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Building 5 Through the Years

In just a couple of weeks, Sanford Biggers’ show The Cartographer’s Conundrum will be at MASS MoCA. With another exciting installation about to take place in our giant Building 5 gallery, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the shows that have graced this enormous space in the past.

1999-2000: The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece

In 1999, Robert Rauschenberg’s extensive work was our first major exhibit in the space. This self-contained collage-like retrospective of mixed media also served as the setting for MASS MoCA’s grand opening gala.

 

2001-2003: 14 Stations

In 2001, Robert Wilson’s sculptural installation 14 Stations filled the space. It was a seminal interpretation of the Via Crucis or “Way of the Cross”- referring to the moments of passion Christ experienced en route to crucifixion. Visitors could peer into each structure to experience the different scenes and figures along the way.

 

2004-2005: Inopportune

A few years later, nine exploding cars took over the 300 foot long gallery, suspended from the ceiling with multicolored rods shooting in all directions. This dramatic stop-motion moment served as the centerpiece for Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s show Inopportune.

 

2007-2008: Projections

In 2007, Jenny Holzer transformed the space with large-scale projections of selected poetry by Wislawa Szymborska. Coupled with giant bean bags scattered throughout the room, visitors were invited to sit back and absorb the surreal landscape and accompanying messages.

 

2008-2009: The Nanjing Particles

In 2008, English conceptual artist Simon Starling animated the huge exhibition space with large sculptural forms derived from microscopic particles.

 

2009-2010: Gravity is a Force to be Reckoned With

A year later, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle explored the failings of Modernism with his upside-down glass house. The exhibit was based on Mies van der Rohe’s uncompleted project The House With Four Columns (1951), a square structure open to view on all four sides through glass walls. Everything hung in suspension and a phone rang off the hook.

 

Up next…. Stay tuned for Sanford Biggers’ show, opening on February 4, 2012!

 

Here’s to many more amazing shows in the future!

 

 

Posted January 23, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Exhibitions, Inigo Manglano-Ovale, Katharina Grosse, Simon Starling
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Behind the Scenes: Katharina Grosse Installation

Director Joe Thompson offers the dirt on the progress of the Katharina Grosse installation.

When Katharina Grosse asked for 600 or 700 cubic yards of soil, shaped into mounds, for her upcoming work, One Floor Up More Highly, that seemed a straightforward enough request.  But then – once we engineered solutions for floor loading, and sourced the right mixture of loam and clay – the question arose, how the heck do we get the dirt into the building?  While we pride ourselves on our DIY, bootstrapping approach, anybody who’s moved a yard or two of dirt knows that this was no job for wheelbarrows.  So we swallowed our pride, cancelled the order for Advil, and called in local earthmoving experts Jim Galusha and Brian Turton, who helped devise an ingenious system which used a front end loader, three interlinked conveyor belts, and, inevitably, some strong backs and many shovels.  It worked: the earth…  moved …  under our feet, and our excellent fabrications crew is still smiling, having dodged enlistment in the wheelbarrow brigade.

Now all we have left is a little cleaning up to do, as Katharina prepares to undertake a massive painting in which she claims the entire building’s walls, windows, floors — and the dirt mountains — as her ground.

The show opens Dec 21, which, by the way, may be the worst day ever chosen for a museum opening: it’s a Tuesday (we’re normally closed on Tuesdays, just to make it worse) and this is smack dab in the middle of holiday frenzy. But there are three good things about it: Katharina’s work is going to be spectacularly beautiful and strangely eerie, like a Casper David Friedrich landscape; it’s winter solstice, the days grow longer from this day forth; and we’ll be serving hot toddies, so the 27 of you who come will have a terrific time.  Oh, and you can shop for holiday gifts at our store Hardware too.  Join us!

Posted December 9, 2010 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Exhibitions, Katharina Grosse
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