For Immediate Release
27 February 2017
Contact: Jodi Joseph
Director of Communications
Nick Cave: Until
Monumental Exhibition is Home to Performance Art and Community Events
“An enchanted but menacing landscape.” — The New York Times
“Cave is using [the exhibition] to convene prominent performers in other fields and inspire them to craft their own responses to the work and the conversations it’s meant to instigate.” — Boston’s NPR News Station, WBUR
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS — The artist Nick Cave, whose exhibition Until is currently on view in MASS MoCA’s signature Building 5 gallery, has invited performers and community groups to coalesce around common ideals and ultimately find healing in the exhibition — Cave’s largest, most political, and most personal — in which he addresses issues of gun violence, gun control policy, race relations, and gender politics in America today.
When Nick Cave conceived Until, he intended it to be more than an exhibition; his vision was a space that would serve as a platform for dialogue and expression. Cave gathered friends, performers, and community groups through two “convenings,” which took place within the exhibition. Artist participants included Solange Knowles (singer/songwriter), Bill T. Jones (dancer/choreographer), Helga Davis (vocalist/performance artist), Nona Hendryx (musician/ performance artist), Okwui Okpokwasili (dancer), Carl Hancock Rux (playwright/multidisciplinary performance artist), Francesca Harper (dancer), Sandra Burton (choreographer), Brad Wells (composer), Sereca Henderson (musicologist/singer/organist), Poetic X (spoken word artist), and Brenda Wimberly (gospel singer). Community groups included Northern Berkshires for Racial Justice, Northern Berkshire Community Collation, Common Folk Artist Collective, the First Congregational Church of Williamstown, Lift Ev’ry Voice, and members of the North Adams and Pittsfield Police Departments.
Participants’ engagements with the space and exhibition themes fuel a groundbreaking session of performances and events. Of his experience with Until, Carl Hancock Rux wrote, “Each of us attempted to honor what we had witnessed: the spirits of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland; the cable news network noise of vitriolic bipartisan bickering and race riots; the unfinished work of revolution necessary to unify a national crisis. Suddenly, we knew what this was, and why we had been invited to view it.”
Until’s Call and Response Program will continue throughout the run of the exhibition at MASS MoCA and will engage communities globally as Cave’s project travels to Carriageworks in Sydney, Australia, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Iconic choreographer Bill T. Jones, co-presented by MASS MoCA and Jacob’s Pillow Dance, will give a rare performance of original solo work inspired by his October 2016 visit to the gallery, on Saturday, March 4, at 8pm. The performance will take place in the gallery. Jones and Cave have been acquainted for years, always searching for an occasion to collaborate, says 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award-honoree Jones. “Do I come into the discussion bleeding or do I come in as Nick says, ‘enchanted’…and all of the painful stuff is just part of the ocean this project swims in? With that realization I was set free. This is what I hope to discover in what I do here as a performer. The balance between aesthetics, form, notions of history, and the heart — the personal heart.” A conversation with Bill T. Jones and Nick Cave follows the performance.
Choreographer, writer, actress, and New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award recipient Okwui Okpokwasili will perform on Friday, April 7, at 8pm, also co-presented by MASS MoCA and Jacob’s Pillow Dance and taking place in the gallery. Okwui Okpokwasili, whose movements are as powerful and provocative as Cave’s politically charged art, is praised for her kinesthetically powerful and “ruthlessly clean and clever” performances (TimeOut New York). At MASS MoCA, she will create in response to Cave’s massive exhibition that is constructed with over 16,000 dazzling wind spinners, several thousand of them punctuated with images of guns, bullets, and tears.
Performers Brenda Wimberly, a soprano singer anchored in gospel music traditions, and Sereca Henderson, a musicologist, singer, and organist who has played with Eric Clapton and B.B. King, serenaded a crowd of 1,000 during the opening night of the exhibition. Wimberly returns this summer for a solo performance. Powerhouse vocalist Helga Davis belted out verse under 10 miles of glimmering crystals, in a stirring tribute to the exhibition. Following her potent performance, Davis stated, “Under Nick Cave’s Crystal Cloudscape, our audience became a community whose members participated in the creation of a world where great conflict exists alongside deep love.”
More events are being planned throughout the run of the exhibition, which is on view through early September.
Community Event Series
Together with the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams-based Common Folk Artist Collective staged “Venable 8: Three Lessons on Gun Violence in the Classroom,” in the Kidspace gallery at MASS MoCA, where Cave is also exhibiting. The December performance was followed by conversation in Until. Led by percussionist and community organizer Otha Day, students in North Adams’ E3 Academy participated in a pop-up drum circle, in which museum visitors were able to participate and watch.
Northern Berkshires for Racial Justice’s (NBRJ) interactive workshop took place within the exhibition in early February, at the museum’s annual Free Day, which drew a crowd of close to 4,000. The group prompted museum visitors to answer the questions “How do you consider yourself a messenger in your community?” and “Who are the helpers in your community that you see doing good work?” Cave has frequently spoken of himself as a messenger — his art is his mode of communication.
This April, NBRJ, together with MCLA and Williams College, will host an open mic event inviting community participants to respond to Cave’s provocative question: “Is there racism in heaven?” A poetry and fiction workshop is planned for March, when the Northern Berkshire Community Collation brings its Unity teen writing group for a tour of the exhibition. Teens will be encouraged to write about their experience with Until. Award-winning poet, writer, editor, and educator Ted Thomas leads a 6-week inter-generational poetry and creative writing workshop in which high school students and elderly community members explore such topics as violence in American society, racism, fear, and stereotypes, using the Cave exhibition as a jumping-off point. For three weeks each group will meet separately, before coming together during the final three weeks of the workshop sessions to explore racism and stereotypes in poetry, as well as images of hope, peace, and harmony. The Pittsfield, Mass.-based WordxWord and Lift Ev’ry Voice festivals collaborate to present serial spoken word events with young adult poets throughout the spring and summer. After a guided exploration of Until, the emerging poets will write, share, and workshop their poetry, before performing it in the gallery from May through August. In response to Cave’s exhibition, the youth-led performers of R.O.P.E. World will present a history of violence against Americans of color on Saturday, June 3, with the premise that violence has been embedded in our culture since the birth of this nation. Narratives communicated through spoken word, drama, dance, and video focus on gun violence in American, with solutions explored from a youth perspective.
In a final community event on August 17, clarinetist Paul Green, co-director of “A Summer Celebration of Jewish Music,” joins together with community leader Shirley Edgerton’s Youth Alive dancers for a performance that merges traditional Jewish music with hip-hop. NAACP Berkshire Chapter President Dennis Powell introduces the collaborative performance, which includes a drum corps of young boys from Pittsfield, vocalist Wanda Houston, students from Congregation Knesset Israel, and Dr. Eli Newberger — a local pediatrician and tuba virtuoso. Following the culminating event, a reception will be held for all community groups at one of MASS MoCA’s outdoor performance spaces.
On Wednesday, April 26, at 6pm, Nick Cave will be joined by MASS MoCA Curator Denise Markonish, singer Helga Davis, and graphic designer Bob Faust in conversation at the New York Public Library around the Prestel/DelMonico-published exhibition catalogue for Until.
On Friday, April 28, at 6pm, MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish facilitates a discussion and book talk around the publication of the exhibition catalogue accompanying Until. The conversation will include Cave and Lori E. Lightfoot (the head of the task force for police accountability in Chicago) discussing issues of violence, racism, and how communities can rise above circumstances to find hope.
Events at a Glance, by Date Date Event
October 15, 2016: Opening Reception featuring Brenda Wimberly and Sereca Henderson
October 28, 2016: Helga Davis
December 1, 2016: Venable 8: Three Lessons on Gun Violence in the Classroom
December 22, 2016: E3 Academy drum circle with Otha Day
February 4, 2017: NBRJ’s Free Day interactive workshop
March 4, 2017: Bill T. Jones
April 2017: NBRJ with MCLA and Williams College: Community open mic
March 14, 2017: NBCC Unity: Teen writing workshop
March – May 2017: Ted Thomas’ 6-week poetry and creative writing workshop
March – May 2017: WordxWord and Lift Ev’ry Voice
April 7, 2017: Okwui Okpokwasili
April 26, 2017: Nick Cave in conversation with Denise Markonish, Helga Davis, and Bob Faust at the New York Public Library
April 28, 2017: Book Talk and discussion with Cave, Markonish, and Lori E. Lightfoot
June 3, 2017: R.O.P.E. World
August 17, 2017: Culminating event with Paul Green and Youth Alive dancers
Tickets for Bill T. Jones on Saturday, March 4, at 8pm, are currently sold out. To be placed on a waiting list, please call 413.662.2111 x1.
Tickets for Okwui Okpokwasili on Friday, April 7, at 8pm, are $20 for students, $30 in advance, and $40 day of.
Tickets for the Book Talk on Friday, April 28, at 6pm, are free for members, $5 for students and in advance, and $8 day of. Please reserve tickets, even if they are free.
Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased online at massmoca.org.
Tickets to all performances held in the galleries are free with gallery admission. Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round.
About Nick Cave
Born in Missouri in 1959, Nick Cave studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, and trained with the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Venues for solo exhibitions include: the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Nick Cave: Sojourn, Denver Art Museum; Nick Cave: The World is My Skin, Trapholt Museum, Denmark; Freeport 006: Nick Cave, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Fantastic 2012, Lille 3000, Le Tripostal, Lille, France; and HEARD•NY, a large-scale performance in Grand Central Terminal organized by Creative Time. Public collections include the Brooklyn Museum; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the High Museum, Atlanta; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Birmingham Museum of Art; the de Young Museum, San Francisco; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Orlando Museum of Art; the Smithsonian Institution; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Cave has received several awards, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, Artadia Award, the Joyce Award, Creative Capital grants, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. He teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.
A collection of high-resolution images is available here.
Nick Cave: Until was organized by MASS MoCA and co-produced by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art of Bentonville, Arkansas, and Carriageworks of Sydney, Australia.
Principal exhibition support was provided by an anonymous gift. Major exhibition support was provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, Jack Shainman Gallery, Marilyn and Larry Fields, BeadKraft, and the Robert Lehman Foundation.
Core education funding is provided by the WLS Spencer Foundation.
“A Responsive Museum,” a new initiative of the Education Department at MASS MoCA, is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Major education support is provided by the Milton and Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation and Holly Swett. The Milton and Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond Foundation gives in memory of Sandy and Lynn Laitman.
About MASS MoCA
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making, displaying, and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. MASS MoCA will nearly double its gallery space in spring 2017, with artist partnerships that include Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and James Turrell.
Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under, through May 21, 2017. Members are admitted free year-round. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is open seasonally, spring – fall. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.
11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays