The first big event of the season is free day on Saturday, February 9. This annual event attracts thousands to MASS MoCA for a full day of art-making, tours, contests, demonstrations, performances, and more. Details will be posted on massmoca.org. The galleries are open from 11 am to 8 pm, and a Psychedelic Latin Dance Party with the band Chicha Libre caps off the day at 8 pm.
After the Jeff Mangum concert on Saturday, February 16, MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center hosts Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal in a co-presentation with Jacob’s Pillow on Saturday, March 2, and Sunday, March 3. This renowned troupe offers a thrilling fusion of dance styles from ballet to street dance, and will perform pieces by Wen Wei Wang, Cayetano Soto, and Barak Marshall.
The presentation is supported in part by the Irene Hunter Fund for Dance at MASS MoCA in association with Jacob’s Pillow.
The high-energy band Balkan Beat Box takes the stage on Saturday, March 16, at 8 pm. The group is known for its Mediterranean-inflected explosive live shows. Plus, electronic composer and indie icon Dan Deacon gets the audience dancing in the Hunter Center on Saturday, April 20, at 8 pm. Deacon offers up his new iPhone/Android app, which concert-goers can download for free before the show. The app turns a cell phone into a source of synchronized light and sound that changes depending on the cell phone’s location within the venue.
The galleries will see three new exhibitions, all curated by Denise Markonish,on view beginning on Saturday, March 23. “Life’s Work: Tom Phillips and Johnny Carrera” originates with the idea of a project that an artist continually goes back to, which simultaneously becomes a trace of that work and a career. Both projects in the exhibition span decades and generations, and also function as reinventions of existing texts. In “Mark Dion: The Octagon Room,” the artist investigates the blurred boundaries between art, society, and history, as well as the homogenized methods of their presentation and consumption. “One Minute Film Festival: 10 Years” celebrates an event that took place annually in a barn in upstate New York from 2003 to 2012. At the festival, one-minute films were screened, many without credits, after a potluck supper and before dancing; the festival stressed relaxed social interaction rather than the competitive nature of many other film festivals. Support for all three exhibitions is provided by a grant from the Artists’ Resource Trust and the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and, in part, by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
The 3-2-1! Celebration on Saturday, April 6, will mark the opening of these three exhibitions as well as the closing of “Oh, Canada.” The 3-2-1! Celebration begins with a cocktail reception in the galleries, which will be followed by a benefit dinner and silent auction in MASS MoCA’s massive Building 5 gallery. The 3-2-1! Celebration culminates with a rollicking dance party in the Hunter Center with special guest DJ King Khan, spinning a mash-up of vintage soul, classic R&B, and wicked funk. Tickets are available for the entire evening or for each event separately. The night is co-sponsored by TD Bank.
Those who venture up to MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 can look forward to new discoveries on Saturday, February 2, with the funky and infectious electronic sounds of the band Superhuman Happiness; on Saturday, February 23, with the catchy beat-driven music (and elaborate illuminated antics) of the band My Robot Friend; on Saturday, March 9, with the singular blues of FreshGrass 2012 favorite Mamie Minch; on Saturday, April 13, with regional superstar band Darlingside; and on Saturday, April 27, with Futurity, a rock opera performed by The Lisps. All new music in Club B-10 is sponsored by the Hans & Kate Morris Fund for New Music.
MASS MoCA’s commitment to nurturing new work by providing artist residencies continues this season, with a residency and work-in-progress dance showing by LeeSaar The Company. On Friday, February 8, the group presents “Grass and Jackals,” a new dance work about the extreme conditions of military life.
Other events on tap include a special Valentine’s Day Date Night on Thursday, February 14. Couples can spend a romantic evening strolling through the museum after hours and enjoying a candlelit dinner from Lickety Split. Parents can leave their children at Kidspace for an evening of art-making activities followed by pizza. Reservations are required in advance.
Families will also enjoy a show for kids with Mamie Minch on Saturday, March 9, at 11:30 am; February vacation art camp in Kidspace; and a series of morning workshops in Kidspace during the week of April school vacation. Space is limited for these events; reservations are strongly recommended in advance.
The Thursday night Cinema Lounge series titled “Compete!” will feature five documentary films about winning, losing, and, most important, playing the game. Screened in Club B-10, drinks and snacks will be available before and during the films. Most of the films will be followed by question and answer sessions with the filmmaker.
The series consists of “The Other Dream Team” on Thursday, January 24; “Brooklyn Castle” on Thursday, February 21; “Kings of Pastry” on Thursday, March 7; “Buzkashi!” on Thursday, April 4; and “The Human Tower” on Thursday, April 25.
Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA box office located off Marshall Street, open from 11 am until 5 pm every day except Tuesdays. Tickets can also be purchased by phone at (413) 662-2111 during box office hours or online at www.massmoca.org.