Written by: Matt Sloan
Photo Credit: Kerwin Williamson
This is a big week for renowned performance artist Rachel Mason who is not only a music maker but also engages her audience with live shows akin to something like a hybrid between a Laurie Anderson or Yoko Ono show and Broadway’s CATS, with all the vocal dramatics of Nina Hagen and Amanda Palmer.
The idiosyncratic and truly singular artist’s activity this week is literally divided between New York and Los Angeles.
Let me break it down:
New York happening: Art+Culture Projects and Red Bull Studios New York co-present ‘Legacies: A screening of cross-generational video art’, a mini-festival screening of sorts, featuring Rachel Mason’s video “Heart Explodes.” This debut screening features five spotlighted artists. Curated by William J Simmons, this event just happened on June 16 and it was packed with a supportive and engaged audience.
Los Angeles happening: On June 18, Rachel will also be screening the video for her forthcoming single “Tigers in the Dark” along with what is bound to be an unforgettable delivery of song and performance art, complete with a DJ set by legendary rockstar-kingmaker Rodney Bingenheimer (otherwise known as Rodney on The Roq). Directed by Matthew Spiegelman, the new video meets its first audience during a live performance called ‘Enter Das Ram’.
The LTD Los Angeles gallery, where this is all taking place, is situated on the very same Sunset Boulevard site that the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco once existed. L.A.’s mainstay during the glam rock era and fave hangout of many rock stars, this is the very place where Iggy Pop made international headlines for doing one of the craziest things he’s ever done on stage: slashing up his chest with a knife.
Rachel Mason’s performance will incorporate Dennis Hoekstra’s installation, a virtual reincarnation of the English Disco. Enter Rodney on the Roq – a close confidant and key U.S. supporter of everything David Bowie and just as well known for his role in launching the career of Iggy Pop, The Ramones, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Blondie and countless other legends. Rodney felt it only second nature to join in the fun with a DJ set in his old familiar surroundings.
Despite both videos being screened this week to local audiences, online fans will have to wait to catch a glimpse themselves. Both singles will also appear on the forthcoming Das Ram album – the first complete set of songs written and performed with Mason’s longtime creative partner Jeff Hassay.
In scripts, sculpture, rock operas, performances and songs spanning over a decade, Mason has created imagined worlds where animals, objects, mythological creatures and all forms of non-human entities have taken shape through her body and voice. Her shows wrap the audience in fantastical narratives which interweave musical, theatrical and narrative elements into unexpected operatic journeys.
It’s no wonder that Impose Magazine says that Mason is, “one of the most creative forces in the world, continuing her multidisciplinary pursuits that are never strictly committed to one singular medium.” Having also exhibited sculpture, video and performance art at many of the country’s leading art galleries, Mason has garnered coverage for her work from the likes of Vice, Interview Magazine, The New York Times, Artforum, LA Weekly, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, and Flash Art.
Rachel Mason has recorded 13 full-length albums and three operas, including her most recent unique rock opera feature film The Lives of Hamilton Fish, which toured the world in 2015 and was released this month on VOD.
While we sit tight in anticipation the two forthcoming new videos, we’re happy to introduce you to clips of this latest feature film.