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Revamped Hardware brings MASS MoCA home for the holidays!

It’s never too early to start thinking about holiday shopping. MASS MoCA’s online Hardware store can help. The site now features a much wider selection of products, including past and present exhibition catalogs and new MoCA gear which is not available anywhere else.

Dedicated MASS MoCA fans might see a few familiar faces as employees and interns model apparel. Retail Manager Phyllis Criddle says, “All the photos of MoCA employees have such wonderful life and character- it wouldn’t look nearly as good if we had used professional models!” We couldn’t agree more; Derek and Marissa look great in MASS MoCA and Michael Oatman t-shirts, respectively.

 

Hardware has something for everyone on your list and even a few things for your own holiday wish list. Criddle shares her favorite items below.

Upside Down Grass Kit:  Grow your own version of Natalie Jeremijenko’s iconic Tree Logic.

The Fresh Egg Cookbook: Written by local author, chicken keeper, and Director of Development Jennifer Trainer Thompson.

Sol LeWitt Yarmulke: Designed by Sol LeWitt for his temple, Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, in Chester, Conneticut. Just in time for the holidays!

Speaking of the holidays, Hardware will extend an additional discount to MoCA members on Black Friday 11/23/12. Members will receive 20% off instead of their usual 10%.

Posted November 2, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Design, Exhibitions, Hardware, Interns, LeWitt, MASS MoCA by Design, Staff, Tree Logic
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Artist Spotlight: Jerry Gretzinger

Long before Minecraft and Sim City, there was Jerry Gretzinger

Marketing/Public Relations intern Elizabeth sits down with Jerry Gretzinger to discuss the evolution of his monumental mapping project and his exhibition at MASS MoCA (Oct 5-14 in the Hunter Center).

This must be really exciting for you. The whole map is going to be laid out for the first time, all together.

It is exciting! The first time in 30 years.  When it was last laid out, because it’s always growing, it was only 578 panels. Now we’re going to do almost 2,700 (panels). It’s five times as big.

How do you hope visitors will experience the map? Is there anything they should look for?

They’re going to have several options. They’re going to see the object itself; they’re going to see me working on it. With a camera Greg (Whitmore, the director of a documentary about Jerry) has set up, they’ll be able to see close up what I’m doing. And then, Greg has an elaborate plan for hands-on manipulation of the details, projected on a big screen. Everyone’s fascinated with the random card process so we’ll have some of the cards up on the screen.

I wanted to ask you about the cards. How did that process develop? When did you decide you wanted to have structure and rules to govern this world?

Before the cards, I had a stack of panels and I would go through the stack one panel at a time and work on every single one. That became unwieldy and started taking me way too long to get through the stack. I wanted a way of just randomly jumping ahead. A deck of playing cards was a simple solution. A Jack is 11; I would go down 11 panels.

Does a card or direction ever come up and you’re a little bit sad to see the change that has to be made? Do you ever feel attachment to one of the panels that looks particularly interesting?

You know about the Void (The Void card covers a panel with white paper, blocking out whatever was previously on it). When that comes up, if it’s just any old panel, that’s fine. But when it’s a major city, which happened recently, that makes me nervous. I wish it didn’t happen. But I stick to the rules.

Each panel itself is a work of art. The panels are so richly detailed with many different materials.  I think I spotted a cereal box and a crossword puzzle on one? How did you choose collage with found objects?

The first step, leading into where I am now, was to take old pattern pieces. My wife and I had a business of making women’s clothing and we had leftover patterns. Pattern paper is stiff and it’s manila colored on one side and green on the other. I started cutting up old patterns. That led me to using the cereal boxes, beer cartons, pretzels… You’ll see lots of Snyder’s pretzels!

Recently, in the process of moving from New York to upstate Michigan, we were going through boxes in our attic.  I found letters that I wrote in the 1960s.

How great! Will those make an appearance soon?

Yeah. I’m slitting them. There are strips of old letters and envelopes. I’m putting them on the blank panels, the ones I start painting on. I’m hoping I’ll get to them while I’m still here (at MASS MoCA). They’re in the middle of a big stack of blanks; I don’t know when I’ll get to them. That’s one of those things that keeps me going!

 The artist’s materials. Can you spot the Future Predictor card deck?

How did you find out you had a sort of “cult” following among the gaming community? Are you into those worlds at all?

No, not at all. I did, years ago, play the old Sim City. I played it a few times and had fun with it but I never even owned a version of it. But on my blog, I can see the sources of the hits. I saw the Reddit thread come up. I read and I thought, “Holy cow! Wow.”

Then there was reference to the Jerry’s Map mod (or modification) of Minecraft. I didn’t know what Minecraft was but my young cousin, who’s eleven, showed me Minecraft last year. And he’s building things, blocks are flying around… Which is what prompted me recently to write a segment on the blog called “Slow Map.” I know you guys are all into things happening instantaneously and (my map) is something that just creeps along.

It’s true. Yet even though your project is so different than virtual world-building, both reflect an innate human desire to build and construct. It’s like Legos and Lincoln Logs when you’re little but on a much, much larger scale. Can you speak at all to the pleasure in creating your own world?

I’ve met other map-makers in this process and I’ve heard them say… it’s an escape to create something, to build something. I’m a big time gardener when I’m out at the farm. And that’s the same process. Put a seed in the ground, water it, watch it grow. That’s so human, I think. It’s been built into us through the millennia.

We encourage visitors to take pictures of the exhibit! Share your best shots with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (massmoca). #JerrysMap #MASS MoCA

Jerry’s Map will be on display, Oct. 5-14, in the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA. Admission is $5 and FREE for members. 

Posted October 5, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Artist Spotlight, BLOG, Exhibitions, Interns
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Flash Mob for FREE Day

Emily, our superstar performing arts intern, and Tim, whose 100-watt smile you see at Hardware everyday, talk about how they teamed up to bring a day full of dance to FREE Day, which took place on February 11, 2012.

REHEARSAL

We spent a few days during the weeks leading up to FREE Day using the rehearsal hall space, listening to 80s music and coming up with an arsenal of funky dance moves to put together in a sequence that would be both visually appealing and easy to pick up. We had a lot of fun goofing around in the studio and perfecting classic dance steps like the cabbage patch, the running man, and the Molly Ringwald. Check out our rehearsal video here.

DANCE CLASS

On FREE Day, we taught lots of different people—toddlers, college students, grandmas, ballerinas, and football players alike—the dance we created. We taught about 20 people in each of our classes throughout the day. We danced Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), because it was upbeat, light-hearted, and makes you want to move! We also asked the people who took our dance class to dance with us later in the afternoon, as part of a surprise flash mob in the galleries. Check out our dance class video here.

FLASH MOB

Our dancers milled about through The Workers: Precarity, Invisibility, Mobility exhibit, blending in with unsuspecting, art-viewing patrons. Suddenly, Michael Jackson music started playing through the galleries, and spontaneous dancing broke out! We definitely surprised a bunch of patrons who got caught in the middle of the flash mob. There was a lot of talent, but the best movers were by far were the 2 little nuggets (they must have only been 3 or 4 years old) decked out in pastels and mermaid gear from Kidspace who got their groove on right in the middle of the flash mob! Check out our flash mob video here.

PRE-SHOW DANCE INSTRUCTION                          

To end the night, we taught a dance class on the Hunter Center stage, immediately before Gordon Voidwell and his band played some rockin’ music for a psychedelic 80′s synth funk dance party. We wore headset microphones (affectionately called the Madonna mics in the performing arts department – check out the photo below, taken backstage!) to broadcast our voices to the crowd on the dance floor. Since we faced the crowd in the Hunter Center, dance instruction was trickier because we had to reverse all of our instructions so that the audience could mirror our movements.

FREE Day 2012 was so much fun—music, dance, theatre, art-making activities, a mermaid parade, face painting, a hilarious photobooth, and great deals at Hardware! We were psyched to get to collaborate with the community and with each other. We can’t wait for you to come back to hang out next year and dance with the two of us at FREE Day 2013! - Emily and Tim

Posted February 17, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance, Dance Parties, Free Day, Hardware, Interns, The Workers, Uncategorized
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Stepping into the Spotlight

 
Our performing arts intern Emily shares her experience of curating an Alt Cabaret show. See the show for yourself on Saturday, January 21, 2012, at 8:00 pm, and dance with us for free during the community workshop on the same day at 2:00 pm!

 

As the 2011/2012 performing arts administration intern, a position that is grant-funded by the Tin Man Fund, I get to curate my very own show… and I can’t believe how quickly the date is approaching! When I started my job at MASS MoCA seven months ago, I had no idea how much work (and joy!) would go into booking, planning, and finally bringing the stunning modern-Irish steppers of Darrah Carr Dance to the museum:

1. RESEARCH: Before I could book a performing artist, I needed to figure out what my interests were. What was I passionate about? What did I want to see more of in the Berkshires? As a recent grad of Connecticut College (go camels!) with a double major in Human Development and Dance, I immediately knew that I wanted to bring accessible and innovative modern dance to MASS MoCA. My Human Development interest in communities and education also fueled my desire to curate dance that could interact with the public, possibly through a workshop of some kind. I spent a few days in NYC visiting our performing arts curatorial team and researching dance companies that appealed to my interests and to MASS MoCA’s audience. In the end, I decided on Darrah Carr Dance – Darrah blends traditional Irish step dancing with modern dance vocabulary and techniques, and also has a developed educational outreach program, so she was a perfect fit.

2. MAKING THE DEAL: Next, I reached out to Darrah, to see if she wanted to partner with MASS MoCA – she did! I drafted an offer letter outlining the basics such as show date, compensation, and travel arrangements for Darrah, the curatorial team, and my cool boss Sue (Manager of Performing Arts + Film) to sign… and voila! We were set to do a show together. That meant that Darrah and I had lots and lots of questions for each other. I wanted to know about which dance pieces she might bring, who her audience was, and the specifics of her community programs. She wanted to learn about the size of the performance space, our tech capabilities, and if our hotel served continental breakfast! Darrah and I were (and still are) in constant phone and email contact to iron out all of the details that go into producing a show. We eventually both signed a much more in-depth contract together, so that all the details we discussed on the phone and via email are put into one organized document.

3. SPREADING THE WORD: I was excited about the performance, Darrah was excited about the performance, so then it was time to get everyone else excited about the performance! Under the guidance of Katherine, our amazing Director of Marketing, we started spreading the news about Darrah’s performance. Our talented graphic designers printed beautiful posters, the super marketing intern Cora put up flyers all over the Berkshires, and Keifer down in the Box Office enthusiastically plugged the show to all incoming patrons. We also created advertised on many types of social media, contacted local professors of dance or Irish culture, reached out to Irish dance academies all over New England, and asked a few newspaper and radio stations to give us a shout-out. Getting butts in seats is important for obvious reasons (we want MASS MoCA to always have the funds to showcase inspiring performances in the future!), but it’s also important because Darrah and I want to share our passion for dance with as many friends as possible. 

4. BEHIND THE SCENES: I can’t even express how much  backstage work went into producing this performing arts show! First, there were a billion technical aspects that need to be prepared; luckily I had the hilarious duo of Eric and Eric, who keep the Production department running smoothly, to help me through it. Together we decided on a seating set-up, a one-of-a-kind stage plot, ad-hoc wing space, necessary lighting and sound equipment… the list goes on and on. With Meg (Company Manager and, more importantly, my MASS MoCA Mom), I arranged all the artist services components of the show. I booked hotel reservations, organized meal plans, and prepared the dressing rooms. I also organized ushers, planned house management, and wrote the program with the help of Court, who coordinates volunteers and coordinates front of house during performances.

CURTAIN CALL: And now, finally (finally!), the show is looming only a few days in the distance – soon, Darrah Carr Dance will be at MASS MoCA in the flesh (the shuffle-ball-changing, pirouetting, flying leaping dancing flesh)! I’ll have a busy day helping Darrah and her dancers with their arrival, community dance workshop, tech and dress rehearsals, and the evening performance, and I absolutely can’t wait. Curating my own show was a huge undertaking that opened my eyes to just how much effort and how many people it takes to produce a performance. I am so, so thankful for all the generous, cooperative, wacky-wise-wonderful friends who helped me pull this off. Darrah, Sue, Katherine, Keifer, Eric & Eric, Meg, Court, and everyone else who was involved: you guys are the bee’s knees.

Come see what we’ve all been working so hard on – Darrah Carr Dance at MASS MoCA on Saturday, January 21 (free workshop at 2:00 pm/ticketed performance at 8:00 pm)! Call the Box Office at 413.664.4481 for more information.

See you there! Love, Emily

 

Posted January 13, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Alternative Cabaret, BLOG, Dance, Darrah Carr Dance, Interns
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Minding the Kids

Our terrific Kidspace intern Amanda contributes this blog about her experience here since September:

It was hard to imagine six months ago, during the stress of final exams and scrambling for post-graduation plans, that my first full-time gig as a college graduate would have turned out to be so relaxing. Especially when I was looking only at jobs that involved working with kids.

But here I am, listening to ocean sounds all day long at my desk. And I’ve been meditating more often in this past month than I have in my entire life. Did I mention that this counts as work? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted November 8, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Interns, Kidspace, Museum Education
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The good, the amazing, the M.Ward fiasco… Summer 2011

On her last day our wonderful marketing intern Kathryn offers these reflections on her summer at MASS MoCA.

Family dinner

 

The summer is coming to a close, and I cannot believe how fast my time at MASS MoCA came and went. I still feel like I just sat down at my desk for the first time, with a lovely note from the previous intern Marissa. Yet, in reality I’ve experienced a ton of new things, seen some amazing art and performances, and best of all, I’ve met some truly incredible people (especially my fellow Summer Interns of 2011: Porkshire Edition) Read the rest of this entry »

Posted August 25, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Interns, Nari Ward: Sub Mirage Lignum, North Adams, Staff, Wilco Solid Sound Festival
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