“Now, Speak!” is the first performance-related artwork to enter the Museum’s collection.
Beginning on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 20), an outdoor installation of Argentinean artist Amalia Pica’s Now, Speak! concrete lectern encourages impromptu performances by all MFA visitors and passersby. The lectern was inaugurated by the MFA’s Teen Arts Council, who read excerpts of historically significant speeches, along with distinguished visitors including Mayor Marty Walsh, former Ambassador to Nigeria Walter Carrington, and comedian Jimmy Tingle. It will be on view and available for performances at the Museum through July 2014.
“I am interested in what brings us together, and so communication and its difficulties are for me a sign of how much we need each other,” says Amalia Pica. Pica’s lectern is an invitation to publicly share our unique voices. It may be animated with planned readings of historical political speeches, or inspire spontaneous declarations—perhaps by you. “Now, Speak!” is Michelangelo’s legendary command, as he completed his exceptionally lifelike sculpture of Moses. Pica updates the classic quote with a contemporary comment on human expression. Both physical object and symbolic platform, her art prompts expression, dialogue, and action.
Above: Amalia Pica, Now, Speak!, 2011– . Cast concrete, live performance. Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously. This version was cast in 2012 by Public Art Fund for exhibition and public use in City Hall Park, New York.