A word from Nick Brooke

From recent MASS MoCA director-in-residence Nick Brooke:

Two weeks at Mass MoCA was intense, hallucinatory, and wonderful, both for me and my co-director Jenny Rohn. Never have we assembled so quickly 8 performers, tons of props (120 bricks, desks, chairs, and wheelbarrows filled with phone books), and enough speakers to fill Wembley Stadium. My music is a collage of hundreds of recorded samples, which I train singers to imitate. I create virtuosic musical scores (with yodeling, top-40 tunes, and whistling) and physical ‘scores’ (bricklaying, carrying people in wheelbarrows, and all-out brawls). A Mass MoCA residency is a place where -well, where they’re open to this!

Amidst all the fight coaching, drilling, and speaker set-up, there was the calming, beatific presence of the Mass MoCA staff, who were super-helpful (one performer said: “how can people be so nice?”), and hip to anything we wanted to try. Our first week was spent woodshedding upstairs in a rehearsal room, or downstairs in the massive Hunter Center. And when the piece came together for the final night, with two pieces, Mass and Time and Motion Study, we got a warm, sold-out reception.

During the residency, we made connections locally (an original Sprague Electric employee, who worked on the assembly line, talked to us about the factory aesthetic of Time and Motion Study), and in the area (I was interviewed by two area newspapers that I delivered as a young paper boy!). As a local boy, a residency gave me the illicit pleasure of seeing how MoCA works behind the scenes. We got backstage tours, and after a long day of musical drilling, nothing served us better than lying on a giant bean bag, and watching Jenny Holzer’s kaleidoscopic projections.

Posted October 21, 2008 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Work-in-progress

Digg | | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Not your Typical Desk/A Lever Long Enough

From our wonderful Box Office intern Rebecca Roy:

The history of North Adams oozes from the walls of mass moca; layers of paint reveal past lives; brick cornices remind us of another time.  In a fittingly contemporary appropriation of space, MASS MoCA has become the setting for a dialogue with history, industry, and architecture.  From mill to factory to museum, MASS MoCA’s varied histories are reflected in the building itself as well as in its architectural and interior design. To many visitors, the most obvious of these fixtures is the box office desk.

Suspended from the ceiling by a spring at one end and balancing on the floor on a fulcrum at its midpoint, the box office desk is a unique reminder of MASS MoCA’s transformation from an industrial manufacturing mill to an art museum.  Designed and constructed by Mike Green, the desk is composed of fabricated steel from I beams, wooden columns, and the spring from an elevator shaft. Not only is the desk a functional sculpture and a document of MASS MoCA’s past, but it is a living, bouncing testament to change and resiliency.

As a visitor leans on the desk to ask a question or sign a receipt, they usually realize that the box office desk is more than a decoration or a work of art.  The desk actually oscillates,  becoming a responsive and animated third party in the ticket selling process.  Temporary loss of balance or disorientation may occur. However,  upon discovering that our desk does indeed bounce, many visitors say that the desk reminds them of the Archimedes quote, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.”  And even though our desk can’t literally move the world, maybe the art inside the galleries can.

Posted October 21, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG

Digg | | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Flickr Finds: Holzer

Our MASS MoCA Flickr group has 116 members and 1, 147 photos in it. To showcase the fabulous pics that our visitors have been posting I thought I would occasionally pick a topic and share with you a few of my favorite Flickr photos. Since Projections will be closing on November 16, I will begin with Holzer based Flickr Finds.

Please note all photos shown in Flickr Finds blogs retain the copyright of the original photographer. To learn more about the photographer and the licensing of their images, click on the photographer’s name to visit their Flickr profile.

From Selfnonself

From jjriders

From emily shu

From mmpartee

From R Hennessy

From franola

From Sasquatch Madness



Posted October 17, 2008 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Exhibitions, Flickr Finds
1 Comment »

Digg | | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Q&A with directors, dancers, and Patricia Clarkson

One of my favorite features of the Williamstown Film Festival/ MASS MoCA movie screenings is the Q&A session after each film. This year we are screening two wonderful feature films, Phoebe in Wonderland and Gotta Dance, as well as two equally great shorts, Madame Tutli-Putli and Maine Story.

On Saturday, October 18, the Q&A will feature Phoebe in Wonderland director/writer Daniel Barnz and film star Patricia Clarkson, plus Madame Tutli-Putli co-director/creator Chris Lavis.

On Friday, October 24, stay after the film for a Q-&-A with Gotta Dance director/producer Dori Berinstein with five members of the NETSational Senior Dance Team and their coach, as well as Maine Story director Nina Chernik.

Q&A’s are included in the price of the film so for a mere $13/$7 students you can watch a great movie and  hear from some of the leading film makers of our times. For tickets call 413.MOCA.111.

See you at the movies.



Posted October 16, 2008 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Film
Leave a comment »

Digg | | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

Parade O’ Rama

It has been several years since MASS MoCA has participated in the annual North Adams Fall Foliage Parade. This year we decided to join in on the community parade lovin’ fun and build a float. If you have ever wondered just what it takes to build giant paper mache popcorn or replicate the box of your favorite snack then this post is for you!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted October 15, 2008 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, North Adams
Leave a comment »

Digg | | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit

FREE concert

Though its not happening at MASS MoCA, we recommend a FREE concert taking place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 16, at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield. MASS MoCA regulars will recognize the jazz musicians performing with Evan Lurie in an improvisatory concert inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird, with accompanying clips from the classic film.  Charlie Burnham who performed here just two months ago with Hidden City is part of the group as is Steve Bernstein who’s graced our stage more than once  — first as part of Sex Mob who played for the opening of the Vienna Project in May 2002 and more recently as part of the Millenial Territory Orchestra accompanying Laurel & Hardy films in August 2007.

Evan Lurie is an internationally known musician and composer for over 20 films, the musical director of the award-winning children’s television series “The Backyardigans”, and a co-founder of the groundbreaking alt-jazz ensemble, the Lounge Lizards.

The concert is FREE.  Come early and visit our table at downtown Pittsfield’s Third Thursday!

Posted October 13, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Music
Leave a comment »

Digg | | Technorati | Blinklist | Furl | reddit