Visiting MASS MoCA With Carol and Ed

Carol, Ed and Jon at the Nick Cave Installation at Mass Moca

It was my idea to invite Carol and Ed Gulley to see the Nick Cave installation at MASS MoCA today.  I thought Ed would appreciate Cave’s work.

I saw Nick Cave’s Sound Suits and videos, when Jon and I were in Seattle a few years ago.  I was immediately drawn to his use of materials.  The textures and colors, how he put them together.

Carol and Ed had never been to MASS MoCA.  And we’ve never all been to a museum together.   So when Carol asked me if I was okay, she thought I wasn’t acting like I usually do, I told it was because I was looking at the art.

I hadn’t thought of it before, but I guess I’m not very social when I’m looking at art.

When I go to a museum I walk though passing quickly the art that doesn’t visually appeal to me  and linger for varying amounts of time looking at the images and objects that suck me in.  If they touch  me in some way, I’ll want to know more.   Then I read the information that goes along with the exhibit.  If I find the idea behind the art as fascinating as what I’m looking at,  I’ll buy a book from the exhibit so I can learn more and keep the images with me.

When I first saw Nick Cave’s art, I bought the book that went along with the exhibit.

Among all the glitter and sparkle and mesmerizing  wind spinners in Nick Cave’s installation called “Until” that we saw today, there were wind spinners with images of guns on them.  As if it was the most natural thing in the world.

In another part of the installation,  racist lawn jockeys are scattered throughout a collection of porcelain birds and fruit,  fake flowers, beads and badminton rackets as if they’re just another knick-knack on the shelf.

The Installation was inspired by Cave asking the question “Is there racism in heaven?”

This is the kind of art that makes me want to look at it, walk through it, touch it (although I didn’t) spend time with it.  And then, after all that visual stimulation, it makes me think about its meaning.  It doesn’t push me away with gory images (which can be very effective in their own way) but invites me in.  It engages me in a conversation.  And gives me hope, by being able to make a connection through its aesthetics and humanity.

We saw some other art today at the museum, but I don’t remember most of it.

I think Carol and Ed enjoyed the trip.     Carol said she wanted to come back with her grand-daughter.  And although I didn’t talk to Ed much about it, I can’t help but believe that it’s in some way inspiring to him.

Part of the installation “Until” by Nick Cave






3 thoughts on “Visiting MASS MoCA With Carol and Ed

  1. Good day, Maria, your visit to the museum reminded me to tell you about the huge (>400 pages, oversized) book called the Handmade Life: A companion to Modern Crafting ( – it’s really a walk through a craft museum with info about historical developments (our first craft in leather, felt during neolithic times…) as well as new art/ists, incl. websites. I just picked it up at the library, originally published in Australia. A lot of work went into the book and it is breathtakingly beautiful. I thought of you when l looked at the moon phase dress on page 186…:-)

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