Scottish musician Annie Lennox, one half of the pop duo Eurythmics, will bring her personal possessions to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art for a very intimate solo installation this spring.
Although artifacts from her personal collection have been included in exhibitions in the past, this new site-specific work will be her first self-conceived art installation,
Titled “Now I Let You Go…,” the exhibition, which opens May 25, will feature a towering earthen mound that will spill across two galleries. Various objects selected by Lenox—memorabilia, found objects, personal effects—will be partially buried in the dirt as a rumination on the inevitability of death. The funereal presentation asks us to stop and reconsider our attachments to our personal possessions.
“In time, we will all disappear from this earth,” Lennox said in a statement. “This is our destiny. What will we leave behind? Who will remember us—and for how long?” She adds: “We cling—consciously or unconsciously to ‘things’ that are endowed with emotional significance—keeping memories alive, while the uncomfortable awareness of the inevitable moment of departure is held at bay.”
To learn more about the significance of the objects and their provenance, visitors can refer to a field guide authored by Lennox with annotations identifying each one.
While some of the pieces in the show relate to Lennox’s musical career, others are more personal. “I have had a special connection to each item presented—a connection that has been hard to relinquish,” she admitted.
For fans of the singer, the exhibition promises to be especially insightful.
“This is a deeply personal show, revelatory about the things in her life that have shaped her emotional and creative life,” MASS MoCA director Joseph Thompson tells artnet News. “It is a diary of a creative force of nature, in material form.”
For many artists, personal possessions become tied to their public and private personas: the Brooklyn Museum’s current Frida Kahlo exhibition, for example, presents her clothing, makeup, and medical devices as a framework for new insights into her artistic career.
“We interact with an infinity of objects from birth to the grave,” Lennox said. “Over time our ‘belongings’ become more steeped and resonant with memory and nostalgia. In many ways, personal objects express aspects of who we are—our identity: our values: our statements, and choices.”
On May 25, the singer will also perform at the museum in celebration of its 20th anniversary. The benefit performance is part of MASS MoCA’s Memorial Day weekend celebrations, which include a block party.
Tickets for the event, during which Lennox will also share stories, start at $100, with the proceeds going to the Annie Lennox Foundation, the singer’s social justice nonprofit supporting feminism around the world.
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