MASS MoCA Summer 2023
Exhibitions and Programming
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 05, 2023
MASS MoCA announces Summer 2023 programming including the exhibitions Joseph Grigely: In What Way Wham? (White Noise and Other Works, 1996-2023), on view beginning May 28, Anne Samat: Love, on view beginning June 24, and Elle Pérez: Intimacies, on view beginning July 22. Grigely’s exhibition uses handwritten notes and fractured language to explore deafness, disability, and the perception of sound as visual media. Samat’s Kidspace exhibition mixes traditional weavings with household goods to create totems of devotion. Pérez’ photographs capture intimacy between friends, lovers, bodies, and nature in a solo exhibition filled with vitality and vulnerability.
Additional programming highlights include Side by Side by Maggie Crane (May 13), Phony Ppl (May 27), Rina Sawayama (June 9), a Juneteenth weekend celebration concert with Raiche presented by the Berkshire Black Economic Council (June 17), Oscar Jerome (July 1), BLKBOK (July 15), Danielle Ponder (August 18), Pixies & Modest Mouse with special guest Cat Power (August 26), and the return of our beloved Bang on a Can: LOUD Weekend (July 27-29). The Chalet, MASS MoCA’s intimate riverside beer garden, reopens in June with free evening concerts from local musicians. The launch of the new Research & Development Store (Week of July 24) combining gallery and retail space with a model of public programming advancing and supporting MASS MoCA's creative impact and mission.
Ticketed events go on sale to MASS MoCA members beginning Wednesday, April 5, at 12pm. General tickets go on sale beginning Friday, April 7, at 12pm.
MASS MoCA is open Wednesdays–Mondays, 10am–5pm through May 22; Wednesdays–Mondays, 10am–6pm beginning May 24.
Joseph Grigely: In What Way Wham? (White Noise and other works, 1996-2023) | On view beginning May 28
Joseph Grigely’s In What Way Wham? (White Noise and other works, 1996-2023) focuses on deafness and disability, and the perception of sound as visual media. In the mid-1990s Grigely, who has been deaf since the age of 10, began amassing handwritten notes passed to him by people who do not know sign language. Since then, he has gathered an archive of over 30,000 of these notepapers. At MASS MoCA, Grigely’s installation, titled White Noise, consists of two monumental rooms covered floor to ceiling with these notes. Along with White Noise, the exhibition investigates Grigely's interest in archives, language, and the missteps of communication. Grigely’s exhibition asks us to contemplate communication, the formal and informal qualities of language, and about what would happen if the world were rendered inaudible.
This project has been supported by the Krakow Witkin Gallery, Boston, and the UP Initiative.
Anne Samat: Love | On view beginning June 24
Anne Samat, a Malaysian artist from Kuala Lumpur, spreads inspiring reminders that we are surrounded by love and compassion. In her solo Kidspace exhibition, the artist adorns traditional Southeast Asian Pua Kumbu weavings with humble household goods from 99 cent stores and thrift shops to construct totemic figurative sculptures. Brightly colored and heavily detailed, each one resonates as an avatar of a family member or friend. Samat’s work is dedicated to the feeling of love—found in personal relationships, in past generations that paved the way for her, and in potential feelings that could exist among strangers.
Elle Pérez: Intimacies | On view beginning July 22
“Photography is an act of love.” This statement by photographer and critic Hervé Guibert is well illustrated in the subtle but striking work of the Bronx-born Puerto Rican photographer Elle Pérez. Pérez has become known for photographs that capture with a unique sense of ease the intimacy between friends, lovers, bodies, and nature—as well as the intimate relationship between photographer and subject. Pérez works with the Muay Thai, queer, and artist communities that are part of their daily life. Though their photographs are often mistaken for documentary images, Pérez collaborates with their subjects, using the deep trust that exists to produce images that exude openness and vulnerability.
Assets for Artists Summer Artist Workshops | May–September
The Assets for Artists program continues this summer with a slate of brand new professional development workshops for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut artists to improve the business elements of their creative practice. New workshops on grant writing, designing your own wellness plan, and becoming a teaching artist will be among the offerings, along with favorites like "Taxes for Artists" with Amy Smith and "Crowdfunding for Artist Projects" with Laura Christensen.
Side By Side by Maggie Crane | Saturday, May 13, 8pm
Can you ever be as cool as your older brother? Not when he has a purple sparkly wheelchair and everyone’s attention. Berkshires-born and raised comedian Maggie Crane’s darkly hilarious solo show is part stand-up special, part autobiographical confessional of growing up amidst disability, death, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Tickets start at $22.
Member Preview & Celebration: Joseph Grigely, Daniel Giordano, Carrie Schneider, & to see oneself at a distance | Saturday, May 27, 6pm
Join us—and many of the artists—for an exclusive member preview of Joseph Grigely: In What Way Wham? (White Noise and other works, 1996–2023) and a celebration of the recently opened exhibitions Daniel Giordano: Love from Vicki Island, Carrie Schneider: Sphinx, and to see oneself at a distance. Free for members; $10 for nonmembers.
Phony Ppl | Saturday, May 27, 8pm
The Brooklyn-based 5-piece Phony Ppl welcomes in our summer season with a free-flowing, genre-bending party of sound that will keep you on the dance floor all night. Classically trained but steeped in funk vibes, the band has performed with the likes of Erykah Badu, The Roots, and Jill Scott, blowing minds and spreading joy wherever they play with their infectious mix of hip-hop, jazz, R&B, reggae, soul, and rock. Tickets start at $25.
The Celestials | Thursday, June 8, 7pm
Did you know that North Adams was once home to the second largest Chinese population east of the Mississippi? This play reading of The Celestials transports us to 1870 as seventy-five Chinese laborers—and unwitting strikebreakers—arrive in this bustling factory town. A tale of labor, love, immigration, and community, Peter Glazer’s theatrical adaptation of Williamstown author Karen Shepard’s mesmerizing novel (inspired by the same history as MASS MoCA’s 2008 exhibition The Nanjing Particles, by Simon Starling), The Celestials shines a light on a little known, yet startling familiar moment of our city’s history. Tickets are $10.
Rina Sawayama | Friday, June 9, 7pm
The Japanese-British pop savant Rina Sawayama has exploded into our collective consciousness with a sound, look, and spectacular live show that leaves audiences swooning. Starring opposite Keanu Reeves in the new John Wick 4 and with high-profile festival appearances coming up at Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, Lollapalooza Berlin, and more, she seems to be everywhere—including our Courtyard D stage! Get your tickets early for this one, or suffer regret. Tickets start at $45.
McQueen Adams | Saturday, June 10, 8pm
Come be part of the magic as electro-comic and Berkshire-native McQueen Adams (Comedy Central, Funny or Die) takes the stage to film his new special BLACK CAT. Performing as BLACK CAT, complete with custom headdress from Alterian (Daft Punk), and joined by a group of misfit characters, McQueen mixes synth-wave music, comedy, and incredible visuals for a wholly unique show where the delight of Mr. Rogers meets the bizarro glee of Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Tickets start at $22.
Raiche presented by the Berkshire Black Economic Council | Saturday, June 17
The Berkshire Black Economic Council (BBEC) invites you to celebrate Juneteenth weekend at MASS MoCA with a special homecoming performance by singer-songwriter Raiche. Soul-pop star and Berkshire County native, Raiche returns home for a musical weekend of celebration and dance. You won’t want to miss the chance to experience her unique and distinctive sound in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. Check back in May for more details and to snag a ticket.
Member Preview: Anne Samat: Love | Friday, June 23, 6–8pm
Join us and the artist, Anne Samat, for a preview of the newest Kidspace exhibition Anne Samat: Love. Bring the family and be the first to see the new exhibition with ArtBar activities and a small reception. Free for members; $8 for nonmembers.
The Chalet | Thursdays, June 29–August 31, 6–10pm
Our summer fun spot promises frothy beverages, riverside regulars, and friendly new faces when we fire up The Chalet, Oh, Canada artist Dean Baldwin’s-sculpture-turned-river-side-beer-garden for just one night each week. Summer’s most precious memories happen here— in the midst of the museum, to the hum of local music, under the Berkshire stars. The featured performers will be released on a rolling basis. Free for all.
Oscar Jerome | Saturday, July 1, 8pm
Bursting out of the fertile London jazz-soul-fusion scene that includes friends and musical collaborators like Ezra Collective, Sons of Kemet, Lianne La Havas, and Kokoroko, guitarist and singer-songwriter Oscar Jerome is turning heads with his dazzling playing and engaging vocals.Tickets start at $22.
Open Studios at MASS MoCA | July 6, August 3, September 14, 5–7pm
Mark your calendars for this season’s Open Studios at MASS MoCA and get to know the current artists-in-residence! Each event will take place from 5–7pm in Building 13 + Building 34. Bring your friends—the snacks and drinks will be on us. Free for all.
Bang on a Can: Gallery Concerts | July 11–27
Leading up to a LOUD Weekend finale, Bang on a Can fellows and faculty let loose throughout the galleries. Join us for some of today's most exciting new music performed on most weekdays at 1:30pm and 4:30pm. Free with museum admission.
BLKBOK | Saturday, July 15, 8pm
The pianist and former child prodigy BLKBOK (pronounced “Black Bach”) was born and raised in Detroit and used his classical training as a springboard through the worlds of pop and hip-hop, music directing and playing in the bands of artists like Justin Timberlake and Rihanna. His acclaimed debut solo recording, Black Book, is a modern masterpiece; live in concert, he places his solo compositions into cultural context with spoken word/poetry intros. Tickets start at $22.
The Research & Development Store | Week of July 24
Join us for a soft opening of The Research & Development Store at MASS MoCA with a week’s worth of special events including artist and author signings, exclusive products, giveaways, and a bevy of meet-and-greet opportunities. The new R&D Store combines gallery and retail space focused on exhibiting, producing, and procuring affordable contemporary artist editions and books of the highest quality. The R&D Store will host author events, book and record launches, and intimate performances allowing for nimble models of public programming that advances and supports MASS MoCA's creative impact and mission. Events are free for all.
Bang on a Can: LOUD Weekend | July 27–29
Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA present the annual LOUD Weekend, a fully loaded, three-day, eclectic super-mix of creative, experimental, and unusual music. Featuring the Kronos Quartet—celebrating 50 years of virtuosic strings—Love in Exile (Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, Shahzad Ismaily), Ensemble Klang, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Paola Prestini’s House of Zodiac performed by Jeffrey Zeigler with films by Murat Eyuboglu, Tarta Relena, and more to come. Tickets start at $129.
Isaac Fitzgerald: Dirtbag, Massachusetts | Thursday, August 3, 6pm
Isaac Fitzgerald stops by the R&D Store to discuss his memoir Dirtbag, Massachusetts, a tale which recounts the author’s ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to smuggling medical supplies into Burma, Fitzgerald’s memoir-in-essays strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others. Free for all.
Kerri Schlottman: Tell Me One Thing | Thursday, August 10, 6pm
Kerri Schlottman joins us to discuss her latest book, Tell Me One Thing. A portrait of two Americas, the book examines power, privilege, and the sacrifices one is willing to make to succeed. Traveling through the 1980s to the present day, it delves into New York City’s free-for-all grittiness while exposing a neglected slice of the struggling rust belt. Free for all.
Danielle Ponder | Friday, August 18, 8pm
Danielle Ponder’s mesmerizing eight song debut Some of Us Are Brave, three years in the making, was a leap of faith: she left her job in the public defender’s office in her hometown of Rochester, NY to make it—and the world is glad she did. Her sound is a refreshingly original, shiver-inducing mix of pop, R&B, blues, rock, and moody trip-hop topped by Ponder’s celestial voice—an instrument that can plumb melancholy depths with a heartsick murmur and scrape the sky with hurricane-force wails. Tickets start at $25.
Roomful of Teeth, Pamela Z, & The Living Earth Show: The Impossible Building | Thursday, August 17, 8pm
Grammy-winning vocal titans Roomful of Teeth return to their summer home at MASS MoCA to present a work-in-progress performance of a new concert-length work by composer/performer and media artist, Pamela Z. Using live sampling, gesture control, and images of (impossible and possible) spaces, Z, Roomful of Teeth and San Francisco based electric guitar/percussion duo The Living Earth Show will draft, build, demolish, and renovate a series of real and imaginary sonic and visual worlds. Using a signature approach of her compositional practice, Ms. Z will incorporate speech fragments—taken from interviews with architects, dwellers, workers, and the ensemble members themselves—as sonic building blocks for the harmonic and melodic motifs and the structural foundation of the piece. Tickets start at $25.
Pixies & Modest Mouse with special guest Cat Power | Saturday, August 26, 7pm
Summer’s end just got sweeter. Alt-rockers (and Massachusetts natives) Pixies join forces with garage-rockers Modest Mouse for an epic sundown show, with support from indie innovator Cat Power. Get ready to rock on Joe’s Field, and grab your tickets early for this killer bill. Tickets start at $75.
Holly Lynton: Bare Handed | Thursday, August 31, 6pm
Join Senior Curator Susan Cross for a conversation with American photographer Holly Lynton. Lynton's first book, Bare Handed presents a nuanced portrait of rural life in 21st-century America. Free for all.