For Immediate Release
12 December 2018
Contact: Jodi Joseph
Director of Communications
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Punch Brothers, Car Seat Headrest, and Mitski headline a winter/spring lineup packed with new art, live music, dance, and the return of the High Mud Comedy Festival
Artist Trenton Doyle Hancock transforms Building 5 with his largest-ever museum exhibition, new work by Rafa Esparza and Tom Slaughter fill the galleries, and contemporary artists examine the human condition in Suffering from Realness
Artist Residencies include jazz/shoegaze/post-rock wizard Kaki King, The National’s Bryce Dessner and Roomful of Teeth explore Robert Mapplethorpe, and Fishing with Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and actor Jon Hamm
NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS — MASS MoCA heads into its winter/spring season with new works in the galleries, on stage, and Jon Hamm. Yes, that Jon Hamm. Welcome a new year in new art on January 12 with the transcendental work-in-progress Aeon Ritual before letting loose for our annual Free Day on January 26, when the museum throws open its doors to everyone free of charge. The main stage spins an all-star soundtrack, including the exhilarating agony of Car Seat Headrest on February 15; George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic’s phantasmagoric train of funk on March 9; a magic dose of FreshGrass twang from Punch Brothers on March 16; and the powerful and persuasive indie rock of Mitski who soars into town on April 20. The annual High Mud Comedy Fest returns on March 29 and 30 for some serious laughs. And yes! Jon Hamm returns to the mix to make his North Adams debut on April 6 in Fishing, a work-in-progress collaboration with Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and choreographer Danielle Agami. All that and a flood of new art filling the galleries will keep you busy as the snow flies and the mud sticks between now and May.
In the galleries
Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock installs his largest-ever exhibition, taking over MASS MoCA’s signature Building 5 gallery with his mythic, technicolor universe. In Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass, on view beginning March 9, Hancock — who has been developing his own creation mythology since he was 5 — brings his iconic characters to life in an installation that’s part toy fair, part myth-themed amusement park, and all deeply personal. On view beginning April 13, curator Denise Markonish brings together more than a dozen artists in Suffering From Realness, diving deep into our age of uncertainty with artists including Titus Kaphar, Cassils, Adriana Corral, and Vincent Valdez.
Beginning January 12 Tom Slaughter’s Icon Alphabet plasters our Massachusetts Electric Co. mezzanine with joyful imagery of everyday objects. Rafa Esparza’s staring at the sun transforms one of MASS MoCA’s only “white cube” spaces into a brown gallery covering the floor with adobe brick and creating a landscape built of brown bodies on the wall. He opens the exhibition with a performance on January 19.
Join exhibiting artist Trenton Doyle Hancock as he discusses his lifelong practice of character creation and myth building with screen legend Frank Oz on April 10. The two will talk about the creative process, pop culture, and identity, in what promises to be a riveting night of conversation. Suffering From Realness artists Vincent Valdez and Adriana Corral mark the opening of this new exhibition on April 13 with a procession of their sculpture Requiem, a larger-than-life cast of an American eagle, accompanied by parading musicians — recalling a New Orleans-style jazz funeral. The artists will discuss their work following the event.
A penchant for slashing guitars, earworm-y refrains, and just a touch of melancholy, Car Seat Headrest will have the audience jumping with angst on February 15, filling the stage with a seven-piece super group helmed by indie-rock hero Will Toledo. George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic touch down in North Adams on March 9 for a funktastic spectacular. Clinton, the soon-to-be-retired architect of Afrofuturism is here at the invitation of exhibiting artists Trenton Doyle Hancock and Allison Janae Hamilton, for a night of super-heroic and mystically funky tunes. Punch Brothers, the gold standard for genre-bending bluegrass, first wowed MASS MoCA crowds with their headline set at FreshGrass in 2015. They’re back on March 16, right when we all yearn for a little green.
MASS MoCA’s High Mud Comedy Festival returns for a foolish and funny weekend March 29-30. The annual early-spring yuk-fest will be stacked with comedy club kings and queens, half-brewed beer tastings, and mocking museum tours. Stay tuned for lineup talent, but, for now, pen in mud season in the Berkshires for a jam-packed weekend of serious laughs.
Coming off of a high-flying year, indie-rock darling Mitski takes the stage on April 20. The “visionary singer-songwriter” (Rolling Stone) promises a night of twisted pop and intoxicating melodies as her sophomore album continues to rack up the “Best Of” accolades. French-Cameroonian duo Les Nubians keep the good times rolling with its singular blend of warm R&B and francophone hip-hop — join the party on May 11 as we dance out North Adams’ first-ever O+ Festival.
Live Music Up in the Club
On January 19, Blind Boy Paxton strolls into town with his banjo and an unfair amount of talent in tow. A deeply gifted multi-instrumentalist, Paxton plays the delta blues like it’s meant to be — mesmerizing, uplifting, and with a whole lotta soul. Stunning vocalist and composer Kavita Shah takes the stage on February 9 to share a globe-hopping sound that melds elements of Brazilian, West African, and Indian musical traditions into smoldering jazz reminiscent of Norah Jones. On March 23, NYC’s finest boogaloo band, Spanglish Fly comes to MASS MoCA’s Club B10 to let loose. Blending Afro-Caribbean rhythms with classic R&B and soul, this 12-piece band will deliver a night of deep grooves and horn-heavy originals — get your dancing shoes ready.
Curated at the behest of Trenton Doyle Hancock, Philly-based MC and beat-maker Sammus lays it down on April 13, combining an explosive stage presence with head-spinning verbal pyrotechnics. Whatever she’s rapping about — from gaming to identity politics — the beats are ferocious and the rhymes are tight. Closing out an electrifying season on May 18, Soul Science Lab takes us on an inspiring journey of cross-cultural exploration via words and video, all wrapped in an irresistible soundtrack of hip-hop, funk, soul, and Afrobeat.
On March 2, in a co-presentation with Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo bring the “funniest night you will ever have at the ballet” (Sunday Times). The world’s foremost all-male, drag-clad comedy ballet company, the Trocks are one of the most popular, critically recognized, and outright hilarious dance companies in the world. On May 4, Ian Berg: Matter examines the intersections of tap and jazz, in another co-presentation with Jacob’s Pillow Dance. Expect live music and high-flying hoofing at this work-in-progress performance.
Free Day, an annual winter celebration when MASS MoCA throws opens its door, programs gallery-wall-to-gallery-wall activities throughout the museum, and waives admission for all visitors, falls on January 26 from 11am to 7pm. Enjoy live music, make your own art, watch a pop-up performance, learn about the past of our historic factory campus, and hop on a gallery tour.
MASS MoCA’s annual spring documentary series, this year titled Present Tense, kicks off its 4-film run on February 28. Screening each Thursday through March 21, the four featured documentaries reframe the past as an acute lens for examining the right now and include Bisbee ’17 — which just tied for number one on The New York Times’ movie critic A.O. Scott’s year-end list — 306 Hollywood, Genesis 2.0, and Ethiopiques: Revolt of the Soul.
Every spring, audiences get a glimpse of art in the making with residency programs that each conclude with a work-in-progress presentation. Aeon Ritual occupies the space between concert and religious ceremony, transforming our Hunter Center for an immersive, ecstatic spiritual experience on January 12. On January 26, The National’s Bryce Dessner completes a week-long residency with frequent collaborators, Roomful of Teeth, led by Williams College’s Brad Wells, producing Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), which puts us inside photographer and artist Robert Mapplethorpe’s voracious images to explore how we look, touch, feel, hurt, and love one another. On February 23, Rolling Stone-crowned “guitar god” Kaki King tunnels into the ether in Data Not Found. A collaboration with social advocate Giorgia Lupi and video designer Max Bernstein, this musical and visual journey explores big data in contemporary culture. And finally, on April 6, Jon Hamm makes his much-anticipated North Adams debut with our friend, Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche, and director/choreographer Danielle Agami. (We’re saving your seat). The trio is here to work on a ravishing piece of multidisciplinary performance that explores the beautiful, simple absurdity of desire. So if Jon Hamm is what it takes to get you to see experimental art in North Adams, then Jon Hamm you shall have.
Season at a glance, by date:
|January 12||8pm||Aeon Ritual||Work-in-progress: Music|
|January 19||4pm||Rafa Esparza||Performance|
|January 19||8pm||Blind Boy Paxton||Live music|
|January 26||11am-7pm||Free Day||In the galleries|
|January 26||8pm||Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)||Work-in-progress: Music + art|
|February 9||8pm||Kavita Shah||Live music|
|February 15||8pm||Car Seat Headrest||Live music|
|February 23||8pm||Kaki King: Data Not Found||Work-in-progress: Music|
|February 28||7pm||Bisbee ‘17||Documentary Film Series|
|March 2||8pm||Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo||Dance|
|March 7||7pm||306 Hollywood||Documentary Film Series|
|March 9||8pm||George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic||Live Music|
|March 14||7pm||Genesis 2.0||Documentary Film Series|
|March 16||8pm||Punch Brothers||Live music|
|March 21||7pm||Ethiopiques: Revolt of the Soul||Documentary Film Series|
|March 23||8pm||Spanglish Fly||Live music|
|March 29-30||Varies||High Mud Comedy Festival||Festival|
|April 6||8pm||Fishing||Work-in-progress: Undefinable|
|April 10||6:30pm||Trenton Doyle Hancock & Frank Oz||Artist Talk|
|April 13||4pm||Vincent Valdez & Adriana Corral||Performance + Talk|
|April 13||8pm||Sammus||Live music|
|April 20||8pm||Mitski||Live music|
|May 4||8pm||Ian Berg: Matter||Work-in-progress: Dance + music|
|May 11||8pm||Les Nubians||Live music|
|May 18||8pm||Soul Science Lab||Live music|
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 nearly doubled 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 $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 currently closed for the season. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA is open from 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays, through late June. MASS MoCA is closed Christmas Day and open on January 1. From late June through Labor Day 2019, MASS MoCA’s galleries will be open seven days a week — from 10am to 6pm Sundays through Wednesdays and from 10am to 7pm Thursdays through Saturdays.