Denim jackets, choker necklaces, and tattooed limbs were par for the course during an electrifying, hipster-filled night at The Broad museum. With the new Cindy Sherman exhibit on view and a concert lineup featuring some of the hottest artists in the indie music scene, it’s no wonder The Broad sold out their second “Nonobject(ive): Summer Happenings” event on July 30.
The “Summer Happenings” series is a monthly summer program curated by The Broad that allows attendees to visit the museum after-hours and explore an array of live art, music, and dance. Each event has its own unique theme, ranging from June’s “Magnificent Obsession” to September’s “Underground and Rave Cultures.”
July’s theme, “The Asphalt Jungle,” brought together a diverse set of performances for a night inspired by Downtown Manhattan’s infamous Danceteria and Mudd Club Nightclubs. Featured in July’s lineup were an 80’s DJ set by Venice Beach pop star Sky Ferreira, a sample reading by N.Y.C. punk icon Richard Hell, a dance number by Sia’s “Chandelier” choreographer Ryan Heffington and much more.
Highlights of the evening took place on the outdoor Plaza Stage, where acts Mas Ysa and Sky Ferreira performed. The stage shined deep blues and greens as Ferreira played the likes of Devo, Morrissey, Prince and Madonna. Crowd favorites included the upbeat “Los Angeles” by X and the timely “DJ” by David Bowie.
Preceding Ferreira was Thomas Arsenault, the Canadian synth-pop musician known as Mas Ysa. His tracks consisted of powerful instrumentals that merged EDM and indie rock in an experimental but melodic fashion. Despite suffering from a recent concussion (which caused him to unknowingly play the same song twice), Arsenault cracked jokes with the audience and kept them dancing throughout his entire beat-driven set.
Richard Hell, 66-year-old punk musician and former member of Television, was the most anticipated of the night, but his half-hour “noir-erotica” piece underwhelmed. The excerpt was filled with sexually graphic anecdotes that, for an audience of 20-something Millennials, proved more of a yawner than a provocative statement. The one enjoyable aspect of Hell’s reading was the dramatic synthesizer drone played on-and-off by British musician The Haxan Cloak, which drew laughter from the crowd as it gave the piece temporary comic relief.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Ryan Heffington, whose performances took place within the third-floor galleries beside Takashi Murakami’s “Hustle’n’Punch” painting and Jeff Koon’s “Tulips” sculpture, closed out the night. Smith, a composer from the Bay Area, played a hypnotizing synthesizer set that rang throughout the museum. Heffington, best known for his work with Arcade Fire and Sia, premiered an avant-garde dance number to “4 Degrees” by Anohni. Both acts, fascinating and innovative, embodied the spirit of the surrounding artwork.
Though the impressive mix of art and performance from July’s “Nonobject(ive): Summer Happening” is hard to match, the upcoming “Summer Happenings” planned for August and September are events one will not want to miss. Not only is the program great for discovering new artists and musicians, but the Broad’s performance series acts as an excellent opportunity to explore the museum (without the 2-hour waiting line that haunts The Broad on a normal day).
Tickets for the next “Summer Happenings” event on Aug. 20 are available here.