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Glenn Kaino In the Light of a Shadow

  • Exhibition

  • On view April 3
  • MASS MoCA

Glenn Kaino: In the Light of a Shadow is inspired by the connection between protests across the globe, specifically those in response to the tragic events known as “Bloody Sunday” from Selma, Alabama and Derry, Northern Ireland. The exhibition spans the entirety of MASS MoCA’s signature football-field sized Building 5 gallery with an immersive installation that explores the power of collective action in forging a more just world.

The installation takes the form of a galaxy inside of which viewers will be immersed and surrounded by moving shadows and evocative soundscape. The theatrical space includes a representation of the Shadow V – a boat that was bombed by Northern Ireland’s IRA, killing the British royal Lord Mountbatten – crashing into itself. Surrounding the boat are thousands of rocks, hundreds of which become tiny satellite ships. From these objects floating in space, a complex shadow show plays out before our eyes, placing us in the footsteps of protests past. Also in the main gallery is a circular sculpture made of metal bars, which, when struck in sequence with a baton, play the melody from U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” transforming a barrier into a plea for violence, protest, and civil rights infractions to end. Alongside the sculpture will play a video that Kaino recorded with Deon Jones, an activist and singer who was brutalized by the police while protesting the murder of George Floyd. Made in collaboration with Larry Fong, Butch Vig, John Batiste, and Glenn Kotche, Jones and Kaino turn the classic song into a rallying cry for the present.

Ultimately, Kaino’s In the Light of a Shadow is about remembering the past and forging a hopeful path forward.

Accompanying the exhibition will be the first comprehensive catalogue of Kaino’s work, titled This Book is a Promise. Edited by exhibition curator Denise Markonish, the book will be published by DelMonico Books in the fall of 2021. Contributors include: magician Mike Caveney; scientists David Gruber and Janna Levin, curators Chus Martinez, and Laura Fried; writers Kimberly Juanita Brown, Amir Ahmadi Arian, and Brian Dooley.


Jon Batiste, Butch Vig Join Deon Jones for Cover of U2’s ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’, Rolling Stone, August 2020

About the Artist
Glenn Kaino’s work spans an extraordinary range of media and creative activity. As a visual artist, he was chosen by the U.S. Department of State to represent the country in the 13th Cairo Biennale and was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, the 12th Lyon Biennial, and Prospect.3 in New Orleans. He has had solo exhibitions at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, The Andy Warhol Museum, Performa 09, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. Kaino has created various platforms for the production and dissemination of art and culture; he is co-founder of Deep River Gallery, a founding board member of LAXART and The Mistake Room, and is a current board member of Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum, Fathomers, and The Music Center. Kaino recently released on Starz the documentary co-directed by Afshin Shahidi, With Drawn Arms, about his work with Olympian Tommie Smith, executive produced by John Legend and Jesse Williams.

The team behind the first project also includes Inny Clemons, Landon J. Thomas, IV, Matthew Selby, Brian Vasquez, and Derek DelGaudio.

Image courtesy of the artist

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