New MASS MoCA exhibit takes patrons on a roller coaster ride


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — It’s not unusual for a work of art to evoke a strong emotional reaction from an observer. In fact, a new exhibition at MASS MoCA might have some museum attendees screaming for joy.

A fully functional, ridable roller coaster is the centerpiece of the behemoth art museum’s latest exhibition “Brake Run Helix” created by American artist and roller coaster aficionado EJ Hill. The pink sculptural structure stands tall in the back of Building 5, the museum’s signature gallery, inviting visitors to approach its velvet-clad gate and await its once-an-hour freefall.

Patrons will be able to climb inside the single-rider vehicle atop the track and ride the coaster, which, starting this weekend, runs hourly Wednesday through Monday. But thrill-seekers will need some patience: There is already a month-long waitlist to climb aboard the ride known as “Brava!” Due to its limited schedule of daily runs, there will only be about 1800 riders over the exhibit’s 18-month run.

“With it riding only once per hour, the idea is that instead of having a conventional coaster that tries to get as many people as possible, we wanted a more specialized experience,” said Spencer Byrne-Seres, museum director of art fabrication. Byrne-Seres helped to assemble the unique installment that arrived to North Adams in fifteen pieces just weeks ago and was made functional with the help of Skyline Attractions, a theme park design and fabrication company.

The assemblage of the 260-feet track marks the first time that a full-circuit roller coaster has been designed and constructed within a museum space, according to the amusement park company

Organized by MASS MoCA Curator Alexandra Foradas, the gallery — which includes a series of sculptures and paintings reaffirming the dizzying motif — is Hill’s first solo show and largest exhibition to date. The LA-based visual artist is described as a lifelong roller coaster enthusiast who, since childhood, always dreamed of erecting his own catapulting coaster.

Placed upon wooden boards, the gallery’s main attraction evokes the nostalgia of summertime trips to an amusement park boardwalk. The wooden platform also doubles as a stage — with the cart emerging from the mezzanine behind velvet emerald curtains to begin its routine for the awaiting crowd of spectators.

“EJ really thinks about the coaster itself and the rider as a performance, as something you would want to see in a theater,” Byrne-Seres said. “He really views them as monuments to joy and they’re a way to have an experience that is both terrifying but also joyful and exciting.”

The artist also found inspiration in the diverse melting pot of people that visit amusement parks to experience the thrill of extreme rides. A central theme explored by the exhibit is the relationship between segregation, civil rights and amusement parks and as described by the gallery guide, Hill’s artwork is a means of reclaiming space that, for much of U.S. history, was only accessible by “a select, privileged few.”

The gallery’s title, “Brake Run Helix” is inspired by two fundamental elements of roller coaster form and function: a brake run, which is a part of the track meant to slow or stop the carts, and a helix, which refers to the moment the carts complete at least a 360-degree turn.

Curiously, the roller coaster includes neither of these elements. Instead, the brightly colored cart comes to a stop by means of gravity after a roughly 30-second ride that reaches 30 mph and includes one 12-foot drop. Even so, those that volunteer to make the drop sound akin to riders of more tumultuous theme park attractions. Perhaps, despite the relative simplicity of the joyride, there is something unsettling and slightly terrifying about riding solo on a roller coaster that is the brainchild of an artist and housed inside of a museum gallery, all to the amusement of a spectating crowd of strangers. 

For those interested in finding out, the line to ride begins on the museum’s website, with additional reservations released on a rolling basis. There is no added cost for riding and no reservation is needed for those only interested in watching the ride and perusing the rest of Hill’s works, which will be on display through January 2024. 



Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment
Enable Notifications OK No thanks