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(re)Made at MASS MoCA: Available Light

A few short weeks ago, renowned choreographer Lucinda Childs was in residency at the museum with her dancers, rehearsing her revamped version of Available Light. Childs’s seminal collaboration with architect Frank Gehry and composer John Adams was performed March 6, 7, and 8 for the first time—on Gehry’s reimagined set to Adams’s original score—since 1983.

Naturally, we filmed a bunch of rehearsals, conducted numerous interviews, set up time lapses, and snapped lots of photos to preserve the revival of this formative piece. They’re all compiled here, in chronological order, so you all at home can feel like you were right there with us watching Available Light‘s rebirth.

First up is a time lapse of the Hunter Center as our production team set the stage (literally) for the show. The set they constructed is slightly different from Frank Gehry’s 1983 original; though the aesthetics are similar, this version is more logistically viable for touring the world, and can be built at virtually any venue (click for video):

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Once the stage was set, the dancers began to rehearse…

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And rehearse…

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And rehearse.

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But luckily, Lucinda Childs and her dancers weren’t too busy to get a tour of the galleries from our director, Joseph Thompson:

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And before showtime, we stopped to chat with the choreographer herself about revamping one of her major works (click for video):

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Then, after nearly a month of rehearsals, it was finally time for three intimate, work-in-progress performances of the piece…

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And they were breathtaking:

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The dancers took a much-deserved bow, but the night wasn’t over just yet.

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After each showing, audience members got their questions answered during an exclusive Q&A session with Lucinda Childs and Julie Lazar, the original commissioner of Available Light at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’s Temporary Contemporary, facilitated by our managing director of performing arts, Sue Killam:

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Now, the only thing left to do was strike:

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And by the end of the whirlwind three-week residency, some members of our production team got a little bit silly. Yes, Tim, we’re talking about you:

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In June, Available Light will have its premiere at Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Now that we’re done with one major dance performance, we’re gearing up for another: if you loved Available Light as much as we did, don’t miss the sleek choreography and electrifying movements of Larry Keigwin’s KEIGWIN + COMPANY, a co-presentation with Jacob’s Pillow Dance, in our Hunter Center on April 11 and 12.

Posted March 20, 2015 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Frank Gehry, John Adams, Lucinda Childs, North Adams, Visual and Performing Arts, Work-in-progress
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Keeping the Light Alive: Behind the Scenes with Karl

The Dying of the Light: Film as Medium and Metaphor, a film exhibition which featured several massive projectors and analog films, closed to the public last week. In a photo essay, our film technician intern reflects upon the six months he spent tending to one of our highest-maintenance exhibitions. 

By Karl Frederick Mattson

The Dying of the Light: A once continuously looped film exhibition, temperamental in nature, and spliced together with a heavy dose of preservation and nostalgia. The delicate technical maintenance required for such an exhibition came down to a physical science. The projectors — essentially living and breathing mechanical wonders — came with their fair share of daily issues. Given that the exhibition ran constantly for 11 months from opening to close on a daily basis resulted in an indefinite amount of time behind the scenes to keep the bustling machines running.

The following series of images is a brief account of the attentive technical maintenance that was required to preserve and often repair the nearly obsolete presentation, medium, and metaphor of analogue film in a public setting.

 

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The film before the film.

 

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The War Room, where a vast array of film equipment was stored.

 

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The film tech cart, which included all of the necessary projector tinkering tools.

 

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Prepping the ol’ movie theater projector (oil leaks galore) for a new print of Rosa Barba’s The Long Road.

 

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Watching for the green ray while testing out a new print.

 

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Turning on Matthew Buckingham’s False Future, hoping the projector lamp won’t burn out (again).

 

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A box full of used chandeliers.

 

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A trusty bright neon microfiber cloth used to clean Rosa Barba’s Stating The Real Sublime.

 

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Dead light.

Posted February 26, 2015 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Exhibitions, Film, Interns, The Dying of the Light, Uncategorized
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Made at MASS MoCA: Helado Negro

Last week, MASS MoCA was lucky enough to have Helado Negro (the moniker for musician Roberto Lange) in residency working on the next installment of his Island Universe Story. Roberto and his musical collaborators, Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco, Jason Ajemian and Jason Trammell of the William Onyeabor Atomic Bomb Band, and Oliver Chapoy of Certain Creatures, spent six days in our studios before performing on Saturday night. Here’s a video of Roberto discussing his project and what it’s like to create and collaborate at MASS MoCA.

Yesterday, Roberto announced that he was a recipient of the Joyce Award for 2015, along with previously exhibiting MASS MoCA artists Nari Ward and Sanford Biggers. His award will be used to produce the upcoming performance of Island Universe Story as part of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series in March. The Joyce Award allows the SPCO to partner with Helado Negro to bring this groundbreaking, Latin-inspired sonic performance to new audiences with a group of world class musicians who have performed with Wilco, Stereolab, and David Byrne.

Roberto, we couldn’t be happier for you. Congratulations!

Posted January 28, 2015 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Helado Negro, Made at MASS MoCA, Music
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Thank You from MASS MoCA

As the holiday season whips by in a flurry of flash sales and, well, flurries, it can be easy to get carried away in the “getting” and forget to be thankful for all that we already have. As our fifteenth year becomes our sixteenth year, the staff here at MASS MoCA looks back with gratitude on twelve months’ worth of programming, residencies, and exhibits. From music festivals to educational workshops to large-scale art installations, here are the moments from 2014 that we’re the most thankful for:

Glenn Kotche and David Cossin’s duet at the Bang on a Can Marathon

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Nick Veasey and Marilène Oliver’s Kidspace residency

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Installing Darren Waterston’s Filthy Lucre

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Having an amazing time at Beck in June

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The amazing turnout at our FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival
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The transformation that occurs in our galleries at installation time

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Doubling the number of students served by our school partnership program

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Bang on a Can playing Terry Reily’s In C inside Izhar Patkin’s veiled suite, and…

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…working with Ann Hamilton on her Paper Chorus.

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We’re thankful to you for making these moments happen, and for joining us to watch them unfold. Can’t wait to see you next year, and the year after…

Posted December 23, 2014 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Berkshires, BLOG, Darren Waterston: Uncertain Beauty, Exhibitions, Kidspace, Uncategorized
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38 Lanterns for MASS MoCA’s NYC Gala

All images and text excerpted from coombscriddle.wordpress.com.

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Last winter, local glass artist Debora Coombs was onsite at MASS MoCA for a few weeks, faux-painting and creating gold texture for interior surfaces in Darren Waterston’s Uncertain Beauty exhibition at MASS MoCA. For the museum’s annual gala this fall, Coombs and Waterston showed off their latest collaboration, a sold-out edition of 38 hand-made lanterns.

Here’s a peek inside Coombs’ studio and the lantern-making process.

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Darren Waterston, painting landscapes onto glass

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Coombs and Waterston at the NYC Gala in October

Learn more about Darren Waterston’s MASS MoCA exhibition Uncertain Beauty here and visit Coombs’ website to learn more about the glass process and her work.

Posted December 3, 2014 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Darren Waterston: Uncertain Beauty, Design, Exhibitions, Local Artists
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Calling all Massachusetts Artists!

assets-for-artists2 assets-for-artists2 MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program is in its seventh year of helping Massachusetts artists build financial stability and entrepreneurial success. Founded in 2008, Assets for Artists is a matched-savings and entrepreneurship training program for low-income artists in all disciplines. If you are a Massachusetts artist and you are eligible to apply, don’t miss out. Assets for Artists is accepting applications through November 7, 2014!

Assets for Artists helps artists access capital, grow their artistic ventures, and gain the financial stability that promotes creative freedom. Artists selected to participate in 2014 will benefit from a “matched savings” program that provides $2,000 in grant funding, two free professional development workshops, and one-on-one business and financial counseling, including support in writing a business plan.

The program, born from MASS MoCA’s commitment to community revitalization through the arts, was piloted at home in Berkshire County, enrolling nine local artists during its first year. Today, Assets for Artists — administered by MASS MoCA in collaboration with ArtHome, the Midas Collaborative, and many local partners — has expanded to serve nearly 200 artists across the state of Massachusetts and in New York City, Rhode Island, and Portland, Maine. Here are just a few of the Massachusetts artists we enrolled last year:

From now until November 7, Assets for Artists is accepting applications from low-income creative entrepreneurs throughout the state of Massachusetts. To learn more and to download the application, visit the Assets for Artists website.

Posted October 30, 2014 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Assets for Artists, BLOG, Local Artists, North Adams
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