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EJ Hill Brake Run Helix


  • Exhibition

  • On view October 29, 2022 – February 11, 2024
  • Building 5

For his first solo museum show and largest exhibition to date, EJ Hill has created a massive installation that incorporates freestanding sculptures, paintings, a stage for performances, and a rideable sculptural installation inspired by the form and function of roller coasters. Hill’s practice focuses on everyday experiences that intermingle public struggle, endurance, trauma, and joy, whether within athletics, religion, the American education system, or amusement parks. Hill has often incorporated his physical presence by performing as part of these projects. He explains that “my body holds the echo or remnant of something,” and works towards a future that elevates those who are frequently not seen and heard. In the United States, amusement parks were contested sites throughout Jim Crow-era desegregation efforts for equitable access to pleasure, leisure, and recreation. For Hill, roller coasters are public monuments to the possibility of attaining joy—which, as he notes, is “a critical component of social equity.”

In Brake Run Helix, Hill inverts the experience of riding a roller coaster, transforming it from a shared ritual of joy and terror to an individual performance: only one person may ride the roller coaster, Brava!, at a time. Brava!’s single cart emerges from behind a two-story velvet stage curtain, moves across the coaster’s pink tracks, and ultimately comes to rest on the wooden stage, while onlookers observe from below. Visitors can see the roller coaster activated by riders throughout the day. Are you interested in riding? The line starts here.

EJ Hill’s exhibition Brake Run Helix is an offering to our community—not only to experience the individual and collective joy of the roller coaster at its center, but also to activate the exhibition’s stage through conversations, performances, and gatherings in the spirit of joy. Keep an eye on the Community Programming in EJ Hill: Brake Run Helix webpage for news about upcoming programming.


Reservations to ride Brava! will be made available on a rolling basis throughout the duration of the exhibition. If reservations for your preferred day are full, keep checking back for new availability. Please note, visitors can see the roller coaster activated by riders throughout the day with no reservations required.

Limitations and restrictions can be found hereQuestions? Email brava@massmoca.org.

Learn More
EJ Hill Wants to Take You on a Ride, The New York Times, October 2022
EJ Hill and Jordan Casteel Teach Us How to Paint, Interview Magazine

About the Artist
EJ Hill is a visual artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Much of what he knows, he has learned from: Estelle Thompson, Karen Thompson, Ernest Hill Jr., Margaret Nomentana, Joan Giroux, Adam Brooks and Mat Wilson (Industry of the Ordinary), Andrea Fraser, Mario Ybarra Jr., Na Mira, Matt Austin, Young Chung, Jordan Casteel, TLC, Lauryn Hill, and Augie Grahn. He is forever indebted to these educators and thanks them endlessly.

This exhibition is organized by Alexandra Foradas, Curator of Visual Art at MASS MoCA. Makayla Bailey is the Co-editor and Interpretation Consultant.

Visionary Initiatives in Art logo National Endowment for the Arts logo NEA

EJ Hill with Skyline Attractions, Brava!, 2022.
Weld-free steel roller coaster, enamel spray paint, wood, and velvet.
Installation view of EJ Hill: Brake Run Helix, MASS MoCA.
Courtesy of the artist and MASS MoCA.
Photo by Kaelan Burkett.