- June 17, 2017 - May 27, 2018
In Cavernous: The Inner Life of Courage, Colorado-based artist Wes Sam-Bruce used the Hoosac Tunnel as a metaphor for brave endeavors. Kidspace explored what it takes to be courageous and persevere in the face of mountain-sized obstacles. Gallery visitors were invited to play in a tunnel-like structure built specifically for the museum.
Sam-Bruce, renowned for producing interactive artworks, found the North Adams icon to be a fascinating historical site to explore. According to the artist, “the Hoosac Tunnel construction can be viewed as a representation of an act of courageousness: a journey through the unknown — dark, cavernous, difficult, loss, successful, light-giving, connecting, a triumph, tenacity, and grit.” Being central to the North Adams community, he viewed the tunnel as a symbol of the legacy of a group of people who then and now have acted courageously through the many chapters of the city’s history. Sam-Bruce spent a month in residency at the museum conducting local history research and building an artwork that featured a cavernous mountain, tunnels, and thresholds. Visitors could make their way through the installation, an uncharted exhalation composed of repurposed wood, text, and drawings, finding themselves surrounded by content that delved into the human experience; they had not only entered the mountain, but also, as Sam-Bruce puts it, “the space of one’s innermost self — the root of courage.”
Cavernous was the third component of Kidspace’s Art 4 Change, a four-year project that explored problem-solving through empathy, optimism, and courage. The guiding principle for these exhibition projects was Albert Einstein’s statement that “[We] cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” In other words, without empathy, hope, and courage, societal problems can seem overwhelming. In an era of narcissism and cynicism, therefore, an experience with Sam-Bruce’s work provided the opportunity to strengthen our collective sense of bravery, tolerance, and kindness.
The free opening celebration with the artist took place on Saturday, June 17, from 11am to 1pm.
Admission to Kidspace is always free; the ArtBar is open on weekends and during school breaks.
Core education funding was provided by the WLS Spencer Foundation.
Education at MASS MoCA was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Milton and Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation, Holly Swett, Feigenbaum Foundation, John DeRosa , Ruth E. Proud Charitable Trust, the Mass Cultural Council, Berkshire Bank, Bessie Pappas Charitable Foundation, Adelard A. Roy and Valeda Lea Roy Foundation, Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation, the Gateway Fund and the William and Margery Barrett Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, John F. and Judith B. Remondi, and an anonymous donor.
The Milton and Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation gives in memory of Sandy and Lynn Laitman.
Wes Sam-Bruce, Cavernous: The Inner Life of Courage, 2017
photo: David Dashiell