For Immediate Release
18 April 2018
Contact: Jodi Joseph
Director of Communications
Concerts with The Decemberists, Grizzly Bear, Ray LaMontagne, Neko Case, Courtney Barnett, and Blondie anchor MASS MoCA’s big summer of music, dance, comedy, and film
Major new exhibition by Taryn Simon featuring two new installation-based commissions fills first-floor galleries
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS — Ray LaMontagne, Neko Case, and Blondie under the stars on Joe’s Field, and The Decemberists, Grizzly Bear, and Courtney Barnett in our concert courtyard and on the Hunter Center stage. MASS MoCA’s summer season is awash in big music, new art, and, as every year, a few rollicking weeks of both when Bang on a Can returns with 60 musicians for its 16th summer in North Adams. New art in the galleries rounds out the season, with Taryn Simon’s ambitious new installationAssembled Audience + A Cold Hole opening on May 26, and Sally Taylor’s long-running project, Come to Your Senses: Art to See, Smell, Hear, Taste, and Touch, opening in Kidspace on June 23. We’ll celebrate that night when Taylor and friends — including Carly Simon, John Forte (the Fugees), and Kori Withers(daughter of Bill Withers) — take the stage for a one-night-only concert. “You’ll have to slow down this summer: it’s a knockout season of art, destination concerts, intimate nights of folk and indie, staged dance, dance parties, and outdoor film,” notes museum director Joseph Thompson. “To make it easier, MASS MoCA is making all ticketed museum admission valid for two visits within a week. Take time, take part.”
In the galleries
A multidisciplinary artist working in photography, text, sculpture, and performance, Taryn Simon introduces two new installation-based commissions in our first floor galleries on May 26. In A Cold Hole, the gallery floor is replaced by an expanse of ice with a square hole cut from its center, exposing the dark water beneath. Performers will plunge the icy depths throughout the course of the 10-month exhibition. Inside Assembled Audience, thousands of individually recorded claps combine in an applauding crowd. With these two installations, Simon activates the rituals of the cold water immersion and applause, examining the ways in which individual action and collective belief can reinforce — or disrupt — systems of power.
Sally Taylor, daughter of James Taylor and Carly Simon, curates Come to Your Senses: Art to See, Smell, Hear, Taste, and Touch in MASS MoCA’s lively Kidspace gallery and art-making studio, which will include new music by both of her parents. The exhibition asks visual artists, poets, dancers, musicians, perfumers, chefs, and sculptors to use one another’s art as a catalyst to create their own work. It’s the capstone of Kidspace’s “Art 4 Change” project that has encouraged visitors and students in its school partnership program to develop positive habits of mind (empathy, optimism, and courage) with which to approach complex problem-solving through art experiences. The exhibition opens on June 23, capped by an evening performance of participating artists, including the legendary Carly Simon with her family, Ben Taylor and Sophie Hiller; Consenses project curator Sally Taylor, also of the famed folk family; fellow next-generation R+B sensation Kori Withers, daughter of Bill Withers; blues guitarist Eric Erdman; and hip-hop artist and producer John Forte, formerly of the Fugees; with a dance performance by Alison Manning and Jesse Keller.
Elsewhere in the galleries, Liz Glynn paints an immersive and unnerving image of the future in our largest gallery (vocalist Karen Adelman and experimental percussionist Corey Fogel join the artist in the gallery on August 4 for a performance titled Techne: Extension Exorcises), Allison Janae Hamilton: Pitchturns to the sights and sounds of the southern landscape, The Lure of the Dark celebrates the night with works featuring everything from Lana Del Rey to Bash Bish Falls, and artists ranging from James Turrelland Laurie Anderson to Jenny Holzer and Robert Rauschenberg continue to turn heads in Building 6: The Robert W. Wilson Building, which celebrates its one-year anniversary on Memorial Day weekend.
Also on view across the museum is a rich array of art by Gunnar Schonbeck (Bang on a Can), Louise Bourgeois, Dawn DeDeaux, Lonnie Holley, Mary Lum, Barbara Prey, Spencer Finch, Anselm Kiefer, Franz West, Rachel Howard, Etel Adnan, Natasha Bowdoin, Michael Oatman, and others.
The Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival spans more than two weeks (July 12-28) that include daily gallery recitals, anything-goes Chalet appearances, Kids Can Too! on July 21, the annual Bang on a Can All-Stars performing ensemble founder Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields on July 21, and the Bang on a Can Marathon, featuring Steve Reich, for a 6-hour genre-busting festival finale on July 28.
The FreshGrass Festival, MASS MoCA’s annual festival of bluegrass and roots music, takes place on September 14-16 with headliners The Indigo Girls, Trampled by Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, and more — with big news still to come. Over 50 bands in all!
The Soul Rebels kick things off on our performing arts stages on May 26. One of New Orleans’ biggest, brashest, and best brass ensembles, The Village Voice calls them “The missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong.” You’ll recognize at least a handful of their adventurous covers. Back-to-back concerts make the weekend of June 15 and 16 one for the books, with The Decemberistsperforming a sold-out show on Friday night and Grizzly Bear taking the stage on Saturday with support from electronic musician Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith. The highpoint of the weekend will be the bands’ newest albums, with The Decemberists’ eighth studio album I’ll Be Your Girl signaling an exciting new phase, and Grizzly Bear’s fifth album Painted Ruins marking the band’s triumphant return to music after a four-year rest.
We’ll be on our bucolic concert field on June 29 when Ray LaMontagne and very special guest Neko Case take the stage. Known for his gravelly voice, arresting live performances, and hits ranging from “You Are The Best Thing” to “ Jolene,” LaMontagne is one of today’s most important singer-songwriters. Neko Case, another singer-songwriter with a seemingly endless capacity to search within herself, returns to the same stage she graced during Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival in 2013. Both artists are here with their own bands for what promises to be a revelatory MASS MoCA moment.
Aussie singer-songwriter and consummate performer Courtney Barnett keeps the momentum going with a concert on July 12. On the heels of a stellar collaboration with Kurt Vile and with new music due to be released next month, Barnett is an “indie rock game changer” known for her wry lyrics and fierce guitar work (Pitchfork). Her summer concert is a hot ticket, especially with Cameroon-born singer Vagabonopening the night. Blondie punctuates the summer of stellar music on August 3, promising a night of timeless hits and ferocious energy. Bandleader Debbie Harry remains a force to be reckoned with, prowling the stage with the same verve that made Blondie’s CBGB shows a thing of legend.
More Live Music
MASS MoCA loyalists know Paul de Jong as one-half of the daringly experimental band The Books. On June 9, the long-time favorite returns with new music, vocalist Jennifer Cavanaugh, and riveting visuals. July 7 is another dynamic evening of rhythm, courtesy of the “irresistible spirit and universal appeal” of LADAMA (NPR). An ensemble of women who hail from every corner of the Americas, they perform a Pan-Latin blend of music that begs you to dance. Jaimeo Brown is in town on August 18 to perform in confluence with Allison Janae Hamilton’s exhibition, Pitch. His ensemble, Transcendence, fuses jazz, hip-hop, and blues, and samples the sounds and music of unknown laborers. Preferred ticket-buyers are invited to a gallery tour and recital at 3pm. Local favorite and now Grammy-celebrated Roomful of Teeth returns home to MASS MoCA on August 24, pushing boundaries of the human voice in its captivating and deeply researched exploration of vocal traditions, this year performing work by Bryce Dessner of The National. Kiss the summer goodbye on September 1 with the cool, funky, and gospel grooves of Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles. Limbs will be flying as the Hammond B3 master lets loose.
We’ll roll out the mega-screens for Rudolph Valentino’s last flick, The Son of the Sheik, with live accompaniment by perennial favorite Alloy Orchestra on August 11. Continuing a long-held summer tradition treasured by locals and aviation enthusiasts, MASS MoCA takes over the North Adams airport on August 17 with a screening of Strak Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Burgers, beer, and a classic film make this evening one of the most anticipated of the summer — admission is $2 per person (fly-ins are free!).
Hailed by Time Out as an “improv master,” Josh Sharp is best known for his role as a citizen journalist in Comedy Central’s “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper” and his delightfully lewd musical “F*cking Identical Twins.” He’s here on July 14 for Josh Sharp Sings! Live!, a music-and-comedy performance that exists entirely within one long cover of a D’Angelo song. On August 25, continuing the Star Trek theme, The Greatest Generation Podcast — the self-proclaimed “Star Trek podcast by two guys who are a bit embarrassed to have a Star Trek podcast” — focuses its lasers on the hilarious and beloved classic Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. With projections, trivia, and witty commentary, it might just be the summer of Captain Kirk.
Artist and play-master Wes Sam-Bruce (whose whimsical work is now on view at Kidspace) is here on May 26 to create a fantastical outdoor sculpture beneath the upside-down trees. Families are invited to participate in this free event and enjoy hands-on art-making during the celebration of creativity, family, and fun.
Beginning June 28, The Chalet, Dean Baldwin’s deep-woods-sculpture-turned-bar, comes alive with free entertainment and local, craft-brewed beer. You can find us there with local live music or strutting drag queens most Thursday evenings through August.
Dive deep into museums, exhibitions, and art in our Cocktails with Curators series. Museum curators lead discussion and conversation on June 20, July 12, and August 8. Swing by the Members Loungebefore the Grizzly Bear, Courtney Barnett, and Blondie concerts for free drinks before the music. And experience the James Turrell and Laurie Anderson exhibits without the crowds on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, just for Members.
Assets for Artists
MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program helps working artists in all disciplines strengthen business skills as they pursue a creative practice. A full slate of workshops including Personal Finance and Career Planning begins this month. The Studios at MASS MoCA host artists and writers for self-directed one- to eight-week residencies. July is the deadline for applications for residencies that begin this fall. Massachusetts artists can apply now through April 27 for fall studio sessions. The 2018 North Adams Project is now live, an initiative that encourages artists to relocate to North Adams, Massachusetts. Accepted applicants are given financial incentives to relocate, project grants, a matched savings fund, and many additional benefits.
Buy Now, Save Big
MASS MoCA discounts 25% on most summer 2018 performances if tickets are purchased on or before May 2. Early-bird prices do not include festivals (which have a separate pricing schedule), preferred tickets, artist talks, $5 member tickets, member openings, the Decemberists, Grizzly Bear, Ray LaMontagne with Neko Case, Courtney Barnett, or Blondie. Discounts do not combine, and discounted tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable.
High-resolution images of these events are available through this link: bit.ly/2J3V0oU.
Season at a glance, by date:
|May 26||11am-2pm||Kidspace Family Day||Free for everyone|
|May 26||8pm||The Soul Rebels||Live music|
|May 26||5:30pm||Taryn Simon||Opening exhibition|
|June 9||8pm||Paul de Jong with Matthew Gold||Live music + video|
|June 15||8pm||The Decemberists||Live music|
|June 16||8pm||Grizzly Bear with Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith||Live music|
|June 23||11am-1pm||Come To Your Senses||Kidspace opening reception|
|June 23||7pm||Sally Taylor & Friends||Live music|
|June 29||7pm||Ray LaMontagne with Neko Case||Live music|
|July 7||8pm||LADAMA||Live music|
|July 12-28||Varies||Bang on a Can Festival||Music festival|
|July 12||8pm||Courtney Barnett with Vagabon||Live music|
|July 14||8pm||Josh Sharp Sings! Live!||Comedy|
|July 21||11:30am||Kids Can Too!||Live music|
|July 21||8pm||Bang on a Can All-Stars||Live music|
|July 23||4:30pm||Bang on a Can Composers Concert||Live music|
|July 28||4-10pm||Bang on a Can Marathon||Live music|
|August 3||7pm||Blondie with And The Kids||Live music|
|August 4||12-5pm||Techne: Extension Exorcises||Performance in the galleries|
|August 11||8pm||Alloy Orchestra||Film + live music|
|August 17||8pm||Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan||Movie at the airport|
|August 18||8pm||Jaimeo Brown: Transcendence||Live music|
|August 24||8pm||Roomful of Teeth||Live music|
|August 25||8pm||The Greatest Generation Podcast||Live podcast|
|Sept 1||8pm||Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles||Live music|
|Sept 14-16||All weekend||FreshGrass Festival||Music festival|
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’s 250,000 sq. ft. of gallery space includes partnerships with Laurie Anderson, the Louise Bourgeois Trust, Jenny Holzer, Anselm Kiefer with the Hall Art Foundation, Sol LeWitt, and James Turrell.
Gallery admission is $20 for adults, $18 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. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is seasonal and will reopen on May 26, 2018. For additional information: 413.662.2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA is open from 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays, through June 22. From June 23 through September 3, MASS MoCA’s galleries are open seven days a week — from 10am to 6pm Sundays through Wednesdays and from 10am to 7pm Thursdays through Saturdays.
Download the Summer 2018 Season Announce press release here.