MASS MoCA: Party Like It’s 15!
By Robert Burke Warren
Since the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, a.k.a. MASS MoCA, opened its doors in 1999, it has garnered a reputation as one of the liveliest arts centers in the country, if not the world. That’s code for “great party museum.” Keeping its reputation intact, the thriving institution, bursting with life in the walls of a sprawling 19th century factory, is throwing a big 15th anniversary shindig, a not-to-be-missed bash, on Saturday, May 24 from 4 p.m. until late. Among other things, the museum promises “funk, fun food, festive spirits, cheap beer, and dazzling new art.” Rest assured, when it comes to creating memorable events, the folks at MASS MoCA know what they’re doing, and the “Celebrate 15 Years” party will be no exception.
Festivities begin with a reception for Brooklyn-based Teresita Fernandez, whose immersive art exhibit, As Above So Below, opens that day. The artist uses natural and manufactured light to create an ever-changing atmospheric landscape, quite a good metaphor, actually for all that is MASS MoCA. The museum galleries will be open until 8 p.m.
Dancing takes over at 7 p.m., with DJ Rekha, and at 8, Brooklyn’s dance-party faves Red Baraat, who describe their music as “a merging of hard driving North Indian bhangra rhythms with elements of jazz, go-go, brass funk, and hip-hop, created with no less a purposeful agenda than manifesting joy and unity in all people.”
But that’s not all. Not by a long shot. If you’ve attended the Museum’s Solid Sound festivals, you know about “pop-up performances.” These can happen at any time, anywhere on the museum grounds. Performers promising appearances include Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion), writer-composer-multimedia artist Cynthia Hopkins, and Paul Simon and Sting’s musical director Mark Stewart, but museum director Joseph Thompson assures us the party will feature a fair share of unscripted surprises. “With so many good friends and terrific performers from our first 15 years, you never know who may show up,” he says. “Expect a rollicking dance party with lots of friends and family returning to MASS MoCA, interesting food trucks and newly concocted drinks, and excellent art and music from stem to stern.”
MASS MoCA’s 15-Year Anniversary Party
$15 members / $30 general admission / $45 gold star supporters receive 15th anniversary schwag
4-6 p.m. Opening reception for Teresita Fernández: As Above So Below
6 p.m. Food trucks and bars (buy your own)
7 p.m. DJ Rekha
8:30 p.m. Red Baraat
10:30 p.m. DJ Rekha
Pop-up performances by special friends
1040 MASS MoCA Way
North Adams, MA