Interim Director and Assistant Professor of Sound Art Jace Clayton in solo show at the MassArt Art Museum

Mădălina Telea Borteș
April 07, 2023

From February 23, 2023 until July 30, 2023, the MassArt Art Museum in Boston, Massachusetts is hosting They Are Part, an interactive exhibition by Interim Director and Assistant Professor of Sound Art Jace Clayton

The exhibition consists of work commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art and the New York Philharmonic.

“They Are Part” centers on three of Clayton’s installation-based works. In one of the pieces, which Clayton created in 2022, 40 Part Part, 40 speakers, settled on wooden stands, have been arranged in a circle, at the heart of which are benches and a plinth where visitors may plug-in their phones to hear the audio. There is a surprise, however. As visitors interact with the speakers, “the sound is transformed across the speakers, creating new auditory and spatial experiences,” The Bay State Banner, who interviewed Clayton, explains.

Sufi Plug Ins, the second work in the exhibition, which Clayton began in 2012, also invites visitor participation. For this piece, “Clayton has created a suite of digital music-making tools that are based not in the Western musical tradition, as is typical, but in North African musical traditions,” The Bay State Banner notes. Visitors may use the keyboard and digital music suite to create their own mix of sounds. 

Additionally, on April 20, 2023, the exhibition will expand to include Ceremony of the Steps, a performance piece by the artist that “highlights two ways in which people join voices and come together—in celebration and in protest,” the museum’s press release explains. The performance will include “both a capella songs and ambient loops of electronically-altered voices that blend the structure of choral compositions with the recurring chants for social change.” 

Jace Clayton is an artist and writer based in New York, also known for his work as DJ /rupture. He is the author of Uproot: Travels in 21st Century Music and Digital Culture (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016) and was awarded a 2020 Andy Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant to support Behold the Monkey, his upcoming book on contemporary art, faith, and social media. Clayton served as the 2018-2019 Nannerl Keohane Distinguished Visiting Professor at Duke University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He has taught on the Music/Sound faculty of Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts since 2013. Clayton has performed in over three dozen countries, both solo and as director of large ensemble performances. Since 2018 his work has been exhibited internationally.