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Like Magic


  • Exhibition

  • On view now
  • Building 4.2

In times of uncertainty, people often turn towards technologies of magic for solace and strength. These technologies are not the props used for stage magic (rabbits in hats, scarves hidden up sleeves) but rather are tools (devices, talismans, rituals, incantations) created by humans to help them survive and thrive in a chaotic world. The exhibition Like Magic brings together artists who employ technologies of magic to resist systems that attempt to surveil and control people’s lives and stories, often because of their race, ability, sexuality, gender identity, indigeneity, or immigration status.

Simone Bailey, Raven Chacon, Grace Clark, Johanna Hedva, Gelare Khoshgozaran, Cate O’Connell-Richards, Rose Salane, Petra Szilagyi, Tourmaline, and Nate Young use healing earth, witches’ brooms, AI, divination, and more to imagine care-full and joy-full futures into being despite the peril promised by the past and present.


In preparation for this exhibition, Curator Alexandra Foradas and Curatorial Assistant Meghan Clare Considine, spent several years assembling texts that speak to the intersection of magic, art, and technology. They also invited exhibiting artists, museum staff, and other members of our community to share their recommendations. Each book features a short introduction from its recommender inside the front cover. The resulting library represents myriad intellectual legacies, from Black and Indigenous Studies to Queer and Feminist Studies; from primary source anthologies to Science Fiction. View the current list of books in the Like Magic library.


Who Listens And Learns, Johanna Hedva

Who Listens and Learns presents the latest philosophical journey into artificial intelligence (AI) by the Korean-American writer, artist, and musician Johanna Hedva. The exhibition combines audio with a new handmade book of their text. Read or listen to the book below.

Read the designed book
Read the book as a Word document

Gallery Guide

Download a PDF of the gallery guide here.

Spanish & Screen-Reader Friendly
English Gallery Guide
Guía de Galería Español

English Wall Text
Texto Descriptivo Español

English Object Labels
Etiquetas de Objetos Español


In a new light (Healing Dirt) Activations, Grace Clark

On the day of each new moon — believed by many to be a time of rebirth — visitors to Grace Clark’s In a new light (Healing Dirt) in Like Magic are invited to enter the chapel-like room and apply charcoal earth to parts of their body in need of healing, harnessing the magic of belief in change. To see the next upcoming activation, click here.

Installation view of Like Magic at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (on view beginning October 29, 2023)
Gelare Khoshgozaran, “U.S. Customs Demands to Know“, ongoing. LED lit packages (corrugated plastic). Courtesy of the artist.
Background, left-right:
Raven Chacon, Compass, 2021. Score, painted on wall. Courtesy of the artist.
Raven Chacon, For Zitkála-Šá, 2017–2020. 13 scores and instructions, drawn on wall by the artist. Courtesy of the artist.
Photo: Kaelan Burkett.