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Artist Talk with Chrissie Hynde


  • Exhibition

  • Saturday, July 27, 2pm
  • $25

“I always thought I would get into painting, but I got waylaid by rock ‘n’ roll. Finally, I thought, ‘Now’s the time.’ As soon as I could be alone and paint without any interruptions, I just couldn’t stop.” 

 Chrissie Hynde

In the past five years, Chrissie Hynde has rekindled a love of painting that predates her passion for music. With bold lines and a distinctive palette, Hynde’s work ricochets between portraiture, still life, landscape, and abstraction. MASS MoCA will exhibit a selection of her works in conjunction with a performance by The Pretenders at the museum on Friday, July 26 (the only show scheduled by the band in the US this year), and a public conversation between Hynde and MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson on Saturday, July 27, at 2pm. The exhibition will be on view beginning June 28.

The installation and performance mark the publication of a new catalogue devoted to Hynde’s paintings, titled Adding the Blue. With essays by Brian Eno and Tim Marlow, and an original text by Hynde, the publication brings new perspective on the life and art of one of her generation’s greatest rockers. Marlow, Artistic Director of London’s Royal Academy of Arts, writes, “The fact that she’s a great musician doesn’t undermine her painting; it underpins it… I love the fact that in her studio, below the pots filled with brushes and under the table filled with tubes of paint, is a basket full of plectrums. Tools of her trades, old and new.”

For her own part, Hynde is not precious about her paintings: “I’m not really into art. I just like drawing and making stuff.” For someone who is “not really into art,” however, Hynde is prolific, having painted hundreds of canvases since 2015. Adding the Blue collects just under 200 of these paintings, narrated throughout by Hynde.

Hynde sees her approach to painting as analogous to her years of making music as the lead singer of The Pretenders: she is not a trained painter, “but I’m totally untrained as a musician too.” Hynde’s concurrent work in painting and music are a particularly apt fit for MASS MoCA, which is dedicated to presenting exciting new work by contemporary visual and performing artists. Considering the history of painting, Hynde reflects, “Those guys in Montmartre, Picasso and all those, they really were hanging out. That’s because they didn’t have rock’n’roll. I reckon that if you put them in the Sixties they’d have all been in bands.”

Tickets to The Pretenders concert — the bands only U.S. date of 2019 — are still available here. Preferred tickets to The Pretenders concert includes entry to the artist talk. To reserve a seat at the artist talk as a Preferred ticket holder please RSVP by contacting the Box Office at (413) 662-2111 or boxoffice@massmoca.org.

Stay through Saturday evening for blueswoman Adia Victoria, or turn it into a luxuriously long weekend of music and art with Maggie Rogers in concert Tuesday, July 30.

What to Expect
This is a limited-availability, seated event. Signed books will be available for purchase. Ticket holders receive free museum admission on the day of, or day after, the show. Looking for something to eat? Check out Lickety Split, our museum cafe, or other restaurants in downtown North Adams. There are also several more options right here on our museum campus: Gramercy BistroTunnel City CoffeeBright Ideas Brewing, and A-oK Berkshire Barbeque.

Sunday Self, December, 2018
Chrissie Hynde