(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – MASS MoCA will be swarming with activity in summer 2015, with rock and roots music festivals, one-off concerts, film and comedy, and new exhibitions and installations featuring cutting-edge art, sculpture and photography. Highlights include Wilco’s
Solid Sound Festival, FreshGrass, featuring the world’s top bluegrass and roots music artists, Bang on a Can Summer Music Institute, Toshi Reagon’s tribute to Prince and Michael Jackson, PigPen Theatre Co., and exhibitions by Liz Deschenes, Clifford Ross, and Francesco Clemente.
Eight exhibitions open this summer, beginning on Saturday, May 23, 2015, with three shows focused on new photography. A solo exhibition from Liz Deschenes, Gallery 4.1.1, showcases new works by the artist, whose practice makes visible the materials, properties, and chemical processes of photography. Artists’ Choice: An Expanded Field of Photography, a group show co-curated by Deschenes and MASS MoCA curator Susan Cross, features the photography of six artists and demonstrates their wide-ranging approach to the field.
The major mid-career survey from Clifford Ross, Landscape Seen & Imagined, takes place throughout two buildings, six galleries, and an exterior performing arts courtyard, to include Ross’ hyper-detailed photographs of hurricane waves and mountains and a new “invisible art” project featuring animated virtual elements only accessible by means of the viewer’s smartphone.
A members’ opening reception for the three shows takes place on Saturday, May 23, 5-6:30pm. Ross and collaborator John Colpitts, aka Oneida, aka Kid Millions, curate a music program to complement Ross’s massive 12-screen video installation in concert Courtyard D that shows on Thursday and Friday evenings all summer in the Chalet Sessions at MASS MoCA’s festive beer garden.
Opening on June 13, Francesco Clemente: Encampment is a multi-part, 30,000 square foot installation in MASS MoCA’s signature Building 5 gallery, focused around a suite of six painted canvas tents created in collaboration with a community of artisans in India. A collection of 19 erotically charged paintings, rendered in bright washes of watercolor and exquisitely detailed gouache brushwork, overlooks the tents in the Building 5 mezzanine gallery.
Kidspace unveils the first of four years of related exhibitions organized under a single narrative and developmental arc with Walk in My Shoes, featuring three artists’ works chosen to activate empathetic responses and amplify awareness of one’s feelings and compassion towards others. Jamie Diamond, Jesse Fleming, and Aaron Johnson have works in the show.
Also opening this summer are Ran Hwang: Untethered, a 140-ft. sculpture of 14 birds made of buttons and pins, SuttonBeresCuller: Big Top Grand Stand, a flamboyant outdoor sculpture that pays homage to the festival concession stand and environment, and an exuberant 100-ft. mural by local painter Barbara Takenaga. Also on display is Jim Shaw’s Church Inflatable, on view as weather permits.
The performing arts season kicks off on Memorial Day weekend with the return of FreshGrass Festival favorites The Lone Bellow. Toshi Reagon presents a love-themed concert that dives into the songbooks of Prince and Michael Jackson on July 11. Brooklyn-based band Oneida, aka Kid Millions, aka John Colpitts performs live amidst the enveloping 12-screen video installation by Clifford Ross in the Courtyard D venue on August 8, and Grammy Award-winning Roomful of Teeth, which regularly summers at the museum, returns on August 28 to perform its stunning vocal arrangements.
Three major festivals span the spectrum, showcasing the cutting edge of modern rock music and current comedy, innovative contemporary classical, and traditional and trailblazing American bluegrass and roots music. Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival returns on June 26-28 with two sets by Wilco; the Richard Thompson Trio; Mac DeMarco; Real Estate; NRBQ; and John Hodgman’s Big Time Comedy Thing. The Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival spans three weeks that include daily gallery recitals, late-night Chalet appearances, Kids Can Too! on July 18, the annual Bang on a Can All-Stars concert on July 25, and the Bang on a Can Marathon on August 1 for six hours of musical celebration. FreshGrass, MASS MoCA’s annual festival of bluegrass and roots music, takes place on September 18-20 and features the Punch Brothers, Leftover Salmon, The Del McCoury Band, Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester, and over twenty more bands.
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang revive the ancient tradition of Bubu for a night of hypnotic dance music on July 18, and JD Samson, a member of the legendary electro-feminist-punk project Le Tigre, performs a live band set and a DJ set for a summer-ending night of progressive love on the dance floor on September 5.
Out on the Dré Pavilion, the cabaret-style outdoor theater, slide, lap steel, and dobro wizard Natalia Zukerman sings on June 6. Rollicking indie-folk band PigPen Theatre Co., which delighted Williamstown Theatre Festival audiences last summer, performs a concert of new material on August 15. Comedian Solomon Georgio “keeps it both real and funny” on August 29, with a pungent brand of indignant irreverence that has him on a path to certain comedy stardom.
On June 19, film director Karen Thorsen introduces James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket, an emotional portrait of the writer and Civil Rights activist. For the fifth time, MASS MoCA takes over the North Adams airport kicking off Independence Day weekend on July 3 with Top Gun screening on a huge airplane hangar door. It’s one of our favorite and most flavorful events of the season.
Throughout the summer, conversations with artists are held in The Chalet, the museum’s outdoor craft beer garden. On July 9, artist Nick Cave, who has an exhibit at MASS MoCA in 2017, speaks, Eclipse artists Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris and Bang on a Can musicians give a talk and perform on July 30, Clifford Ross on August 14, and Chalet-creator Dean Baldwin on August 20. On most Thursdays and Fridays, a massive, immersive 12-screen installation in concert Courtyard D will feature music curated by Clifford Ross and his musical collaborator, John Colpitts (aka Kid Millions), from Satie to Sinatra, madrigals to makossa, Kuti to Kyrie, and beyond.
Summer is chock-full of activities for families, beginning with Grammy-nominated electro-acoustic kindie pop duo The Pop Ups on June 13, and the opening of Kidspace exhibition Walk in My Shoes on June 20, from 11am to 1pm. Bang on a Can faculty and fellows perform the interactive music show Kids Can Too! on July 18. Three week-long Art Ninjas Camps happen in and around the museum campus in August; check massmoca.org/artcamps2015 for registration details, as space is limited. Art Ninjas hit the road this summer when MASS MoCA takes its art-making camps to The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, during the week of August 3. Kidspace holds art-making every day this summer, Sundays through Wednesdays from 10am to 6pm and Thursdays through Saturdays from10am to 7pm.
Building on the success of the popular early-bird ticket promotion, MASS MoCA discounts tickets 25% for Summer 2015 performances (May 23 through September 5) when purchased by April 25. (Exceptions: Solid Sound Festival, Movie at the Airport, Art Ninjas Camps, FreshGrass.) Only one ticket discount at a time will be valid; a 35% discount will not apply to $5 member ticket shows.
Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am – 5pm Wednesdays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through June 26, 2015. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased on-line at MASS MoCA. All events are held rain or shine.
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.
MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition reopens on April 18. From June 26 through September 7, 2015, MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 10am to 6pm every day, Sundays through Wednesdays, with extended evening hours to 7pm on Thursdays through Saturdays, when performing arts events are often featured. 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. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit MASS MoCA.