Aldrich Box returns for 2023, inspiring art patrons to move and perform

A new iteration of the Aldrich Box has arrived for 2023, with this year’s edition of the traveling art box revolving around movement and performance. 

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum began its traveling art box program during the pandemic in 2021 when the museum collaborated with a group of artists to create a box that would allow patrons to temporarily turn their homes into an art gallery by borrowing the box for a week at a time. The first box’s theme was rooted in emotions associated with the pandemic, with care, loss, intimacy and healing feelings connected to the 2021 boxes

The program was co-created by the museum’s director of education Namulen Bayarsaihan and chief curator Amy Smith-Stewart.

“The Aldrich Care Box is a unique project which blurs the lines of exhibition, public program and the very idea of a typical museum art viewing experience. One question we kept asking ourselves this past year was how to find opportunities to offer connection with art and artists that felt fresh while standing out among the cacophony of digital offerings,” Bayarsaihan said when the museum launched the 2021 box. 

“This year’s edition will focus on performance—underscoring the cooperative and interdisciplinary aspects of artmaking, accompanied by a schedule of programming,” the press release stated.

Instead of having five traveling boxes that are available over the course of a year, like the 2021 box, for 2023 the Aldrich will offer three iterations of the boxes that will be released throughout the year that run in conjunction with performances at the Aldrich. The first box, Creating Moments, which is available now, was created by dancer and choreographer Ali Kenner Bodsky. The two boxes that will be released later this year are by musician, composer and artist Laura Ortman and the feminist artist collective Hilma’s Ghost, founded by artists and educators Dannielle Tegeder and Sharmistha Ray. 

“The Aldrich Box was modeled after the Fluxus boxes and Duchamp’s ‘Box in a Valise,’ which were built to be performative, intended to be interactive, and emphasized accessibility,” Smith-Stewart said. “The idea to make performance and collaboration this edition’s theme underscores this dynamic interplay between art/artist(s) and public/private audience(s), creating personal and collective experiences within and outside the boundaries/confines of the museum/home.” 

The museum’s release said Creating Moments was designed in cooperation with potter Anna Highsmith, graphic designer and illustrator Cyrus Highsmith, carpenter and educator Sam Brodsky and musician MorganEve Swain. The pine box contains nine ceramic objects, nine movement prompts and a QR code for short musical scores and links to movement videos. 

“In this work, we offer you the space to explore your own movement impulses and movement vocabulary. We created a framework with prompts that will get you started, but these are just suggestions,” Kenner Brodsky said in an artist statement. “Feel free to follow your desires to create your own movement story. You can interpret these prompts however it makes sense for you. Whether the way you move is swimming or walking or playing sports or dancing, I hope you feel comfortable to take your personal embodied experience, trust it and interpret these prompts in the way that makes the most sense for you.”

In addition to the box, the museum will present “Moments,” a dance-theater piece by Kenner Brodsky that blends movement, sound and art direction. According to the press release the performance, scheduled for Jan. 21, “surveys themes of devotion, remembrance, passing and grief.”

The boxes will run through Dec. 31 and information on borrowing a box as well the performance information can be found at thealdrich.org