MASS MoCA 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 of understanding.” As commonly used, “wonder” is sometimes mistaken for curiosity, which centers on the practice of fact-finding and explanation. In Explode Every Day: An Inquiry into the Phenomena of Wonder, viewers experience a purer state of wonder, a state of being poised between knowing and not knowing, and defined by an experience of something truly new.
Harnessing the idea of wonder as a thematic metaphor, the exhibition 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.
Co-organized by Markonish and Columbus, Ohio-based artist Sean Foley, Explode Every Day was inspired by a course that Foley taught at Ohio State University and a long-running conversation between the co-curators. The title for the exhibition was inspired by the writer Ray Bradbury, who often spoke of the need to retain a sense of wonder: “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.” For more information, please visit massmoca.org.