July 13, 2016 - MASS MoCA - 2016 exhibitions
July 13, 2016

MASS MoCA

Alex Da Corte, Lightning, 2015-16. Courtesy of the artist and Luxembourg & Dayan.

2016 exhibitions

MASS MoCA
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Alex Da Corte: Free Roses
On view throuh January 2017

The New York Times dives into the immersive world and “riotous post-post-Pop sensibility” of Alex Da Corte, who transforms MASS MoCA’s galleries with videos, sculptures, and a colorful, carpeted and tiled, neon-lit environment that, in Randy Kennedy’s words, “moves beyond kitsch and Pop irony into a kind of late-capitalist sublime that can be ravishing and terrifying at the same time.” Sebastian Smee of The Boston Globe echoes this sentiment: “Da Corte’s feeling for form and color, and his ability to squeeze a nonchalant poetry out of the most banal-seeming objects, is spellbinding.”

Provocative, puzzling, and visually seductive, in his first museum survey organized by MASS MoCA curator Susan Cross, Alex Da Corte’s exuberant, eccentric works merge the sophisticated languages of abstraction and modern design with banal, off-brand consumer products, ranging from shampoo and soda to plastic tchotchkes and household cleaning supplies. Cartoon-hued and organized with a rigorous formal logic, Da Corte’s mash-ups mine the objects of consumer culture—which he finds on pilgrimages to supermarkets, flea markets, and dollar stores—for their visual appeal as well as their emotional and libidinous power.

Heir to Pop artists of the 1960s and appropriation artists of the 1980s and ‘90s, Da Corte combines the seduction of retail display with cinematic narratives, personal family memories—and other artists’ works—in vibrant installations that plumb the ecstasies and anxieties of desire. Taking over MASS MoCA’s second-floor galleries, Free Roses features a selection of works made over the last ten years, as well as a major new installation, which serves as a conceptual fulcrum for the entire show.
 

Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder
On view through April 2017

MASS MoCA curator Denise Markonish, whom The Boston Globe’s critic Sebastian Smee names “one of the most audacious contemporary curators in the country,” remarks, “a true state of wonder agitates, mesmerizes, and is almost forcible and shocking. It is a sudden intake of breath, a gaping mouth, a relinquishing of understanding.” As commonly used, “wonder” is sometimes mistaken for curiosity, which centers on the practice of fact-finding and explanation. In Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, viewers experience a purer state of wonder, a state of being poised between knowing and not knowing, and defined by an experience of something truly new.

The exhibition’s title was inspired by the writer Ray Bradbury, who often spoke of the need to retain a sense of wonder: “You remain invested in your inner child by exploding every day. You don’t worry about the future, you don’t worry about the past—you just explode.” Explode Every Day does just that. About the exhibit, Smee professes, “it is truly refreshing to feel oneself in the hands of a curator, and artists, who, instead of seeking to educate, edify, or otherwise improve us, are palpably out to enthrall us.”

The sprawling exhibition features: Jonathan Allen, Jen Bervin, Jason de Haan, Tristan Duke, Sharon Ellis, Tom Friedman, Christopher Gausby, Hope Ginsburg, Laurent Grasso, Pierre Huyghe, Institute For Figuring, Nina Katchadourian, Michael Light, Charles Lindsay, Megan and Murray McMillan, Ryan and Trevor Oakes, Demetrius Oliver, Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Dario Robleto, Rachel Sussman, Julianne Swartz, Chris Taylor, and Fred Tomaselli. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue published by DelMonico Books/Prestel. The publication, available in August, features contributions by Denise Markonish, Sean Foley, Sam Green, Steven Holmes, Robin Ince, Kay Redfield Jamison, Maria Popova, Mary Ruefle, Stefan Sagmeister, Barbara Maria Stafford, Jill Tarter, and Lawrence Weschler.


Nick Cave: Until
On view October 16, 2016

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