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Mass MoCA Receives Grant For Art Installation
04:32PM / Tuesday, January 11, 2022
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art has been approved for a $45,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support EJ Hill's "Brake Run Helix." 
 
For "Brake Run Helix," EJ Hill will create a massive sculptural installation that incorporates a stage for performances, freestanding sculptures, watercolors, and a functional roller coaster inside of Mass MoCA's 100-yard-long Building 5 gallery. The exhibition is Hill's first solo museum exhibition, and will be his largest installation to date. 
 
"The National Endowment for the Arts provides vital support for cultural institutions and the communities they serve," said MASS MoCA Director Kristy Edmunds. "It allows us to foster the bold and dynamic visions of artists like EJ Hill, helping them create expansive new work that engages and challenges our visitors. We are grateful for the NEA's continued recognition and support of MASS MoCA."
 
According to a press release:
 
In the United States, amusement parks were contested sites throughout Jim Crow-era desegregation efforts for equitable access to pleasure, leisure, and recreation. For Hill, roller coasters are public monuments to the possibility of attaining joy — which, as he notes, is "a critical component of social equity." Hill's expansion in scale will be accompanied by an expansion in performance, which has long been central to his practice. Over the course of the exhibition, the installation's stage will be activated by musicians, thinkers, and community groups.
 
Artist and roller coaster enthusiast Robert Cartmell — whose drawings inspired Hill's own watercolors, which are on view for the first time ever in this exhibition — once said that "a roller coaster is the most musical architecture ever built." Hill's installation expands on this notion, transforming the usual terror-streaked individual pleasure of riding a roller coaster into a collective experience of contemplation and joy.
 
"Brake Run Helix "will open at Mass MoCA in October 2022. It is organized by Alexandra Foradas, curator of visual art at Mass MoCA, and Makayla Bailey is the co-editor and interpretation consultant.
 
EJ Hill has held residencies at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (2019) and The Studio Museum in Harlem (2016). His work has been exhibited at Made in LA, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); The Underground Museum, Los Angeles (2017); The Future Generation Art Prize at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); and the Studio Museum in Harlem (2016), among others. He is currently creating a new commission for Prospect 5, New Orleans (2021). Hill studied at the University of California, Los Angeles (MFA) and Columbia College, Chicago (BFA). 
 
The exhibition is among 1,248 projects across the country totaling $28,840,000 that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category. 
 
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