North Adams

“The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere”

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)

In this expansive survey of contemporary art pledged unapologetically to political intervention, curator Nato Thompson brings together the work of twenty-nine international artists and collectives targeting “racism, global labor, homelessness, genetic engineering, war.” What broadly links the exhibition’s offerings—many of them activist tools or video documentation of direct action—is the concept of “tactical media,” an opportunistic approach toward materials and conventions aimed at achieving political ends “by any means necessary.”

Michael Rakowitz, for instance, worked with homeless people to create ParaSITE, 1998, a personal inflatable shelter equipped to siphon off heat from air vents in winter. His design for an itinerant encampment, a quasi-Minimalist structure adapted to meet urban codes, is currently used in several cities and joins Kryzsztof Wodiczko’s Homeless Vehicle, 1988–89,

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