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MASS MoCA Union UAW Local 2110 North Adams, MA
MASS MoCA Union

Employees of North Adams, Massachusetts art museum MASS MoCA have decisively voted to unionize. 

MASS MoCA clock tower sunset
Paul Gallo

Earlier this month, the employees of MASS MoCA – the sprawling modern art museum in North Adams, Massachusetts – announced plans to form a union. A mail-in unionization vote among the staff of around 130 is being conducted over the course of April. In a statement, MASS MoCA says it respects their right to pursue a union, and that it won’t oppose or interfere in the process. WAMC spoke with staff spokesperson and Associate Director of Education Amanda Tobin about what the union vote will look like, and why MASS MoCA employees want to join the UAW Local 2110.

A tent with signs in front of a large brick complex
Josh Landes / WAMC

On Monday, the staff of the sprawling modern art museum MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts declared their intent to form a union. A press release detailed concerns around equity, compensation, job security and a round of layoffs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum employs around 130 people. The Local 2110 UAW estimates around 100 of them would be eligible to be part of the union. Staff spokesperson and Associate Director of Education Amanda Tobin – a seven-year veteran of the museum – spoke to WAMC about what led to the unionization effort.

A white man stands at a podium against a black backdrop
JD Allen / WAMC

The founding director of MASS MoCA has officially ended his 33-year tenure as director of the sprawling North Adams, Massachusetts contemporary art museum.

A tent with signs in front of a large brick complex
Josh Landes / WAMC

COVID-19 cases have been reported at two of Northern Berkshire County’s major cultural institutions: MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts and Williams College in Williamstown.

A white man stands at a podium against a black backdrop
JD Allen / WAMC

MASS MoCA Director Joe Thompson says he will step down from the North Adams, Massachusetts art museum after over 30 years on October 29th. Thompson is the sprawling museum’s founding director. It was first conceived in the late 1980’s and opened in 1999. Thompson will stay on as special counsel  to the museum’s Board of Trustees for another year, and Tracy Moore will serve as interim director. His departure follows a tumultuous year that saw sweeping layoffs at the museum due to COVID-19 closures in March. The museum reopened in July. Thompson’s exit also comes as he faces a charge of motor vehicle homicide related to a 2018 incident where a motorcyclist died after a collision in North Adams. Thompson has pleaded not guilty.

Thompson, 62, spoke to WAMC about his time leading the museum, as well as why he’s chosen this moment to depart.

MASS MoCA - clock tower with a border of "Cosmic Latte" by Spencer Finch
Sarah LaDuke

MASS MoCA has finally reopened its doors to the public with new art ready for visitors to enjoy. The museum features more than 40,000 square feet of brand new exhibitions. Due to the pandemic, there are slight changes when visiting. 

Visitors are asked to arrive with timed tickets that are purchased in advance. Sections in the museum that are under reservation only include James Turrell: Into the Light and Wendy Red Star’s Apsaalooke: Children of the large-Beaked Bird – which is in the KidSpace gallery. 

The museum will also be hosting its first public concert on Saturday, July 18 with returning performer Treya Lam. To tell us more, we welcome MASS MoCA director Joe Thompson.

A tent with signs in front of a large brick complex
Josh Landes / WAMC

After months of closure, North Adams, Massachusetts art museum MASS MoCA is reopening its doors to visitors Saturday.

An aerial photo of a building complex set on a wooded hillside
Douglas Mason / MASS MoCA

Three Berkshire County museums plan to reopen next weekend.

Two older white men stand in front of a marble colonnade
Josh Landes / WAMC

As COVID-19 related closures wreak havoc on Berkshire County cultural institutions, two state legislators are moving to create a relief fund to support them.

Ferrin Contemporary is presenting "Nature/Nurture," a group exhibition of twelve contemporary female artists invited to explore the influence of gender and its impact on their practice. The show was organized in honor of Women's History Month in conjunction with FOREFRONT2020, a symposium on women in the visual arts taking place on the MASS MoCA campus.

The exhibition explores these ideas that range from direct interpretations of the natural world to more abstract notions, such as the construction of gender and the endowed role of women within their personal and professional careers. Works in clay range in form from individual vessels to composed still lifes and figural and abstract sculpture.

Considering the impact that the #MeToo movement is having on all professions, artists were asked to pause and reflect on the role gender plays in their artistic practice and to consider the nurturing experiences that have shaped them. To tell us more, we welcome Senior Curator of Visual Arts at MASS MoCA Susan Cross, an artist featured in Ferrin Contemporary's "Nature/Nurture" group exhibition Anina Major, and director of Ferrin Contemporary and curator of Nature/Nurture Leslie Ferrin.

Is it possible that a man is in prison for the murder of his wife -- when an owl actually committed the crime? What is a very special bourbon going for on the black market -- and why? How does a seemingly typical person get roped into counterfeiting money by their boyfriend? “Criminal” is an award-winning true-crime podcast, distributed by PRX and Radiotopia, with episodes devoted to these stories and many others.

On Saturday, February 22 “Criminal” will be in The Hunter Center at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. “Criminal” launched January of 2014 and is hosted by Phoebe Judge, who co-created the show with Lauren Spohrer. Judge attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, her work has won multiple Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards. Previously, she was a host at WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, a producer for The Story with Dick Gordon, and a reporter based in the gulf coast of Mississippi. She covered the BP oil spill and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio.

A man at a podium looks at a row of seated people at a series of tables. They sit before a wood panelled wall in a room lit with long flourescent lights.
Josh Landes / WAMC

Two and a half years after MASS MoCA abruptly painted over public art made by children in North Adams, Massachusetts, city leaders are calling for answers.

Book cover for "Nice Try," photo of Josh Gondelman, album cover for "Dancing on a Weeknight"
Center photo by Mindy Tucker

High Mud Comedy Festival Presents Josh Gondelman in a night of stand-up comedy at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

Josh Gondelman is a stand-up and writer who has earned two Peabody Awards, three Emmys, and two WGA Awards for his work on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” He is currently a writer/producer for “Desus & Mero” on Showtime - which was just renewed for a second season. 

He has a reputation for being a true mensch and among the nicest guys in comedy and his new book “Nice Try” is available from Harper Perennial and his most recent stand-up album “Dancing on a Weeknight” was released in April of this year.

 

He joined us to talk about stand-up, working for and with great people, Twitter pep-talks, and #agoodgame.

The New Pornographers and album cover for "In the Morse Code of Brake Lights"
Ebru Yildiz

Indie-rock band The New Pornographers will play the Hunter Center at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA on Thursday, November 14. Their new album, "In the Morse Code of Brake Lights," was released in September and is receiving critical acclaim and Billboard chart success.

Carl Newman joins us. In addition to Newman, current band members are Kathryn Calder, Neko Case, John Collins, Todd Fancey, Joe Seiders, Simi Stone, and Blaine Thurier.

The New Pornographers have previously released seven studio albums including their most recent, 2017’s Whiteout Conditions. The first album released on their own imprint, Collected Works Records, in partnership with Concord Records. 

Trenton Doyle Hancock and Frank Oz at MASS MoCA
Sarah LaDuke

It is the final two weeks to visit and inhabit artist Trenton Doyle Hancock’s world of characters seen in drawings, paintings, and installations at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. Hancock has transformed his childhood love of comic books, toys, and superhero culture into his own creation myth. That mythology and the multimedia iterations that it has sparked are on display in the exhibition "Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass." The exhibition is curated at MASS MoCA by Denise Markonish.

Hancock tells the story of the Mounds protected by Torpedo Boy, and their enemies, the Vegans. These narratives explore good and evil, authority, race, moral relativism, and religion, all while creating a truly unique body of visual art.

FreshGrass At MASS MoCA

Sep 19, 2019

This year’s FreshGrass Music Festival takes place this Friday through Sunday in North Adams, Massachusetts. The festival is produced in partnership by MASS MoCA, the FreshGrass Foundation, and No Depression and is a family-friendly festival, featuring established, acclaimed, and new talent on four stages and in MASS MoCA’s galleries.

The line-up includes Mavis Staples, Greensky Bluegrass, Steep Canyon Rangers, Calexico and Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird, Sam Amidon, Amy Helm, Alison, Brown, The Mammals, Tony Trischka and Bruce Molsky, Johnny Irion & Friends, Jade Bird, The Gibson Brothers, Tinariwen, inaugural Artist-in-Residence Aoife O’Donovan, and more!

We are joined by MASS MoCA’s Performing Arts Director Sue Killam and Communications Director Jodi Joseph.

Aoife O’Donovan is the inaugural FreshGrass Artist in Residence at the FreshGrass Music Festival taking place, as it always does, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.

She’ll perform a set of her own music on Friday, September 20, join Kronos Quartet’s Music for Change: Pete Seeger @ 100 set on Saturday, September 21, and re-visit her Fresh Score on Sunday, September 22.

O’Donovan is an acclaimed songwriter and vocalist known for her solo work, touring and recording with her band Crooked Still, frequent appearances on American Public Media’s “Live from Here” with Chris Thile, and her work with Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz, I’m With Her - the trio, just this week, was recognized as the Group of the Year at the Americana Honors & Awards.

Crooked Still will play The Egg in Albany, New York on December 11.

The Dirt Farmer Festival 2019 will have shows at Levon Helm Studios on September 6 and 7, bringing Dirt Farmer Fest artists, food, and craft vendors to Woodstock for two great nights! Amy Helm – Levon’s daughter – joins us this morning to tell us more.

Amy Helm will also be at FreshGrass at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA on Friday, September 20.

LOUD Weekend is an expansion of Bang on a Can’s long-running Bang on a Can Marathon at MASS MoCA - tripling that programming from one day, to three days.

Over this coming weekend, more than 30 concerts will take place in at MASS MoCA’s vast galleries and throughout its collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues.

Over the past 30 years, Bang on a Can co-founder and artistic director Michael Gordon has produced a diverse body of work, ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles to major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio.

Established in 2010 - the Solid Sound Festival kicks off at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts on Friday evening. The art and music festival is curated by Chicago-based rock band, Wilco, and features an eclectic line-up of music, art, comedy, food, and family activities.

John Stirratt has been Wilco’s bassist since the band was founded in 1994. He’ll be on hand at Solid Sound to play with Wilco, and his other band, The Autumn Defense will play an acoustic set with strings on Sunday in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. Stirratt is also one partner responsible for Tourists, a new motor-lodge in North Adams.

A sign that says "T. William Lewis Building Northern Berkshire District Court 111 Holden Street"
Josh Landes / WAMC

The founding director of MASS MoCA appeared in court this morning, 11 months after a fatal collision with a motorcyclist.

WAMC

The director of MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts will face charges related to a fatal collision with a motorcyclist last summer.

In 2017, MASS MoCA became the largest museum for contemporary art in the world, but just three decades before, its vast brick buildings were the abandoned remains of a shuttered factory.

Jennifer Trainer's new documentary film, “Museum Town” tells that story.

“Museum Town” shows how a small rural Massachusetts town went from economic collapse to art mecca. “Museum Town” will be the closing night film for this year’s Berkshire International Film Festival, screening at 7 p.m. on June 2 at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

An early and longtime director of development and public relations for MASS MoCA, Jennifer Trainer is now the President & CEO and Hancock Shaker Village. “Museum Town” is her first movie.

Joe Donahue and Annie Lennox at MASS MoCA
Jodi Joseph

Many people know Annie Lennox as the voice who has sold over 83 million records both as a solo artist and as one half of The Eurythmics, an Oscar and Grammy award winning artist and a tireless activist. Now, at Mass MoCA, she presents: "Annie Lennox: 'Now I Let You Go...,'" an exhibition comprised of hundreds of artifacts culled from her personal collection of memorabilia, found objects, and personal effects accrued throughout her lifetime and revealed within a large earthen mound.

The exhibition — part material diary, part art installation — is accompanied by a printed "field guide" in which Lennox annotates many of the objects on display; identifying the objects and adding recollections, personal stories, and provenance.

'Now I Let You Go…' opens June 1 at MASS MoCA as part of the museum’s 20th Anniversary celebration.

MASS MoCA clock tower sunset
Paul Gallo

MASS MoCA is holding holding a summerlong birthday celebration to mark its 20th year with performances, installations, and the return of the Solid Sound Festival.

Headlining the birthday bash on May 25 will be Annie Lennox in a sold-out gig. Capturing MASS MoCA’s energy and spirit of embracing music and art in all forms, the 20th birthday party spreads across the museum campus — from Marshall Street to the interior courtyards and galleries — encompassing new exhibitions, wild versions of your favorite games, terrific music by performers from both near and far, great food and a world of fun.

Star attractions for the rest of summer include Solid Sound, The Pretenders, Annie Lennox, Maggie Rogers and Laurie Anderson – just to name a few. We hear all about it now with Director of Communications Jodi Joseph and Director of Performing Arts Sue Killam.

Gillian Jones / The Berkshire Eagle

A dancer, an actor, and a drummer are joining forces at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, to present a work in progress this weekend.

Michelle Buteau
http://michellebuteau.com/


  Stand-up comedian and actor Michelle Buteau will perform at the High Mud Comedy Festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts for the festival's second night - that’s this Saturday, March 30.

 

Buteau performs regularly all over New York City including at #Adulting, her regular show with Jordan Carlos at Union Hall in Brooklyn. She co-stars in BET’s forthcoming series “The First Wives Club” and has recently been seen on HBO’s “High Maintenance” and “2 Dope Queens,” she has a set on “The Comedy Line-Up” on Netflix. Her podcast from WNYC Studios is “Late Night Whenever.” She's also a new Mom to twins, is in "Someone Great" and Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” soon to be released on Netflix, and runs a Mid-Century Modern furniture store (Van der Most Modern) with her husband. 

She's great, she's very busy, and she's coming to North Adams. 

Stand-up comic and actor Judah Friedlander is bringing his “Future President” tour to MASS MoCA’s High Mud Comedy Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts. His recent material, including his Netflix comedy film “America Is the Greatest Country in the United States” presents a satirical take on American exceptionalism and his presidential platform should he be chosen-slash-forced  to become U.S. President.

Friedlander played Frank Rossitano on the NBC comedy series “30 Rock” and became well known for his dry delivery and trucker hats. He also had a memorable arc a "musician" named Gordy on the Netflix series “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” He is the author of “How to Beat Up Anybody: An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book by the World Champion” and "If the Raindrops United: Drawings and Cartoons."

Douglas Mason / MASS MoCA

The lineup for June’s Solid Sound festival at MASS MoCA is coming together. WAMC’s Josh Landes has more.

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