Morgan Bassichis “Questions to Ask Beforehand”

Bridget Donahue

poster for Morgan Bassichis “Questions to Ask Beforehand”

This event has ended.

Questions to Ask Beforehand is the first solo gallery exhibition by Morgan Bassichis, a comedic performer who has been described as “fiercely hilarious” by The New Yorker; “evasive” by multiple close friends; and “I think an actor, but hasn’t gotten any roles?” by their father. The show will include “art, for sure,” according to Bassichis, who has promised “big dividends.” Describing the work, Bassichis says, “I’d love to be in Cabaret at some point.”

In the grand tradition of easy-going people throughout history, Morgan makes lists. Their book The Odd Years published by Wendy’s Subway (2020) collected weekly to-do lists written in 2017 and 2019, with such memorable action items as “Stop talking about the fucking rice cooker” and “Power through Exodus.” For this exhibition, Morgan has created a new series of self-help pamphlets with lists of questions to ask before doing a range of unpredictable tasks: having dinner at someone’s house, spending time with a niece, committing to a week away with friends, and more. Morgan will perform these lists with “original jokes and jingles, but in a way that makes you think” in a new solo performance, Questions to Ask Beforehand, directed by Broadway darling Tina Satter on April 1, 8, 14, and 22 at 7:30pm.

Bassichis writes, “Even if you thought lists were plenty for fine art, there’s also a ton of music in the show.” Morgan’s music has been described by a number of people as “stuck in my head, I can’t get it out—my family is falling apart.” Videos of the artist singing in the bathtub and the bedroom invite the viewer into an intimate relationship from a healthy distance. Extended musical meditations with cellist and scholar Ethan Philbrick—part of March Is for Marches, their year-long series of improvisations published by Triple Canopy (2019)—beckon listeners to Prospect Park’s Vale of Cashmere and the Lesbian Herstory Archives, where they were recorded.

Given their lack of skills, Morgan leans heavily on a community of brilliant artist friends and often ropes these people into semi-professional collaboration. Works by many of these artists are woven throughout the exhibition, which is organized by Erin Leland: in addition to music made and installed with Philbrick, there are pamphlets designed and illustrated by DonChristian Jones; videos filmed by Max Silver and Aleksei Wagner and commissioned by The Renaissance Society; listening cushions created by Sam Roeck; lighting design by Derek Wright; and stories and songs addressed to loved ones near and far.

Morgan Bassichis (b. 1983, Newton, Massachusetts) graduated with a B.A. from Brown University in 2006 and has performed, sung, and read widely in venues and institutions including Creative Time, New York (Don’t Rain on My Bat Mitzvah, 2021); The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (Nibbling the Hand That Feeds Me within Whitney Biennial 2019); Triple Canopy, New York (March Is for Marches, with Ethan Philbrick, 2019); The Kitchen, New York (Damned If You Duet with Malik Gaines, Ethan Philbrick, Mariana Valencia, and Helen Messineo-Pandjiris, 2018); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (Me But Also Everybody within Does the Body Rule the Mind or Does the Mind Rule the Body?, 2018); The New Museum, New York (The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions The Musical, with TM Davey, DonChristian Jones, Michi Ilona Osato, and Una Aya Osato, within Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, 2017); MoMA PS1, Long Island City (Greater New York 2015). They published the book The Odd Years with Wendy’s Subway in 2020, and wrote the introduction to Nightboat Books’ 2019 edition of The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions, written by Larry Mitchell and Ned Asta in 1977. Bassichis released the musical album March Is for Marches with Ethan Philbrick in 2019 and More Protest Songs! Live from Saint Mark’s Church in 2018, and is currently working on an antizionist bat mitzvah album. They are based in New York.



from March 25, 2022 to May 14, 2022

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