This Is Only Practice

Our fabulous Marketing Intern Will went on an adventure through the non-public buildings of MASS MoCA to share his thoughts on the LeWitt Practice Walls:


After five weeks of working at MASS MoCA I finally gathered up enough courage to go wander our campus of abandoned factory buildings in search of a treasure that had intrigued me since my first week. Like any first week on the job I was taken around and given a tour of the building, shown where the bathrooms are, and given a history of the museum and the buildings we occupy. I learned that we have renovated and are using only 6 or so buildings out of a total of 27. I also learned that we use the remaining non-public buildings for a wide variety of things, mainly storage and workshops, but some hold treasures of times past. You can see previous MASS MoCA blogs that highlight the time capsule-like nature of our buildings, where you can find old tabloids with Tom Selleck on the cover. But what interested me most about these buildings were a set of practice walls used in preparation for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted October 14, 2009 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Interns, LeWitt
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Did You Know?

A blog from Membership Manager Rebecca Rice:


I’ve been working at MASS MoCA for a year, and I’m still fascinated by the museum and the long industrial history of our campus.  For example, did you know that Arnold Print Works, which operated on our campus from the 1860s until 1942, produced cloth for Union Army soldiers’ uniforms during the Civil War?

Or that we’re constantly defying physics and gravity with our art?  In 2004-2005 we suspended nine cars from the roof Read the rest of this entry »

Posted June 17, 2009 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Staff
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We need your help!

Letters of support to legislators for our two shovel ready projects would be invaluable in helping secure this funding for North Adams and the Berkshires.

MASS MoCA’s projects under consideration are:

1.  Solar Center:  Expanding on our successful existing array of solar panels we have proposed increasing our capacity to turn the sun into electricity tenfold and creating a public showcase and educational training facility for large scale solar energy technologies.  Download a PDF to learn more.

2. Berkshire Art & Archive Center, a 30,000 sf, climate-controlled, high-security archive, art storage and digitalization facility that would be built on the existing 8,500-square-foot concrete foundation of the former Building 15, which was torn down in 2004.  The Center would not only provide storage and archive space for the museum, but also lease space to cultural institutions and collectors. More details.

You can help make this a reality by calling, writing, or emailing your legislators listed here

State & Federal Officials

The Honorable Deval Patrick
Executive Office
State House
Boston, MA 02133

The Honorable Timothy P. Murray
Lieutenant Governor
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted April 16, 2009 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, North Adams, Solar energy, Support MASS MoCA
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Old Factory/New Power

From time to time  Joe Thompson, MASS MoCA’s Director, will let us know what’s on his mind.  Here’s his latest blog…

The previous two tenants of the great site we now occupy were forced to abandon the fort because of the costs of energy: Arnold Print Works literally went south, to avoid the energy transport costs of their raw materials.  And the oil crisis of the early 1970’s was in some ways the beginning of the end for the great Sprague Electric Company.

Making sure MASS MoCA isn’t the third to succumb to the costs of energy is at the very top of my “to do” lists.  Our artistic program is superb.  Our audiences are growing.  Our financial underpinning has improved markedly over the past 2 years.  But energy pricing still represents a huge institutional risk, and I want to put MASS MoCA on the other side of the supply & demand curve.

We’ve started, having installed one of the largest arrays of rooftop photovoltaic solar panels in the Northeast.  50 kilowatts is a very large array, but it’s a drop in the bucket for a huge campus like ours, generating only 4% of our total electrical need.  In conjunction with the solar initiative, we Read the rest of this entry »

Posted March 2, 2009 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Blogroll
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Flickr Finds: Tree Logic

As the winter months begin to take over our landscape I thought it would be nice to do a Flickr Finds featuring our upside down trees. Enjoy.

Please note all photos shown in Flickr Finds blogs retain the copyright of the original photographer. To learn more about the photographer and the licensing of their images, click on the photographer’s name to visit their Flickr profile.

From albany_tim

From Howlinhill

From paintingloftcom

From theophilus1918

From Eric Marc Crawford

From shop clementine

From br_5530

Even though this image is not of Tree Logic, I just couldn’t resist including this awesome shot of the tree turbine.

From Sundance Moods

The next Flickr Finds will feature photos of MASS MoCA signage. If you have a photo of the roof sign, the big yellow arrow, etc. upload it to the MASS MoCA Flickr Group now. Your picture could be featured here next month.



Posted November 12, 2008 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Exhibitions, Flickr Finds

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Not your Typical Desk/A Lever Long Enough

From our wonderful Box Office intern Rebecca Roy:

The history of North Adams oozes from the walls of mass moca; layers of paint reveal past lives; brick cornices remind us of another time.  In a fittingly contemporary appropriation of space, MASS MoCA has become the setting for a dialogue with history, industry, and architecture.  From mill to factory to museum, MASS MoCA’s varied histories are reflected in the building itself as well as in its architectural and interior design. To many visitors, the most obvious of these fixtures is the box office desk.

Suspended from the ceiling by a spring at one end and balancing on the floor on a fulcrum at its midpoint, the box office desk is a unique reminder of MASS MoCA’s transformation from an industrial manufacturing mill to an art museum.  Designed and constructed by Mike Green, the desk is composed of fabricated steel from I beams, wooden columns, and the spring from an elevator shaft. Not only is the desk a functional sculpture and a document of MASS MoCA’s past, but it is a living, bouncing testament to change and resiliency.

As a visitor leans on the desk to ask a question or sign a receipt, they usually realize that the box office desk is more than a decoration or a work of art.  The desk actually oscillates,  becoming a responsive and animated third party in the ticket selling process.  Temporary loss of balance or disorientation may occur. However,  upon discovering that our desk does indeed bounce, many visitors say that the desk reminds them of the Archimedes quote, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world.”  And even though our desk can’t literally move the world, maybe the art inside the galleries can.

Posted October 21, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG

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