MASS MoCA – Explode Every Day

May 28 Sat
Exhibition Opening
Origami Wall Friezeite specific installation, at MASS MoCA, North Adams MA, 2016.

Origami Wall Frieze, site specific installation at MASS MoCA, North Adams MA, 2016.

EXPLODE EVERY DAY: An Inquiry into the Phenomenon of Wonder 


Exhibition dates: May 28, 2016 – February 28, 2017

Opening May 28, 2016, MASS MoCA’s exhibition Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomenon of Wonder includes a series of new business card origami sculptures by Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring.

These works, inspired by the pioneering techniques of Dr. Jeannine Mosely, have emerged from an open ended experimental process that takes its cues from the formalisms of mathematics and the open-ended dynamics of nature. On show is a 3-dimensional sculpture, Fractal Ruin, constructed from 8000 psychedelic business cards whose backbone architecture is derived from the structure of the Mosely Snowflake Sponge fractal; plus two 2-dimensional works, including Origami Wall Frieze (above) that uses business card origami as a new method for “drawing” on a wall. This site-specific low-relief sculpture evokes circuit board design, set theory, early video-game graphics, needlepoint, and plumbing. In addition will be a diagrammatic rendition of the interior geometry of a level two Snowflake Sponge revealing the form’s unique fractal symmetries, from which the above works have been “wildified.”

About the exhibition: Harnessing the idea of wonder as a thematic metaphor, MASS MoCA’s exhibition “Explode Every Day” features both existing and new works by twenty-three international artists, each touching on certain facets of wonder, including: the perceptual/ visionary, the technological/scientific, the philosophical/meditative, time/cosmos, and illusion/fear. 

Curator Denise Markonish remarks, “a true state of wonder agitates, mesmerizes, and is almost forcible and shocking. It is a sudden intake of breath, a gaping mouth a relinquishing understanding. As commonly used, ‘wonder’ is sometimes mistaken for curiosity, which centers on fact-finding and explanation. In “Explode Every Day,” viewers experience a purer state of wonder, a state poised between knowing and not knowing and defined by an experience of something truly new.”

“Explode Every Day”, co-organized by Markonish and Ohio-based artist Sean Foley, has a title inspired by writer Ray Bradbury’s remark: “You remain invested in your inner child by exploding every day. You don’t worry about the future, you don’t worry about the past—you just explode.”

Participating artists: Jonathan Allen, Jen Bervin, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna ParavelJason de Haan, Tristan Duke, Sharon EllisTom Friedman, Christopher Gausby, Hope Ginsburg, Laurent Grasso, Institute For Figuring and Margaret Wertheim, Nina KatchadourianMichael Light, Charles Lindsay, Megan and Murray McMillan, Ryan and Trevor Oakes, Demetrius Oliver, Dario Robleto, Rachel Sussman, Julianne Swartz, Chris Taylor, Fred Tomaselli.

IFF works in this exhibition have been constructed by Margaret Wertheim, Christina Simons and Jake Dotson; with design assistance from Christine Wertheim. Business card design by Cindy Kusuda.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog that includes essays from renowned wonder-author Lawrence Weschler, clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison, art historian Barbara Maria Stafford, Jill Tarter (former director of the Center for SETI Research), and others; co-published by MASS MoCA and Prestel.

1040 MASS MoCA Way

North Adams, MA 01247

The IFF’s work for “Explode Every Day” is generously supported by grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Opaline Fund of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.