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Work-in-progress defined by John Kelly

Below is a video update from John Kelly about the work-in-progress showing, Find My Way Home, that’s happening this Saturday, October 15, at 8 PM. Find My Way Home retells the Myth of Orpheus & Eurydice in the Great Depression time period adding elements of opera, period dance, cinematic acting, projected film sequences, extravagant costume and set design, and a company of dancers for a performance art piece not to be missed. Check out the clip below for a further understanding of the work put into this particular showing.

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Who else drinks coffee to keep the work day going and caps off the night with wine? Don’t we all?

Posted October 14, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Uncategorized
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Performance Artist John Kelly Talks about his Residency

Our managing director Sue Killam offers this background information for John Kelly’s video.  Stay tuned from more videos from John about the residency.

Performance and visual artist John Kelly is currently in residence at MASS MoCA.  He’s created over 30 pieces to date, and he is in the process of re-mounting his Bessie Award-winning work Find My Way Home.  Created in 1988 during the height of the AIDS epidemic, Find My Way Home deconstructs genres of opera, period dance, and cinematic acting, and includes scenes and arias from Gluck’s baroque opera Orfeo Ed Eurydice.

While we host a lot of artists-in-residence, what’s most interesting about this residency is that as John re-visits this work, reviving backdrops, props, character dummies, choreography, and movement from the original.  As he explained, the piece has been in storage for over 10 years and time has left its mark.  For example, only a third of the original painted backdrop (pictured above) was found so now it has to be pieced together from old photographs and reconstructed.  It’s become a group effort to bring the backdrop back to life, adding more layers of those who this piece has touched.   And as this resurrection commences, it’s natural to reflect on the original creators who have since passed.   Breathing new life into Find My Way Home is a mash-up of old and new, present and departed, original ideas and evolution.  Please join us on Saturday at 8pm and become a part of the story of this piece.

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Posted October 13, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Music, Theater, Work-in-progress
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Secrets of MASS MoCA: Codex Solis

On the roof of MASS MoCA lies a 230-foot long grid of solar panels, providing the museum with 7% of our power.  These panels go by the name of Codex Solis, part of All Utopias Fell by artist Michael Oatman, which also includes The Shining and The Library of the Sun.  Codex Solis does more than supply us with energy—it presents us with a message, a hidden message.

The solar panels are organized to create a phrase relating back to the sun and solar energy.  The quote is by a well known author, but Oatman won’t tell us who.   Each solar panel represents a letter.  Mirrors scattered among the panels represent spaces between words.

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Posted October 7, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Secrets of MASS MoCA, Solar energy
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A Small History on the Upright Citizens Brigade

What do Amy Poehler, Fred Armisen, Zach Galifianakis, and Sarah Silverman have in common?  They all have performed with comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade! The Upright Citizens Brigade TourCo will bless us with their humor at MASS MoCA on Saturday, October 8 at 8pm!

A small history lesson on UCB:

-1996: Comedians Matt Besser (Reno 911), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Ian Roberts (Anchorman), and Matt Walsh (Old School) leave Chicago’s ImprovOlympic to move New York, forming the Upright Citizens Brigade to teach and perform improv

-1998-2000:  The TV series “Upright Citizens Brigade” airs on Comedy Central for 3 seasons, featuring popular comedy sketches from their live performances, as well as new material.  The show follows the Upright Citizens Brigade, an organization “with no government ties and unlimited resources,” allowing for chaos to ensue… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted October 4, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Comedy, Uncategorized
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Southern Exposure in San Fran

This summer I got an email from Courtney Fink, the Executive Director of Southern Exposure in San Francisco (see more about their program here). Southern Exposure is a great alternative space that has been around since 1974. Located in San Francisco’s Mission District, Southern Exposure is a virbant arts organization presenting exhibition, public programming and even running a great grant program for loacl artists and curators. Their website they state that: “Southern Exposure is dedicated to giving artists—whether they are exhibiting, curating, teaching, or learning—an opportunity to realize ideas for projects that may not otherwise find support.” It’s just my kind of place!

So, Back to that email… Courtney emailed me to see if I wanted to jury this year’s edition of their 20-year old Juried Exhibition. I have juried lots of shows over the years and it is always a great experience. It brings me into a community and I can get an immediate picture of the artists working there. Many times, artists who strike a cord, have ended up in shows I have later curated, or I give suggestions to other curators I know. For instance, I first met Wade Kavanaughwhen I juried the Portland, Maine biennial in 2009. Wade later worked with Stephen Nguyen on an installation in Susan Cross’s exhibition Material World here at MASS MoCA in 2010.

It had been a while since I was in the Bay Area so I thought this would be a great opportunity to see what is going on out there. I also had a chance to visit Dan McKinley MASS MoCA’s former graphic designer who now works at the San Fransciso Museum of Modern Art, and Gian Pablo Villamil who worked with me and Pawel Wojtasik on Below Sea Level the video about New Orleans that was part of the show These Days: Elegies for Modern Times in 2009.

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Posted October 3, 2011 by dmarkonish
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Under the Sea at Kidspace!


UNDER THE SEA
, the newest exhibit in Kidspace at MASS MoCA, opens this Saturday, October 1! There will be a special opening party this Saturday from 11-4pm, featuring demonstrations from the artists.  Visitors can learn how to create intricate pipe-cleaner weavings, cardboard fish, and even a surfboard!

The artists providing our under-water world are hard at work transforming Kidspace into the ocean.  We checked in on the progress and couldn’t believe our eyes…

Using cardboard, sculptor James Grashow created a rainbow of fish swimming through Kidspace with their mermaid friend (Under the Corrugated Sea). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted September 28, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Kidspace
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