Fall Season Announce - August 15. 2018

Arts and Entertainment

August 20, 2018

From: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art

FreshGrass Festival returns with Flogging Molly, Indigo Girls, Trampled by Turtles, Béla Fleck, Rhiannon Giddens, and local heroes The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow — more than 50 bands in all
 
Angel Olsen, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Decemberists, and Tune-Yards with U.S. Girls are live music stars hitting the stage
 
Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective celebrates year 10 of its 25-year run, with music and stories by Jason Moran, Laurie Anderson, Spencer Finch, Quindar with Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen, and others

Artist Residencies include Sundance Theatre Lab, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Fishing — with Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and actor Jon Hamm

North Adams, Massachusetts — Yes! Jon Hamm makes his North Adams debut in a work-in-progress performance on December 8, in collaboration with Wilco’s Glenn Kotche and choreographer Danielle Agami. We’re not quite sure what it’s about, but we know you’ll want to be here for the music-theater-dance work, which wraps our fall season. The season begins with the 8th annual FreshGrass festival on September 14-16, a rollicking weekend devoted to bluegrass and progressive roots music. In between, Angel Olsen brings her sun-kissed garage rock to our Hunter Center on September 29, The Decemberists perform new music on October 4; the elusive Bonnie “Prince” Billy shares his magic on October 13; Tune-Yards and U.S. Girls fuel a veritable rave on October 30; and an all-day celebration of Sol LeWitt takes over the museum on November 17.

In the galleries

Performers and brave members of the public continue to walk an icy gallery and plunge the arctic waters of Taryn Simon: A Cold Hole + Assembled Audience, riveting crowds who watch from the warmth of an adjacent gallery. Liz Glynn: The Archaeology of Another Possible Future continues in our signature Building 5 gallery, a grid of spatial chapters about commerce in our de-materialized age — including some high off the floor. Spellbinding work by Laurie Anderson, installed this summer, invites us to lean in and listen closely; a provocative sculpture by Titus Kaphar remixes history by placing forgotten figures — those whose liberty was stolen — in plain line of sight; The Lure of the Dark celebrates the night with works featuring everything from Lana Del Ray to Bash Bish Falls; and Allison Janae Hamilton, Etel Adnan, Anish Kapoor, James Turrell, Jenny Holzer, Louise Bourgeois, and many others continue to turn heads throughout the museum’s galleries and brick-lined courtyards.    
 
FreshGrass Festival

The FreshGrass festival (September 14-16) boasts one of the hottest lineups of the Northeast festival scene, tapping into genres ranging from bluegrass and roots to country, soul, and rock ‘n roll. Headlined by Flogging Molly, Indigo Girls, Trampled by Turtles, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Yonder Mountain String Band, Béla Fleck, and The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, the festival features 50+ bands across four stages — and brand-new work debuted by Rhiannon Giddens (formerly of Carolina Chocolate Drops): hear it here first! Main stage gigs are rounded out with musician-led instrument-and-industry workshops (including The Mammals’ “Band in a Box” — like live-band karaoke, bluegrass-style), on-site luthiers, FreshScores (a FreshGrass signature: original music paired with classic silent film), the FreshGrass Award (nurturing the next generation of talent when more than 20 musicians take the stage to compete for $30,000 in cash and prizes), camping, and more. If it’s happening in bluegrass and roots music, you’ll find it here — plus lots of farm-fresh Berkshire food, locally brewed beer, and 250,000 square feet of art. It’s more than a weekend’s worth — but we fit it all in.
 
Main Stage

On the heels of a tightly packed summer of music, Angel Olsen rolls into town along with electro-standout Julianna Barwick on September 29. We’re huge fans of Olsen’s dreamy, warbling voice, her low-fi, brooding instrumentation, and her killer sense of humor — and we’re not the only ones. Pitchfork paints her as a musician with an “extraordinary voice, elegant strokes of wordplay, and a thoughtful, never morbid belief in the finality of death.” Coincidentally, Olsen’s friend and collaborator, the elusive Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, brings his own recipe of enigmatic charm to our stage on October 13. A mystery of the folk-rock world and an iconic underground artist — The New Yorker calls him “one of the country’s most celebrated singer-songwriters” despite the fact that he’s never signed with a label — Bonnie “Prince” Billy is hard to find, easy to love, and impossible to dismiss (even if it’s been years since anyone’s had the chance to see him). It’s a rare opportunity to see this cowboy philosopher and DIY-rocker, so we’ll be on our toes.
 
On October 4, The Decemberists bring more than 16 years of music and knock-out performances to our stage for what’s sure to be a sold-out show. The band is fresh off its eighth studio album, I’ll Be Your Girl, and is sounding stronger than ever since its rescheduled summer performances. Limited tickets available now. Tune-Yards and U.S. Girls round things out on the mainstage with a full-out dance fest on October 30. The two acts hail from the same wordy, weird, and fearlessly fun tribe, and are whizzes at churning out endlessly danceable and inventive indie-pop treats. We invite you to join us for this Halloween-eve thrill — dancefloor included.

LeWitt x10

On November 17, we celebrate the first decade of our 25-year exhibition, Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective, “the most perfect union of contemporary art and architecture in the United States” (Los Angeles Times). We’ll start with a symposium in the morning, continue with family activities, pop-up concerts, and storytelling throughout the day, and end with dinner and a performance by jazz maestro Jason Moran and others such as Quindar with Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen. In between, artists including Laurie Anderson, Spencer Finch, Jeffrey Gibson, Barbara Takenaga, Joe Wardwell, and LeWitt master draftsman John Hogan share stories about — and present research and work inspired by — the father of conceptualism.
 
Live Music up in the Club

Havana native Harold Lopéz-Nussa visits MASS MoCA’s cabaret-style theater, Club B10, on October 6 to offer the full range and richness of Cuban music. With his distinctive combination of classic, folkloric, and popular music taste, as well as his embrace of jazz improvisation and interaction, we expect plenty of cross-cultural hijinks. A whole lot of rhythm rolls around on October 20 when Shareef Keyes & The Groove take the stage in our most intimate venue. Brooklyn-bred Keyes draws equal inspiration from James Brown and Wu-Tang — and, together with his band The Groove, is the life of the party, transporting audiences to the golden era of funk with his high-energy performances. We’ll make lots of room for you to dance.

Film

On October 27 immerse yourself in an eccentric community of actors and their frenzied and loving attempt to stage Chekhov’s play The Seagull in I Am A Seagull. Playfully blending documentary and narrative, this film dissolves boundaries between audience and performer, representation and reality. A folksy set from musicians featured in the film kicks off the screening.
 
Comedy

Chicago City Limits might be the most polished improv group around. Part of New York City’s longest-surviving comedy revue (despite its seeming Midwest misnomer) — with a continuous run of more than 10,000 performances since opening its East Coast theater in 1980 — the group of professional actors has honed its social and political humor to a razor-sharp edge. It’s freestyle comedy, on November 3, just when we might need it the most.
 
Artist Events

Take a deep dive into MASS MoCA’s art this fall with three events led by exhibiting artists, curators, and performers. Acclaimed author Akwaeke Emezi draws us into her debut novel “Freshwater” while exploring the themes it shares with Allison Janae Hamilton’s Pitch: ancestral relationships, ghosts, spirituality, and the mysteries of the self. Join us for a reading followed by conversation with Emezi and Hamilton on October 11. On October 20, tenor Michael Kuhn performs Nacht Und Traüme while surrounded by the moody, moonlit paintings of TM Davy and other artists from The Lure of the Dark. It falls somewhere between recital, dramatic work, and performance art — and is performed entirely from a bed. Taryn Simon discusses the research and histories at the foundation of her two installations on November 8. And on November 29, get to know Etel Adnan better with Elise Chagas, curator of the deeply provocative and soothing A yellow sun A green sun a yellow sun A red sun a blue sun.
 
Residencies

Visitors get a glimpse into the inner workings of the creative process with the three residency programs this fall, which almost always conclude with a work-in-progress performance. On November 10, Arthur Yorinks and Jim Simpson present The Fall of the House of Usher — a spellbinding stage version of Edgar Allan Poe’s masterpiece featuring a score by Philip Glass and replete with puppets, musicians, actors, and projections. Of course, every year we welcome the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab to our campus for a two-week residency, and this year they bring James and Jerome: a live-music story with powerful combinations of acoustic and electronic music. The group arrives late this fall and presents on December 7. And then, on December 8, well, that’s Jon Hamm night in North Adams. Hamm, Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche, and director/choreographer Danielle Agami close out MASS MoCA’s fall/winter season with a ravishing piece of multidisciplinary performance that explores the beautiful, simple absurdity of desire (we’re drooling already).

Season at a glance, by date

Date            

Time

Event

Type

September 14-16

 All weekend

FreshGrass Festival

 Music festival

September 29

 8pm

Angel Olsen + Julianna Barwick

 Live music

October 4

 8pm

The Decemberists

 Live music

October 6

 8pm

Harold Lopéz-Nussa

 Live music

October 11

 6pm

Akwaeke Emezi & Allison Janae Hamilton

 Reading + conversation

October 13

 8pm

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy + The Other Years

 Live music

October 20

 4pm

Nach Und Traüme

 In the galleries

October 20

 8pm

Shareef Keyes & The Groove

 Live music

October 24

 6pm

MASS MoCA in NYC

 Benefit

October 27

 8pm

I Am A Seagull

 Film + live music

October 30

 8pm

Tune-Yards + U.S. Girls

 Live music

November 3

 8pm

Chicago City Limits

 Comedy

November 6

 6pm

Taryn Simon

 Artist talk

November 10

 8pm

The Fall of the House of Usher

 Work-in-progress: Theater

November 17

 All day

LeWitt x10

 Celebration

November 29

 6pm

A Closer Look at Etel Adnan

 Reading + talk

December 7

 8pm

Sundance Theatre Lab

 Work-in-progress: Theater

December 8

 8pm

Fishing

 Work-in-progress: Theater