Morgan Bassichis: More Little Ditties

  • Don’t Rain On My Bat Mitzvah by Morgan Bassichis, co-created with Ira Khonen Temple, featuring Emma Alabaster, Zoë Aqua, April Centrone, and Pam Fleming. Commissioned by Creative Time for Red Stage by Rashid Johnson, June 5-July 4, 2021. Performed live in Astor Place, July 4, 2021. Photo by Matteo Prandoni/

  • Morgan Bassichis, still from All I Need, 2023. Digital animation. Written and performed by Morgan Bassichis, animated by Daniel Pineda. Courtesy the artist.

  • Morgan Bassichis, still from All I Need, 2023. Digital animation. Written and performed by Morgan Bassichis, animated by Daniel Pineda. Courtesy the artist.

  • Klezmer for Beginners by Morgan Basssichis, co-created with Ethan Philbrick, featuring Eva Boodman, Christina Crowder, and Debra Kreisberg, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Abrons Arts Center, New York. Klezmer for Beginners was commissioned by Abrons Arts Center through the Performance AIRspace Residency, which is supported by the Jerome Foundation.

  • Morgan Bassichis, Quarantunes, March 17, 2020. Instagram video, 52 seconds. Courtesy of the artist.

  • Morgan Bassichis, Quarantunes, April 4, 2020. Instagram video, 59 seconds. Courtesy of the artist

  • Cover of Questions to Ask Before Your Bat Mitzvah, 2023, published by Wendy’s Subway. Edited by Morgan Bassichis, Jay Saper, and Rachel Valinsky. Illustrations by Nicole Eisenman. Design by Tiffany Malakooti.


Jun 30 – Sep 3, 2023
Level 3 Sert Gallery

The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts is pleased to present Morgan Bassichis: More Little Ditties, the first institutional exhibition by comedic performer Morgan Bassichis, on view June 30 to September 3, 2023. For More Little Ditties, the artist brings together performance, video, and text-based works–created both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic–that mark time, loss, desire, disappointment and joy through playful musical gestures. The exhibition is co-organized with the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, where it will be on view September 8, 2023 to January 7, 2024.

Through deceptively simple and incantatory “little ditties,” Bassichis approaches urgent questions with critical curiosity, poetry and—crucially—pleasure. Performing solo as well as working collaboratively in duets and groups, Bassichis’ practice offers intimate encounters with learning, collectivity, and lineages of queer and Jewish radicalism. As noted by the artist, these “songs fall somewhere between adult lullabies and practical spells, and will not include concrete policy recommendations but maybe they should?”
Visitors are welcomed by an installation of Bassichis’ Quarantunes (2020), a series of improvised songs created during the first months of mandated social distancing, and a display of free self-help brochures illustrated and designed by DonChristian Jones, called Questions to Ask Beforehand (2022). Included in the exhibition is documentation from three performances that explore lineages of queer and Jewish radicalism through humor and music: More Protest Songs! (2017), Klezmer for Beginners (2019), co-created with Ethan Philbrick, and Don’t Rain on My Bat Mitzvah (2021), co-created with Ira Khonen Temple. 
Two new works have been created for the exhibition. First, a new young adult anthology, published by Wendy’s Subway, and co-edited by Bassichis, Jay Saper, and Rachel Valinsky, titled Questions to Ask Before Your Bat Mitzvah. The book brings together thirty-six artists, activists, writers, and rabbis to open-heartedly reflect on questions about Jewish tradition, Zionism, and solidarity, and will be available to read and purchase in the exhibition. Questions to Ask Before Your Bat Mitzvah reimagines the rite of passage of the B’nai Mitzvah as an opportunity for people of all ages and genders to explore assumptions about ritual, nationalism, and community. The exhibition will also debut a new music video for what Bassichis hopes will be a “gay pop hit about seltzer,” animated by Daniel Pineda. Taken together, these works expand the artist’s interdisciplinary research into modes of transmission across generations. 
The exhibition is curated by Dan Byers, John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts; and Amber Esseiva, Curator, Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University; with Danni Shen, Curatorial and Public Programs Assistant, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.

About the Artist

Morgan Bassichis (b. 1983, Newton, MA) is based in New York City. Their work has been presented in New York by Abrons Arts Center, Danspace Project, The Kitchen, and New Museum of Contemporary Art; and in Portland, OR, at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA). Bassichis’s first solo exhibition, Questions to Ask Beforehand, opened at Bridget Donahue in New York City in March 2022. They were included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial and the 2015 edition of Greater New York at MoMA PS1. Their book “The Odd Years” was published by Wendy’s Subway in 2020. Bassichis has released two album-length recordings: March is for Marches with Ethan Philbrick (2019) and More Protest Songs! Live From St. Mark’s Church (2018).

Morgan Bassichis: More Little Ditties is made possible by Teiger Foundation

Generous support for Carpenter Center programing is provided by the Friends of the Carpenter Center