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“40 Part Part” by Jace Clayton
On view at the MassArt Art Museum through July 30

Artist Jace Clayton grew up in North Andover and graduated from Harvard before recently returning to the MassArt Art Museum for a series of three installations, including the striking “40 Part Part.”

Inspired by artist Janet Cardiff’s presentation of 16th-century choral works, Clayton creates what appears to be a “minimalist sculpture” consisting of 40 speakers on stands around the room. Audiences are invited into the space to connect their phones to the speaker and listen to music of their choosing. As part of the installation, Clayton has designed an algorithm that changes how visitors hear the music.

“You start playing the music,” Bowen described, “and it gets absorbed because of this algorithm into different ways throughout the room. So it will come from just one speaker or you’ll just hear part of the sound and then the rest of that sound is distributed through another speaker around the room.”

He added that “it was such an odd feeling to have this piece of music that you know so well, that’s kind of fundamental to your upbringing and then have it just completely distorted and dismantled and played with. It kind of almost felt like I had stepped into a different reality.”

“Normal” by Steve Locke
On view at the MassArt South Building

One of Boston’s “great stars,” Steve Locke [MassArt Alumnus, MFA ‘01], has returned from New York for an installation on the exterior of MassArt for the institute’s 150th anniversary. The title gets its name from the term “normal school,” which was used to describe MassArt at its founding. (Today, such an institution would be called a teaching college.)

Locke’s work uses pink neon to outline the letters of the word “normal” in the brickwork to emphasize that the arts are normal. “The arts aren’t something exceptional, they’re just a normal part of our life,” Bowen said.

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