Marc Ribot & Silent Film


Nominated for the Jazz Journalist Association’s Guitarist of this year, Marc Ribot, American guitarist and composer, has developed a career which defines the concept of independent musicians. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Marc Ribot moved just across the Hudson River that little town New York City in 1978 during his mid 20s. After playing in a few bands, such as John Lurie’s jazz assembly The Lounge Lizards during the 80s, Ribot began working alongside of some impressive folks, such as Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, and a familiar face to MASS MoCA, Nels Cline (Member of the band Wilco, the curators of our Solid Sound Music Festival) Working with international artists, Ribot has toured globally, put out 19 albums, and explored multiple areas of music, from avant-guard Jazz to Cuban sounds.

With having said all of that, proving his accomplishments on paper (or rather on a web log) actually doesn’t matter. The music speaks for itself. Ribot’s 2010 “Silent films” album is unique, ambient at times, powerful at others, and holds a sense of charm. Paired with the Charlie Chaplin classic, The Kid, Ribot’s media collaboration allows for a special connection of music and film, and certainly a very big nod to the historic progression of both genres.

On Saturday, July 9th, at 9:00 MASS MoCA will be showing The Kid, with Marc Ribot performing his film score live in our outdoor Courtyard C, and we can’t think of a better way to spend a warm summer evening.

Photo credit: Ziga Koritnik

Posted July 7, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Film, Film+Live Music, Music
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MASS MoCA and The Wassaic Project


Curator Susan Cross on the  Wassaic Project:

Our neighbors from down the street in Wassaic were here at MASS MoCA for the  Solid Sound Festival.  If you aren’t already familiar with The Wassaic Project (run by three Williams College grads: Eve Biddle, Bowie Zunino, and Jeff Barnett-Winsby), we hope you had the chance to learn more about this exciting arts organization.

Located in a sprawling agricultural complex in the hamlet of Wassaic, New York (located off Route 22 right near the Metro North train line), this artist-run space hosts an international residency program (with studios in the gorgeous Luther Barn – see above photo) and features art exhibitions and works by their artists-in-residence in the towering grain elevators of the former Maxon Mills (photo below).  Their annual music and arts festival drew over 2000 fans in its second year in 2009, and this year the festival (August 5th-7th) will include 100 artists, 25 bands, poetry readings, dance performances, film screenings, and more.

The Wassaic Project offers artists and audiences a unique setting for making and engaging with art while working to save the historic buildings of Wassaic and engage with the local community. And admission to their exhibitions and the festival is FREE! (Donations welcome).

Their vision and energy are inspiring, and we love to think of them as a sister institution.

For Solid Sound, The Wassaic Project partnered with the Bureau for Open Culture to bring artists Breanne Trammell and her kite-making workshop as well as Jen-N-Outlaws Fish Fry Truck and Crawfish Boil to MASS MoCA.

The Wassaic Project is having a fundraiser on July 9th from 5:00 to 8:00pm. I’ll be making remarks to celebrate the great work the Wassaic Project is doing at 6 PM.

Posted July 6, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Bureau for Open Culture: I Am Searching for Field Character, Wilco Solid Sound Festival
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Get ready for ReadNex: Interview with FreeFlowin

This Saturday, July 2nd, ReadNex poetry squad will be taking over MASS MoCA’s Courtyard C, bringing an electrifying Hip Hop Dance Party. Just to give you a run-down on who these awesome party-throwers are, ReadNex consists of DJ H20, and four poets, Decora, FreeFlowin, Jarabe Del Sol and Latin Translator. Forming in 2001, the members met during an open-mic night at Middletown’s Orange County Community College, and have continued to jam since then. While focusing on creating verses and beats that revolve around social change, education and confidence, the group matches their message with a thrilling dance party. But that’s not all folks…the group also facilitates workshops for youth empowerment, using hip-hop and poetry to address issues such as race, gender, injustice, and poverty.

Although they have been hitting the road lately (or airplanes for that matter) the group member, FreeFlowin was kind enough to take some time during the squad’s recent tour in London, to answer some questions for us:

MM: Chronogram Magazine described your group as “…an out-and-out activist machine…” Could you talk about your major influences, both musically and in terms of activism?

FF: We are influenced by a variety of sources. Life and experience is our greatest influence. There are too many people to list as far as influences go but to name a few they would have to be: Michael Jackson, Ghandi, Bob Marley, Nina Simone and Audrey Lorde.

MM: I understand that workshops, such as “Hip Hop and Poetry Saved My Life” are a major part of your mission. Was that something the group always wanted to do from the beginning of the formation, and how did these workshops develop over time?

FF: When we formed the group our main goal was to Perform in as many places possible. However, our main goal has been evolving and expanding since the inception of the group. After several years of performing at open mics, clubs and colleges we began to get approached by middle schools and high schools to perform for their youth. These performances later grew into lectures/ open forum discussions and these became the core elements of our workshop.

MM: In your 2010 Chronogram interview, you mentioned one of the elements of Hip Hop is Graffiti; do you combine that artistic genre or other types of visual arts in some of your performances?

FF: We don’t personally create visual art at our performances but we never turn down the opportunity to feature visual artists during our live performances. In fact at as many shows as possible we try to involve as many of the five elements that we can.

MM: During the Hudson Valley Clearwater Festival in 2009, your squad teamed up with Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, American Folk singer Pete Seeger’s grandson, which seems like a unique and inspiring combination. Have you done collaborations like that before or plan to do more in the future?

FF: We love rocking with Tao Seeger and his band and since that show we have performed with them on numerous occasions and he is even on our latest album. Song number 8 America Bolivariana the reflection of Self Revolution is an example if the fusion of genres with Tao Seeger. Interestingly enough that was not the first time we collaborated with folk music. In 2008 we were in Whitesburg Kentucky where we had the honor to jam with some really dope folk musicians. We love all genres of music so any opportunity to perform or collaborate on a project with different artist we jump on it.

MM: For this MASS MoCA event, you will be featuring a Hip Hop dance party; can you give our readers some insight into what they should expect?

FF: They should expect to dance until their legs fall off literally!!!!!


…So, you heard it from the group themselves, get ready to dance all night this Saturday out in one of MASS MoCA’s unique factory courtyards. Tickets are still available, $15 in advance, $19 the day of the show, and only 10 bucks for teens and kids! Doors open at 7, so get here early to get a perfect spot to dance all night.

Posted June 29, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Music, Parties, ReadNex Poetry Squad
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Bon Iver Cover Art in Progress

Gregory Euclide who was in the Badlands exhibition here in 2008 just created work for Bon Iver’s new self titled album, which was released on June 21st. Gregory’s work is also featured on the first single off the album called Calgary (a funny naming coincidence given our upcoming Oh, Canada exhibition). Check out the video of Gregory making the piece.

Posted June 22, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Badlands, BLOG, Music, Work-in-progress
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Behind the scenes at Solid Sound

Here’s the low down on Glenn Kotche’s installation for  Solid Sound from our director Joe Thompson:


I caught MASS MoCA staffer Cody Johnson mounting the first of six speakers to be installed down the 100’ long elevated walkway leading from our lobby to the LeWitt building.  The speakers will be used to create a sound sculpture by Wilco’s magical percussionist Glenn Kotche, for the upcoming Solid Sound ’11 festival.

One of the greatest things about Wilco is the way the band’s aesthetic interests cast such a wide wake, parts of which wash up on MASS MoCA’s shores in felicitous ways.

Guitarist Nels Cline (who just released a fantastic new album with alto saxophonist Tim Berne, and drummer Jim Black) for instance, will be joined by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore in what promises to be a mind-bending set.  Fans who attend the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival here will fondly recall Thurston’s electrifying performance at our 2006 Marathon…which loops me back to Glenn Kotche, who also performs from time to time with Bang on a Can, perhaps not surprisingly, given Glenn’s experimental turn of mind, and his use of intricate, often visually stunning instrumentation. Those of you who attended Solid Sound ‘10 will remember Glenn’s elegant, playable, handiwork placed throughout the LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective, which Jeff Tweedy named inGLENNtions.

This year, using the LeWitt walkway as a sort of sonic preamble for the band’s newest (and still unreleased) work, Glenn will orchestrate audio snapshots sampled from the recording process from the band’s upcoming album.  The result of his “fly-on-the-wall” recordings was a rich collection of overdubs, full band tracking, fragments of meal conversations between band members, pinball games and playbacks.   For the LeWitt walkway installation, Glenn selected six of his favorite recording fragments for each of the six speaker locations.

And then, in Glenn’s own words, “I  used the drumbeat that opens the record as a guide for their arrangement – assigning one recording to each voice of the beat.  The rhythms of each voice determine when tracks are audible or muted.  The result is a collage of behind-the-scene mini-clips of our recording work over the past 11 months. Each speaker has a dedicated collage that loops, going in and out of phase with the other 5 speakers over the course of the festival.”

This is one of a half dozen or so Wilco-specific exhibitions that will be installed June 24-26. Look for it when you come to Solid Sound. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that tickets are still available.

Posted June 14, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Music, Wilco Solid Sound Festival, Work-in-progress
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Flickr Finds: Wilco & Solid Sound

In honor of the upcoming 2011 Solid Sound Festival, (just two weeks away) which will be featuring 20 live bands including the one and only Wilco, we have found some of the best Flickr pictures from last year’s festivities. Along with the sweet music; art, comedy and falconry… yes… falconry, will all be in the mix this year. These photos are just a little reminder on what an amazing experience the weekend was in 2010, and definitely an insight into what you can expect this time around.













For those of you who have waited until the last minute to get your tickets, visit Solid Sound now!

Also, for a new addition to this year, MASS MoCA and the City of North Adams have teamed up and created the Solid Ground Tent Site for overnight stay. Camp out within walking distance of the museum, downtown merchants, restaurants, and of course bars at a totally affordable price. Watch and see:

YouTube Preview Image

So, if you have no place to stay for this awesome weekend, give our Box Office a call for details and reservations, 413. 662 .2111




Posted June 10, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Flickr Finds, Wilco Solid Sound Festival
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