April 28, 2005
MASS MoCA's Newest Artists Discuss Their Work
(North Adams, Mass.)-- Scientists at Shanghai Second Medical University successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs in 2003. In 2004 researchers at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood. Stanford University is working to create mice with human brains by the end of the year. With each passing day the once mythical creatures of H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau come closer to frightening reality. The artists of MASS MoCA's newest exhibit Becoming Animal examine the slippery slope of creating chimeras in their art work as well as in a conversation on Saturday, May 28, at 4 P.M. The talk will feature visual artists Rachel Berwick and Brian Conley, as well as choreographer Liz Lerman, and will take place in the museum's Club B-10. Although the event is free with museum admission, space is limited and reservations are encouraged.
McArthur winner Liz Lerman was last seen in North Adams in June 2004 in her popular site-specific dance piece performed in Ann Hamilton's corpus. Lerman will return to MASS MoCA this summer with a residency to develop a dance piece regarding the mapping of the human genome. Titled Ferocious Beauty: Genome this major new dance suite is a groundbreaking effort to use dance to explore the meaning and potential of new genetic science research on the human condition. Genome is a serious attempt to investigate a plurality of viewpoints on the science, aesthetics, ethics, human choices, and potential of a brave new world that is hurtling toward us. Lerman will report on the work in progress, discuss the challenges of crossing the boundaries between art and science, and share her growing understanding, creativity and inquiry in both fields.
Rachel Berwick's installation Lonesome George features the tortoise of the same name discovered in the Galapagos Islands in 1972, the last known tortoise of his species. On the edge of extinction, and despite the work of scientists, this male tortoise has not successfully mated. Utilizing two video projections, two large triangular sails, and full-scale cast elements from the tortoise shell Berwick's piece animates the tortoise pulling into its shell, and there is an audible exhale as fans inflate the sails, highlighting the fact that Lonesome George has only so many breaths left before extinction.
Brian Conley's Pseudanuran Gigantica (2001) simulates the mating call of a Tungara frog with a large inflatable sculpture connected to a sound system. This immense balloon-like apparatus is triggered by the viewer's physical presence. Taking on the role of the female mate, the audience is serenaded by their male counterpart. Ironically, Pseudanuran Gigantica does not actually mimic a real mating call of any frog. Instead, the interpretation of a frog's vocal cords are actually a by-product of an artist's invention, making this lover's call more human than animal.
Tickets for In Conversation with Lerman, Berwick, and Conley are free with gallery admission but reservations are required and can be made through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113