It seems that most of the art at MASS MoCA comes and goes almost as quickly as the leaves in the fall! We at the museum are excited to have the opportunity to constantly present new pieces to museum goers, but also love to keep up with the artists who have shown their work here. Do you (past visitors) remember artist Chris Doyleâ€™s Apocalypse Management, which showed in the museum from April of 2009 through February of 2010 as a part of the exhibition These Days: Elegies for Modern Times? It was the digital animation installation that existed as an elegy to disaster. The piece portrayed contemporary disaster imagery in the form of a city lying in the path of an oncoming storm, as well as people coping in the aftermath. Although the piece had an overwhelmingly harrowing outlook for the future state of the world, it maintained a sense of hope as wounded, lost, and dying characters worked their way out of the destruction. The video, which was commissioned for MASS MoCA in 2009, was the first of a series of five that Doyle has based on 19th-century Hudson River School painter Thomas Coleâ€™s The Course of Empire.
The second part of the series and Doyleâ€™s first solo exhibition, a video of hand-drawn animation, is now on view at the Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York City. Doyleâ€™s new installation, Waste_Generation, is a commentary on the cycle of consumption and transformation and is set in a world threatened by the technology that it has become so reliant upon. The animation is in a constant state of flux and metamorphosis as a â€śdump site for outmoded tools of production, such as computers and oil drills, dissolves into a paper mill whose smokestack generates paper money. The currency condenses into the pulsating plant life of a jungle, where falling trees shape themselves into a bleak factory silhouette that belches pastel clouds. Black crows fly out of them, only to divide and metastasize into the replicating patterns of Victorian wallpaper and oriental rugs. The rugs frame a suburban development of homes with Islamic domes, as seen in on TV in a flash that brings the cycle back to its beginning.â€ť
Of the follow-up video to the one shown as MASS MoCA last spring, Chris Doyle says, “First, I wanted to explore the way ornament has been used throughout history, and across civilizations, as a cultural representation of nature,” Doyle says of the piece. “Secondly, while the generation of waste is basically destructive, it serves a tremendous creative urge that is ultimately, and gloriously, the essence of being human.â€ť Learn more about the project here.