closed for the season. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.
Through May 22, MASS MoCA’s galleries are open Wednesdays through Mondays, from 10am to 5pm (closed Tuesdays). Beginning May 23 through October 12, MASS MoCA’s galleries will be open seven days a week, 10am to 6pm. MASS MoCA is closed on Christmas Day and open on New Year’s Day.
AT A GLANCE
|Jan. 18||8pm||Ian Chang: 属||Work-in-progress: Live Music + Video|
|Community Day||Public program|
|Jan. 25||8pm||M.A.K.U. Soundsystem||Live Music|
Vuyani Dance Theatre
Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro
|Feb. 13||7pm||American Factory||Documentary Film Series|
|Feb. 15||8pm||Jaleel Shaw||Live Music|
|Feb. 20||7pm||Let the People Decide||Documentary Film Series|
|Feb. 22||8pm||Criminal||Live Podcast|
|Feb. 27||7pm||Border South||Documentary Film Series|
|Feb. 29||8pm||Sam Evian||Live Music|
|March 5||7pm||Swarm Season||Documentary Film Series|
|March 7||8pm||Becca Blackwell: Schmermie’s Choice||Comedy|
|March 14||8pm||Treya Lam||Live Music|
|Opening Reception: Kissing Through a Curtain, Gamaliel Rodríguez, and Ad Minoliti||Opening Reception|
|March 21||8pm||Deep Blue Sea
Bill T. Jones
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
|March 28||8pm||Roger C. Miller & Ludovico Ensemble||Live Music|
|April 4||11am||International Slow Art Day||In the Galleries|
|April 4||8pm||Bell Orchestre||Live Music|
|April 11-12||All Day||10th Annual Teen Invitational||Pop-up Exhibition|
|April 17-18||8pm||High Mud Comedy Fest with John Early||Comedy Festival|
|April 21||8pm||Mark Stewart & Karen Curlee: The Music of Cole Porter||Live Music|
|April 23||6pm||Kim Faler||Artist Talk|
|April 25||8pm||Car Seat Headrest||Work-in-progress: Live Music|
|May 2||8pm||Michael Daves & Friends feat. Jacob Jolliff||Live Music|
|May 7||8pm||The Celestials||Work-in-progress:
|May 9||8pm||Raga Maqam||Work-in-progress: Live Music|
|May 16||8pm||Liz Phair||Concert|
|July 31-Aug 2||All Day||Bang on a Can LOUD Weekend||Music Festival|
|Sept. 25-27||All Day||FreshGrass Festival||Music Festival|
Download a PDF of the Winter/Spring Season Press Release here.