"Art can only be fully experienced when the barrier between the viewer and artist are removed so that each may become a contributing factor. A festival like Solid Sound provides a happening environment for such experiences."
This summer I had the opportunity to attend the Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Massachusetts. The band Wilco puts on this festival. Solid Sound is a three-day art and music festival that takes place every other year at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA). Wilco, being both host and headliner invites an array of musicians and artists to perform on the MASS MoCA campus. This summers line up included:
Spirit of Akasha: The Autumn Defense and Windy Hills play a tribute to Morning of the Earth, Bill Frisell, Charles Lloyd Quartet, Cibo Matto, Expandable Brass Band, The Felice Brothers, Jeff Davis, Glenn Kotche + Jeffrey Zeigler, Jessica Pratt, Jessica Williams, John Hodgman's Big Time Comedy Thing, King Sunny Adé & His African Beats, Luluc, Mac Demarco, Mikael Jorgensen, Stained Radiance: Nels Cline & Norton Wisdom, NRBQ, Parquet Courts, Paul F Tompkins, Quindar, Real Estate, Richard Thompson, Ryley Walker, Shabazz Palaces, Speedy Ortiz, Tig Notaro, William Tyler, Tweedy, and Wilco.
MASS MoCA is one of the largest contemporary performing and visual arts centers in the U.S. It is a sixteen acre campus which exhibits both indoor and outdoor art installations. The campus is also a performing art center and host to artist residencies.
The MASS MoCA mission statement: If conventional museums are boxes, MASS MoCA strives instead to be an open platform - a welcoming environment that encourages free exchange between the making of art and its display, between the visual and performing arts, and between our extraordinary historic factory campus and the patrons, workers and tenants who again inhabit it. That is, we strive to make the whole cloth of art-making, presentation, and public participation a seamless continuum.
Visiting this museum during the Solid Sound Festival provided me as an artist and educator great inspiration and support for open-ended ideas of what art can be. Art can only be fully experienced when the barrier between the viewer and artist are removed so that each may become a contributing factor. A festival like Solid Sound provides a happening environment for such experiences.
For me, the highlight of the festival was Stained Radiance: the merging of the audio and visual narrative, a collaborative and improvisational performance by painter Norton Wisdom and guitarist Nels Cline.
Wisdom is a painter and collaborative artist in creating interpretive paintings. Wisdom’s collaborative ventures include Jazz, World Music, Rock, New Music, Classical, poetry and dance. He performed at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. His interpretive works are not fixed paintings to be added to his gallery; instead they provide a live visual journey of morphing images corresponding along side a music performance. Music and painting, each one informs the other. For more on Norton Wisdom visit http://www.nortonwisdom.com/