NORTH ADAMS -- MASS MoCA hosts 3-2-1! A Gala Celebration on April 6 - its first Berkshires-based gala in over four years. The event celebrates the opening of three new exhibitions - Mark Dion: The Octagon Room; One Minute Film Festival: 10 Years; and Life’s Work: Tom Phillips and Johnny Carrera with two festive parties and one gala dinner. It also marks the closing of Oh, Canada, the largest assemblage of art MASS MoCA has ever exhibited. Guests will enjoy cocktails in four galleries and dine beneath Xu Bing’s monumental Phoenix Project, and can boogie at a dance party DJ’d by one of the wildest showmen in underground rock. Throughout the evening, guests will have the chance to bid at a silent auction on museum-quality works of art, including pieces by Sanford Biggers, Moyra Davey, Mark Dion, and Robert Rauschenberg.
All proceeds from the evening support new artwork made at MASS MoCA. Since its inception, MASS MoCA has fostered the creation of more than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the nation for new art.
"In a single evening, guests will enjoy three exhibitions, two parties, and one fabulous dinner," Joseph Thompson, MASS MoCA founding director, said. "We don’t often have parties during mud season in the Berkshires, so when we do, we make them eventful.
The party starts at 5 p.m. with an intimate cocktail party in the galleries of MASS MoCA’s most anticipated new exhibitions, all curated by Denise Markonish:
* Life’s Work: Tom Phillips and Johnny Carrera explores the idea of returning to an artistic work many times over the span of one’s life. For more than forty years, British artist Tom Phillips has been working on A Humument, a series of collages pasted over A Human Document, the otherwise-forgotten Victorian novel by W. H. Mallock. Phillips leaves some of the original text intact, ultimately yielding a text-poem that has been described as "one of the most winning and witty artistic experiments of recent times." Both his first edition, completed in 1973, and his fifth edition, completed in 2012, will be on display. Similarly, artist Johnny Carrera’s project begins with an existing book - the original engravings of the Webster’s Dictionary combined in ways that give rise to new ideas. Carrera’s The Pictorial Webster’s Dictionary transforms the original source to include a new lexicon of words, texts and meanings. Together, both these works consider how meanings and artists change over time, as well as the nature of time itself.
* One Minute Film Festival: 2003-2012, organized and hosted by artists Moyra Davey and Jason Simon, commemorates an annual event that took place in a barn in upstate New York. Each year from 2003 to 2012, Davey and Simon curated a film event that was more festive than festival. Guests brought the makings of a potluck dinner, as well as a one-minute film. They ate, screened the films (often without credits), then danced beneath the stars. One Minute Film Festival: 2003-2012 includes work from hundreds of participants - including Bill Burns, Andrea Fraser, and Pawel Wojtasik - and collectively explores a decade that saw vast changes, including the extremes of George Bush and Barack Obama, the rise of YouTube, and the near ubiquity of video within museums.
* Mark Dion: Octagon Room is a scaled architectural installation - a life-sized diorama that resembles both a Brutalist-styled bunker and a cabinet of curiosities. Guests are invited to browse through its meticulous contents - rusty keys, taxidermied animals, books and prints, preserved fish, ammunition shells, plastic trinkets, shells, prints, drawings, and more - which collectively illuminate Dion’s own fascinating personal history.
During the cocktail hour, guests will also have an exclusive "last chance" to explore Oh, Canada, which will close on April 8. Oh, Canada has received wide critical accolades, and is the largest exhibition of contemporary Canadian art ever shown outside of "North North America."
At 7 p.m., an elegant benefit dinner, catered by Mezze, will be held in MASS MoCA’s signature Building 5 gallery. Guests will dine beneath Xu Bing’s massive and exquisitely detailed Phoenix Project, which will be illuminated by thousands of sparkling LED lights.
At 8:30 p.m., guests will move to the Hunter Center where the legendary Canadian DJ, King Khan, will spin a mash-up of vintage soul, R&B, and wicked funk. The Village Voice has raved about Khan’s "manic, James Brown-meets-Andy Kaufman antics" and his "psych-funk extravaganza."
Throughout the evening, from 5 to 10 p.m., there will be a silent auction in the lobby, where guests can bid on one-of-a-kind items and experiences, including two tickets to David Byrne’s new rock opera "Here Lies Love," a week at a spectacular St. Barts villa, and tickets to a popular television show. Auctioned artwork includes work by Canadian artist Moyra Davey, who is donating one of her signature mailed photographs - a print that is part of an edition made at Art Basel.
Tickets to the gala start at $175 and also include admission to the opening receptions and dance party. Tables for 10 start at $1,750.
"It’s a spring fling in sheer defiance of mud season," Jennifer Trainer Thompson, MASS MoCA’s director of development, said. "We’re absolutely thrilled to celebrate the change of both seasons and exhibitions with our friends from the Berkshires and beyond. Like the works they celebrate, 3-2-1 will surely be unforgettable in the history of MASS MoCA."
Gala committee members include: North Adams Mayor, Richard Alcombright, Blair & Ali Benjamin, Vicki Bonnington, Julia Bowen & Brad Svrluga, Michael & Lisa Cushman, John DeRosa, Janette Dudley, Sarah & Timothy Eustis, Joseph & Tracy Finnegan, Lauren & Marc Gotlieb, Allen Harris & Stacey Carver, Jo Ellen Harrison, Molly & Eric Kerns, William Lenhart & Stephanie Boyd, and Robert & Carol Stegeman.
3-2-1! A Gala Celebration is co-sponsored by TD Bank with additional support from Perrier, The People’s Pint, the Porches Inn at MASS MoCA, the Consulate General of Canada in Boston, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Blue Q, and Classical Tents & Party Goods.