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Exploring Building 17

For the better part of my first two weeks as an intern at the museum, I was enlisted to do survey work of some of the yet-to-be renovated buildings on the MASS MoCA campus. At the same time I was getting better acquainted with the current boundaries of the museum space, I was also measuring the extent of the complex at large. Exploring all that real estate reminded me of the first time I was taught the scale of cosmological bodies in elementary school. First, we learned that the Sun is incomprehensibly large compared to the Earth, which already seemed pretty big. Then we learn that the Sun is only a red dwarf, a garnish on the astro-salads of all the supergiants laughin’ large in the sky. As big as MASS MoCA is right now, the complex is still filled with spaces like Building 17: artifacts of the old occupants (Sprague Electric) or at the very most, storage space for materials of older and ongoing exhibits. It’s uncertain if, when, and for what purpose all of the buildings on MASS MoCA’s campus will be reclaimed, but I wanted to make a record of what this one still contains.

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Posted August 18, 2008 by Gene Rutigliano
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Interns, North Adams
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No Crafts at Kidspace

Many children who come to Kidspace may have aspirations of picture coloring and that will keep them content. Their parents may be looking for an oasis where the kids will be occupied for a few minutes and they can move on to the “real art”. As an intern here for the summer I found so much more than coloring pictures and parents resting while their children ran circles around them…I found an actual children’s contemporary art gallery.

In all honesty, the first lesson I learned here was that we do not make crafts. We make and exhibit real art at Kidspace. Kids come to the gallery to learn about art and to make a project that reflects what they have learned. When I say art, I mean challenging art that makes them think and is relative to their life. Interpretations, the current show at Kidspace, is made out of over 40,000 spools of thread hung upside down throughout the gallery. The images are reproductions of classics like the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and American Gothic. As an art student I thought it was pretty clever. As an education intern, I didn’t know how we were going to talk to kids about this work. I mean at first I thought, what is a 5-year-old going to get out of this exhibit?

With these questions swimming in my head, I began preparing for my first official Kidspace tour. We broke down the work by asking kids questions such as what is a pixel and why does the art have “crystal balls” propped up in front of them? (hint, they are not to swing around on). After the kids thoughtfully examined the work that we showed them, they dug into making their own pixelated images. The things that they came up with were fantastic. Not only did some of the pixel drawings have a story behind them, but some were upside down like the artist’s work, some were a copy of the Mona Lisa. Kids were starting to pick up and run with the theme of Interpretations: they were interpreting art in their own unique way.

As my time here at Kidspace wraps up, I’ll be giving a tour to a group of middle school students. Once we are done discussing American Gothic and The Girl with a Pearl Earring, I will get to watch them create inspired images. Maybe after that I’ll be more inspired in my own art. Trust me; I won’t be working on any crafts.

-Erin Dougherty, Kidspace Summer 2008 Intern
Graduate Student, Arts Education, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN

Posted July 28, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Exhibitions, Interns, Kidspace
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Solar at MASS MoCA

Eric Kerns, our manager of Foundation & Corporate Grants wears an additional hat on campus. Here he reports on his second job:

As MASS MoCA’s renewable energy/conservation/recycling/energy efficiency wonk, I’m glad for the return of the sun after the monsoon-like rains of the past week. Our 52 kW solar array is churning out the juice today after getting a 1-year check up from our friends at Berkshire Photovoltaic Services. You can view real-time data from our solar array HERE. Since going online last May, our panels have generated an impressive 68,000 kWh, helping to offset our formidable utility costs. If you are unsure of what a kilowatt hour is … you are not alone. Here’s a little perspective. This chart was produced by the Rural Electrification Administration in 1938.

We’re also starting a massive retro-fitting project for all of our HVAC gear, installing new automated, super-efficient equipment that will leverage sizeable savings as energy prices continue to rise.

Artist Michael Oatman has been on-site this week, working on a top-secret artwork related to our solar project. If you have not seen his “teaser” work currently exhibited in the MASS MoCA lobby – come check it out. And if you have questions about solar energy at MASS MoCA, feel free to contact me at ekerns@massmoca.org.

Posted July 25, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG
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LeWitt Drawing has begun

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We are heralding the recent arrival of the LeWitt team. We’ve got 24 master artists plus 12 apprentices. The masters — senior and seasoned assistants who worked with the artist before his death in 2007 — include Tomas Ramberg, Nikolai Angelov, Takeshi Arita, Michael Vedder, Sachiko Cho, Elizabeth Christ, Megan Dyer, Lacey Fekishazy, Gabriel Hurier, Sarah Heinemann, John Hogan, Nick Kozak, Roland Lusk, Hideni Namura, Amy Rashbone, Emily Ripley, Anthony Sansotta, Mio St. Clair, Wim Starkenburg, Andrew Colbert, Chip Allen, Chris Cobb, Nobutu Suga.

Under the direction of Tomas Ramberg and Anthony Sansotta, teams of installers have been created with one of the master artists leading the interns and apprentices. The process of taking LeWitt’s original instructions for a wall drawing through to completion requires great attention to detail, and fosters a strong sense of camaraderie among the installers, who will be in residence through September 2008. In addition to intensive technical instruction, interns will benefit from lessons in art history each week and a behind-the-scenes view of the work of museums. Special gallery tours and seminar sessions will be given by MASS MoCA, Williams College Museum of Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

Apprentices, who are recent graduates with studio arts training, and who will be trained extensively in all techniques, are: Emily Arauz from Wellesley College, Sylvia Birns-Swindlehurst from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Lexie Bouwsma from Hampshire College, Matt Capezzuto from Yale School of Art, Emily Colman from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (welcome back to Emily who was the marketing intern here last year!), Julia Isenberg from Mt. Holyoke College, Aran Jones from Hampshire College, Heather Macionus from Truman University, Sam McCune from Trinity Christian College, Courtney McIlhenney, a North Adams resident, Anna Pickens from Alfred State College, Amanda Sciullo from Savannah College of Art and Design, and Jordan Starr-Bochicchio from University of Southern Florida.WELCOME ALL. We’re delighted you’re here! Remember April is the cruelest month, but there’s nothing like summer in the Berkshires!

Posted April 7, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Exhibitions, Interns, LeWitt
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The Miss Rockaway Armada goes where few dare to tread

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We’re delighted to have more than a dozen artists from The Miss Rockaway Armada in residence working on their installation which will be open to the public starting April 19. Check their blog for photos documenting their search for materials in the unrenovated buildings on the MASS MoCA campus. They’ll offer a FREE performance great for all ages on April 12 too.

Posted April 7, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Exhibitions
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Learn more about LeWitt

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Our friends just up the block at MCLA’s Gallery 51 in collaboration with Northern Berkshire Creative Arts are hosting a talk by Director Joe Thompson about the LeWitt’s artistic practice and place in art history; the LeWitt Project which will expand our gallery space by about 30% and be a (practically) permanent installation (well, 25 years); and its impact on North Adams and the Berkshires. The talk is free and open to the public.
Thursday, April 3
6 – 8 PM
MCLA Gallery 51
51 Main St. North Adams, MA

Posted March 27, 2008 by MASS MoCA
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Exhibitions, LeWitt, North Adams
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