Matte BLACK 2018 Mixes Rave Style with Performance Art

Matte BLACK hosted their annual high-fashion concert and art exhibition on March 31st. The secretive event only disclosed its location to partygoers hours prior to the event; this year’s underground party was held at a Bushwick warehouse. The venue was completely transformed into a millennial paradise– conceptual art hung outside the booming techno tents adorned with multiple bars, brick walls, and electric signs. Over 5,000 attendees danced to beats by EDM artists and producers like Frank Ocean’s collaborator NOLIFE and house music group Dixon.

A BLACK guest enjoying the show.

This year’s Matte BLACK theme of disruption was evident among the constant shifts of decor throughout the two tents of the festival. One area, a more private smaller setting, emphasized on-stage singers and interactive performances. The outside commonplace housed art displays and the larger warehouse was purely a rave scene with beams of white and red light timely blinking in tune to the hypnotic music.

Celebrities such as singer Rita Ora, actress Rebecca Dayan, musician Andrew Watt, “Drowners” frontman Matt Hitt, and models Binx Walton and Kesewa Aboah were in attendance.

Matte BLACK is seen as a movement rather than an event, according to its founders.

BLACK was founded in 2012 by Brett Kincaid and Max Pollack with the goal to redefine the festival experience. “BLACK’s goal is really to create a moment where people can kind of get inspired, explore and lose themselves,” founder Pollack said. “It’s really about bringing different cultures to light across different music spectrums and different art.”

The interactive art element of BLACK is what makes the festival so unique. “You can actually experience the art versus just looking at it as kind of a flat object,” founder Kincaid added. “They’re very interactive in a visual and experiential way.”

The eerie installation by New York Sunshine.

The artist highlight of the evening was “One Ton Tank” by New York Sunshine. The hand-crafted tank housed a swimmer in a black leotard as they stared out at the crowd, almost reminiscent of a Houdini act. The swimmers changed throughout the night, striking different haunting poses each time.

Yet BLACK is neither rave nor art exhibit, but rather a modern synergy of the two. “I think it’s important that BLACK is not defined by one genre,” Pollack continued. “It’s really in a lot of ways an event that showcases and kind of brings together lots of different forms of music and art.”

Matte BLACK was truly a transcendent event. Try to snag tickets next year if you can.