Friday, September 01, 2017

Nick Cave - "Until" at MASS MoCA 2016-2017

It's almost time for Nick Cave's Until to be dismantled from football-field-sized Building 5 at Massive MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. The installation and dismantling of this incredible exhibit are as impressive to me as the actual piece itself.

And here it is:

A gentleman is visible in the lower-right, for scale.

According to The Boston Globe, Cave's installation features 16,000 wind spinners, 24 chandeliers, 10 miles of crystals 13 gilded pigs, thousands of ceramic birds, fruits, and animals, 17 cast-iron lawn jockeys and millions of plastic pony beads.

Closeup of a wind-spinner, featuring a die-cut revolver. Other spinners feature tears and targets.

In the center of the gallery, a former textile and electronics factory, is a vision of heaven made from crystals, chandeliers, ceramic knick-knacks, and seemingly everything that my Grandma Tocha ever hoarded during her long life.

If you're over age 12, you can climb up one of the ladders and see what's up there.

It's scary up there, and secret-garden-like, if the garden was made from the inside of someone's fevered mind. The lawn jockeys, once-demeaning caricatures planted in the front yards of U.S. homes, may have had a dual purpose, signalling safe houses on the underground railroad. On this floating island, they're holding dream-catchers made from twine and badminton rackets.

We live in a world jam-packed with stuff, with abundance beyond human imagining. What lives in the heaven of our minds? Cave thought to ask the question, "Is there racism in heaven?" A question that makes me bow my head in sadness.

And what does this grandma's parlor of a heaven make of our world below?

Ceramic birds survey our whirling human-made violent nature.

A corridor of beaded tarps continue the installation.

From a distance they look like woven rope.

But they're beaded. Here are the millions of pony beads.

So many beads


You can survey the entirety of Until from more than one mezzanine level in MASS MoCA's surreal industrial layout.

And finally, at the end of the gallery, a cascade of Mylar strips, billowing from a rack of oversized industrial-strength fans. Jackson's footage of this shiny, rustling coda is at the end of this one-minute film below:

Nick Cave "Until" - MASS MoCA, September, 2017 from Miss Lisa on Vimeo.

There's a video-installation room made up of staring eyes and a hint of Cave's soundsuit output—the surreal identity-erasing costumes he's known for (see below).

Until ends September 4th. I will never forget it. Cave readjusts our vision of the world where everything is recognizable yet drastically altered. If you ever get a chance, have yourself a Nick Cave experience.

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