Video Vortex 1/22

Video Vortex = a weekly installment of our favorite videos from MASS MoCA artists and trailers for upcoming events, plus a few random viral creations as well.


Having the Tripod team on campus has been amazing so far; they even went to our local trivia night with a few of our staff members! Believe me they are just as funny in real life as they are in their videos. The show on the 30th is going to be an epic one!

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Grace Potter

Looking ahead to March, we are really excited to be hosting vermont based rock songstress Grace Potter and her band the Nocturnals.

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Random Goodness

And a little Sol LeWitt fun to get your weekend started!

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Posted January 22, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, LeWitt, Music, Video Vortex
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The Itsy Bitsy Spider Climbed up the Sol LeWitt

Marketing Intern Will encountered an interesting friend during his time spent in the Sol LeWitt galleries…

The other day as I was wandering through the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Exhibition, as I occasionally do to relax and take a little break from my normal intern duties, I noticed something alarming and peculiar. SOMETHING WAS ON ONE OF THE WALL DRAWINGS! Oh no, had someone kicked the wall leaving a little blob of mud? Had someone started to fill in Sol’s grid? Then suddenly the blob moved! What could this be?

As I got closer I noticed that it wasn’t mud or any kind of disfigurement but a tiny, itsy, bitsy, little spider. It was really kind of cute. He was just sitting there at the base of this MASSIVE (compared to his size) wall, slowly making his way upwards. It made me wonder if this Wall Drawing (#47), with its grid-like network of intersecting lines, looked like a gigantic spider web and my little friend was clinging on exploring what it had to offer him. It even looked like he was climbing up one single line or thread in his web!

I snapped of a few pictures to document his existence and amazingly silly paralleled efforts to his children’s story counterpart and let him be. Good luck little guy, just please don’t squirt any fly or bug guts on our walls!

Posted January 10, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Interns, LeWitt
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Old Couples Look Alike

Marketing Intern Will is at it again with this blog about a few awesome comparisons he’s noticed recently…

Now I would hardly call the relationship between our Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings and our factory Building 7 old, but they have been dating for a year now, something has to be said for that. In our modern world relationships are tough and staying together for a year or more is a big deal! I’m sure the drawings and the building have their little nothing fights, the walls complaining that “Its too cold in here we need insulated windows!” or “Pull down the blinds! That blaring sun hurts me!” while the building retorts “Why should I? You never do anything around here. All you do is sit around all day in the same spot!” But regardless of these little qualms I know that they have a strong relationship; one that will go the distance, that is longer than any relationship Buildings 4 and 5 have ever had with a work of art.

As I have been giving tours of the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective, I have been noticing a few peculiarities within Building 7 that weren’t apparent the first time I walked through and have only become noticeable after some time. What I have come to notice is that the walls of Building 7, in certain places, look a lot like some of the Wall Drawings on exhibit. Pretty crazy, I know, but take a look at these comparisons and I’m sure you’ll be convinced too:

Pretty crazy huh!? I can’t decide if it is actually like the saying “Old Couples Look Alike” or if the guys who renovated Building 7 or executed the Wall Drawings were all playing tricks on us by leaving the walls with these patterns. I’d really like to know. So next time you come around to North Adams be sure to stop by and check Building 7 and Sol LeWitt out for yourself and let me know if you can see it or if I’m just going a little crazy.

Posted January 7, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Interns, LeWitt
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What’s in a name?

Our resident blogging rockstar Marketing Intern Will has a comment or two about our Sol LeWitt walls…

YAY! The Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective is ONE year old! One down, twenty four to go. Twenty four more years of visitors with an average of 100,000 visitors per year would mean 2,500,000 people could see the exhibition in its lifetime! That’s a lot of people and I think it is awesome that that many people will be able to see and experience this amazing display of Sol LeWitt’s most notable art medium.

One would think that this particular medium of art, a wall, would be very easy to maintain and conserve for many years. I mean some of the walls in our museum are over one hundred years old and the simple drywall walls in our homes are basically self-maintaining. When it comes to a wall as a work of art it would seem that it would be just as care-free, they don’t even collect dust! However, I have to remember that all works of art are not safe from one particular, almost uncontrollable conservation and preservation threat, the human finger!

Call it art and people seem magnetically attracted and subconsciously encouraged to touch it. Why do we do that? I honestly don’t have an answer for it. I think there is something about the fact that were aren’t supposed to touch that sprouts the little devil on our shoulder and makes us want to touch it.

It seems pretty silly to me especially when the art is made out of something so familiar, like concrete, cloth, stone, or even a wall. Yet the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawings are not free and protected from curious fingertips. You would think that all walls are the same and if you’ve touched one you’ve touched them all! But I can see how these Wall Drawings are different. They just seem to be SCREAMING for someone to touch them and feel them as if they are different somehow. And as a consequence of this tactile characteristic I have noticed that during its inaugural year the Wall Drawing Retrospective has suffered a few smudges and marks:

Yet we all know that smudging, scratching, and smearing a Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing is not the end of the world. The physical wall and the pencil or crayon marks on a painted ground are not what really hold the value. It was Sol’s idea and/or concept behind each wall drawing that holds the importance and for that reason the physical wall can be damaged and smudged. All you have to do is paint the whole wall white again and start over.

I guess that is easier said than done. For that to happen we would have to hire a handful of artists to come to North Adams to execute the damaged wall drawings again. We would also have to hire at least one Professional Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Draftsperson to oversee all of the repairs so they are executed to Sol’s standards. While all of this would be fine and dandy, although costly, wouldn’t it be easier if we just didn’t touch the walls?

This whole situation reminds me of Romeo and Juliet, when the two love birds are cooing at each other through the balcony and Juliet famously states

“that which we call a rose

by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Just before that Juliet said, “what’s in a name?” And that is exactly what puzzles me. Why do we have a desire to touch these walls when they are named art and yet we know that they are the same as the walls we have at home?

That which we call a Wall Drawing

by any other name would feel as ordinary;

so a Wall Drawing would,were it not a Wall Drawing called.

I see two solutions to this dilemma:

1. We could utilize the six practice wall drawing walls to our advantage. Why don’t we move them into the gallery space somewhere and then visitors can touch away! Everyone can get all of their touchy curiosity out on these practice walls, that are technically not actual works of art, and then continue to enjoy the rest of the exhibition without any temptation to touch the actual works of art.

2. Maybe it is a problem with our disclaimer wall labels:

We have numerous of these wall labels littered throughout the galleries and in a plethora of different languages.

In an ideal world we would be able to read these signs and remind ourselves that we are not allowed to touch the walls. But maybe we don’t have enough languages? I am now on a mission to expand our signage to as many languages as possible. My first translation is Nahuatl, the language spoken by the Aztecs (and about one million native speakers in modern Mexcio):

Assuming not all of these smudges and fingerprints were left by Nahuatl speakers I will continue my mission, expanding our wall labels to many more often overlooked languages: Elfish, Klingon (for our Star Trek visitors), Bocce (for our Star Wars visitors), maybe Russian or Hindi, and I still can’t decide if Braile would be a good idea or not…

Anyways, this has probably gone long enough, check out our Flickr photo set for all of our multi-lingual disclaimer labels, and remember

“If you’ve touched a wall you’ve touched ’em all!

Posted December 28, 2009 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under Architecture, BLOG, Exhibitions, Interns, LeWitt
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Which LeWitt will Santa bring?


Late last week we launched our NEW online store.  Now you can shop for MASS MoCA gear in your pajamas at 2 AM (which is usually when the urge for a new t-shirt or catalog strikes, how else can one explain the success of QVC and Home Shopping Network?)

Please take part in our completely unscientific poll and let us know which of the beautiful LeWitt ceramics you’d like to find under the tree this year.  See the full selection here.   We’ll draw a name from everyone who responds and send you a free t-shirt. (Sorry we can’t send you the LeWitt pottery you like, we are a non-profit after all….)

Posted December 14, 2009 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Hardware, LeWitt, MASS MoCA by Design

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An Exploration of the MASS MoCA Galaxy Part Deux

A long time ago in a gallery far, far away…

The Millennium Falcon and its heroic passengers have escaped the perilous star system of Kidspace and found themselves barreling down an antiquated worm hole. Ever since they entered into the MASS MoCA Galaxy it has not been hard to find excitement and a plethora of foreign terrains and curious lifeforms. The worm hole shot them into the center of the Galaxy that revolves around an aptly-sized planet, Planet LeWitt. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted November 19, 2009 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Interns, LeWitt
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