Mass MoCA: International artists to explore 'shock and awe' of art in new exhibit
NORTH ADAMS — Twenty-three international artists explore the world of wonder this summer at Mass MoCA in an exhibit titled "Explode Every Day: An Inquiry Into the Phenomena of Wonder."
It's an exhibit, Mass MoCA director of communications Jodi Joseph said in an interview, "about curiosity; not just curiosity, but shock and awe, how one feels in (our) spaces, how art interacts with you. I think it summarizes our summer season as a whole; a season that will overwhelm you."
The "overwhelming" begins May 28 with the official opening of the exhibit and a concert at 8 p.m. by the indie rock quartet Luna and continues through mid-September and the three-day FreshGrass Festival, Sept. 16-18, highlighting American roots and bluegrass music. This year's lineup of more than 50 bands includes Old Crow Medicine Show, Glen Hansard, Rosanne Cash, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Devil Makes Three and The Infamous Stringdusters.
In addition to the previously announced concert by The National on June 11, Mass MoCA's summer performance schedule includes appearances by Charles Bradley (Aug. 13), Roomful of Teeth (Aug. 19), Bang on a Can All-Stars and Marathon (July 23 and 30), The Suitcase Junket (June 25), and Rubblebucket (Aug. 27).
There also will be movies with live musical accompaniment and a number of programs for families and children.
"There really is something for everyone," Joseph said.
Among the highlights:
• Luna will be performing with its 1999-era line up — Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, Sean Eden and Lee Wall. "It will be a whole new experience of this band," Joseph said.
• Suitcase Junket is a Northampton-based artist with, Joseph said, "a fantastically eclectic sound and a strong local following. We're hoping this concert will help raise his profile."
• Joseph described the electronica indie dance band, Rubblebucket, as a "fun, creative dance band that is right in our wheelhouse."
• Charles Bradley, she said, "is an old-school, soul revivalist along the lines of James Brown. He is so exceptional at what he does. He puts everything out there in his performance."
Joseph said she expects The National's outdoor concert on Joe's Field, which was announced in December, will be bigger than the concert by Beck, the biggest single-performance event at Mass MoCA thus far.
The Bang on a Can Festival returns July 13-30 for three weeks of contemporary music events in Mass MoCA's galleries and Hunter Center, and nearby Windsor Lake. This year's guest composer is John Luther Adams, whose compositions will be heard in the Bang on a Can Marathon on July 30; an outdoor performance of his "Ten Thousand Birds" on July 28; and his music for percussion on July 29. On July 23, the Bang on a Can All-Stars will perform Brian Eno's "Music for Airports."
North Adams' Harriman Airport will be the setting for a screening of "Around the World in 80 Days" on July 1 but two other movies, both with live musical accompaniment, are on tap at Mass MoCA's Hunter Center — the animated feature "The Triplets of Belleville," accompanied by composer Benoit Charest and his nine-piece Terrible Orchestre de Belleville playing what is described in a Mass MoCA news release as "a hot swing score," July 16; and Buster Keaton's 1924 "Sherlock Jr.," accompanied by BQE Project, Aug. 20.
Among the events for children and families is an exploration of the music of one of the signature figures in American folk music, Lead Belly (Huddie William Ledbetter), in a concert by Dan Zanes on June 18.
Mass MoCA's performances are under the supervision of manager of performing arts, Sue Killam, and curator for performing arts, Rachel Chanoff.
Assembling a season is a complicated process, Joseph said. "FreshGrass alone is a huge machine that needs constant oiling.
"Overall, there are a lot of pieces, new moving parts," she said. "We are bringing a lot of new artists here and this season in particular reflects a focus on diversity. We have several bands, for example, that are fronted by women.
"We want to entertain our audiences, give them a full, interactive experience," Joseph said. "We also want to create a little bit of discomfort. We want to provoke."
• Luna: 8 p.m. May 28
• The National: 7 p.m. June 11
• Dan Zanes' Lead Belly Project: 2 p.m. June 18
• The Suitcase Junket: 8 p.m. June 25
• Movie at the Airport — "Around the World in 80 Days": 8:30 p.m. July 1
• Ghost Train Orchestra: 8 p.m. July 2
• Comedian Joe Pera: 8 p.m. July 9
• Kids Can Too!: 11:30 a.m. July 16
• "The Triplets of Belleville" with Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville: 8:30 p.m. July 16
• Bang on a Can All-Stars play Brian Eno's "Music for Airports": 8 p.m. July 23
• Bang on a Can Marathon: 4 p.m. July 30
• Mariachi Flor de Toloache: 8 p.m. Aug. 6
• Charles Bradley: 8 p.m. Aug. 13
• Roomful of Teeth: 8 p.m. Aug. 19
• Buster Keaton's "Sherlock Jr." with live score by the BQE Project: 8:30 p.m. Aug. 20
• Rubblebucket: 8 p.m. Aug. 27
• Everton Blender: 8 p.m. Sept. 3
• FreshGrass Festival: Sept. 16-18
Tickets on sale beginning 11 a.m. today
How: 413-662-2111, ext. 1 during box office hours; massmoca.org; or at Mass MoCA box office
Box office hours: Through June 24 — 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Tuesday; Beginning June 25 — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday