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In Session

Nick Cave, Shaun Leonardo, Steve Locke, Xaviera Simmons, M. Carmen Lane, and Dr. Kalima Young

  • Adult Education, Learn, MASS MoCA From Home

  • Recorded panel discussion
  • Free for all
  • YouTube/Facebook

This was a virtual event streamed on YouTube and Facebook. Watch a recording of the discussion below:

Presented by MASS MoCA and the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) at MCLA, In Session is a series of four panel discussions on anti-racist work in museums, streamed live on MASS MoCA’s YouTube and Facebook. The first two sessions will invite artists, curators, and arts administrators to discuss how museums and artists represent Black and Brown trauma in artwork, exhibitions, and performances, and navigate the resulting implications and challenges.

Tune in for the first In Session with artists Nick Cave, Shaun Leonardo, Steve Locke, and Xaviera Simmons. The panel will begin with introductory remarks by Dr. Kalima Young, and will be moderated by artist M. Carmen Lane.

Designed to pose more questions than answers, topics for this discussion include: What is trauma and what do we mean when speaking of Black trauma? Who holds permission to use images of violence against Black and Brown bodies? Who grants this permission? What are an art institution’s responsibilities toward audiences when hosting work regarding violence enacted against Black and Brown bodies?

Do any other questions come to mind? Submit your own questions via email to insession@massmoca.org.

This series is free and open to the public.

Gifts from individuals like you strengthen MASS MoCA’s ability to make programming like this free and accessible. Please consider making a $5 donation here.

About the Participants:
Dr. Kalima Young is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University where she teaches Principles of Film and Media Production and African American Cinema. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her scholarship explores the impact of race and gender-based trauma on Black identity, media, and Black cultural production.

M. Carmen Lane is a two:spirit African-American and Haudenosaunee (Mohawk/Tuscarora) artist, writer, and facilitator living in Cleveland, Ohio. Lane’s work ranges from experiential educator to diversity practitioner to organizational systems consultant to experimental artist—all of it integrates ancestry, legacy, and spirituality, and pursues expansion, experimentation, and play. Lane is founder and director of ATNSC: Center for Healing & Creative Leadership, an urban retreat center and social practice experiment in holistic health, leadership development, Indigenous arts and culture, and the founder and director of the Akhsótha Gallery located in Cleveland’s historic Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood.

Nick Cave works with choreographers, dancers, and amateur performers to produce lavish community celebrations in untraditional venues for art. His “Soundsuits” are displayed in exhibitions as static sculptures, arranged as groups of figures in formation that are striking in their diversity and powerful stance. Cave’s sculptures also include non-figurative assemblages, intricate accumulations of found objects that project out from the wall, and installations enveloping entire rooms. He has had major exhibitions at the Momentary (2020); Carriageworks (2018); MASS MoCA (2016); Cranbrook Art Museum (2015); Saint Louis Art Museum (2014-15); ICA Boston (2014); Denver Art Museum (2013); Fabric Workshop and Museum (2011-12); Seattle Art Museum (2011); and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2009), among others. Cave lives and works in Chicago, IL.

Shaun Leonardo’s multidisciplinary work negotiates societal expectations of manhood, namely definitions surrounding Black and Brown masculinities, along with its notions of achievement, collective identity, and experience of failure. Leonardo is a Brooklyn-based artist from Queens, New York City. His work has been featured at The Guggenheim Museum, The High Line, and New Museum, with a recent solo exhibition at Maryland Institute College of Art and now at MASS MoCA.

Steve Locke is a New York-based artist, raised in Detroit, MI. He received an M.F.A. in 2001 from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and holds Bachelors Degrees from Boston University and MassArt. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2002. He has been artist-in-residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston (2016) and for the City of Boston (2018). He has received grants from The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and The Art Matters Foundation. Solo exhibitions include, there is no one left to blame, curated by Helen Molesworth for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, The School of Love with Samsøñ (Boston, MA), Family Pictures with Gallery Kayafas (Boston, MA), #Killers at YOURS MINE & OURS in New York and most recently Homage to the Auction Block at LaMontagne Gallery in Boston. He contributed an essay to JACOB LAWRENCE-THE AMERICAN STRUGGLE on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has had solo projects with the Boston Public Library, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Mendes Wood in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at VOLTA 5 in Basel, Switzerland and P.S. Satellites-A Project of Prospect IV in New Orleans. His work has been reviewed in ARTFORUM, Art in America, Art New England, JUXTAPOZ, The Boston Globe, and The New Yorker.

Xaviera Simmons’ sweeping body of work includes photography, performance, choreography, video, sound, sculpture, and installation. She received her BFA from Bard College (2004) after spending two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade with Buddhist Monks. She completed the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art (2005) while simultaneously completing a two-year actor-training conservatory with The Maggie Flanigan Studio, New York. Simmons’ works are in major museums and private collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Deutsche Bank, New York; UBS, New York; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Agnes Gund Art Collection, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Studio Museum in Harlem; ICA Miami; Perez Art Museum Miami; The Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; The Nasher Museum of Art, Durham; and The High Museum, Atlanta, among many others. Simmons was a visiting lecturer and the Solomon Fellow at Harvard University (2020) and has been awarded The Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Arts and Letters from Bard College this summer. This fall, and winter 2021, Simmons will have works on view at Socrates Sculpture Park, New York, Times Square NY, Columbia University, and The Moody Gallery at Rice University, among many other exhibitions.

About Berkshire Cultural Resource Center:
The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) provides opportunities, resources, and support to the Northern Berkshire Community. BCRC brings together the Northern Berkshires, MCLA, and greater creative communities through its cultural programming including: MCLA Gallery 51, Downstreet Art, B-Hip, and MCLA Presents! BCRC promotes, facilitates, and encourages dialogue in order to foster a sustainable creative community. BCRC is a collaborative project of MCLA, MASS MoCA, and the City of North Adams.

What to Expect:

  • This event will be streamed live on MASS MoCA’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
  • While RSVPs are not necessary to watch, please RSVP to let us know you’ll be tuning in and to receive a reminder email.


Top row: Xaviera Simmons, M. Carmen Lane (photo: Leika), and Shaun Leonardo (photo: Vincent Tullo); Bottom row: Steve Locke (photo: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey), Dr. Kalima Young, and Nick Cave (photo: Sandro)