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Thomas Krens, who once directed the Guggenheim Museum in New York and its overseas satellites, on Saturday joined with the former Massachusetts governors William Weld and Michael Dukakis to announce an ambitious plan to establish a “cultural corridor” between North Adams and Williamstown, Mass.

The project, intended to draw more visitors to the northern Berkshires and to help the economy of North Adams in particular, would include a new contemporary art museum, the renovation of a 1938 movie palace and the building of what Mr. Krens calls a museum for “extreme model railroading and contemporary architecture,” all in or near North Adams.

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The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, known for daring installations that can stretch as long as a football field, will announce Monday a group of long-term projects with some of the country’s most prominent living artists, including Laurie Anderson, James Turrell and Jenny Holzer, as well as a partnership with the foundation of the late post-abstract expressionist Robert Rauschenberg.

When the roughly $55 million project is completed in 2017, Mass MoCA will be the largest contemporary art museum in the country, with more than 250,000 square feet of gallery space. It will also be one of the most eclectic, with a campus that features everything from rock and bluegrass festivals to dance premieres and a 27,000-square-foot building devoted to the drawings of conceptual artist Sol LeWitt.

Published in News
Monday, 20 October 2014 14:42

A Look at Mass MoCA’s Expansion Plan

It keeps no permanent collection, and its exhibition focus is on new artwork. But the past is ever-present at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

In fact, an old hand-drawn map of the site, dating to when this sprawling campus of 26 buildings was home to Arnold Print Works, serves just fine as a visual aid for museum director Joseph C. Thompson as he stands in a conference room and points out spots on the museum campus that are targeted for an ambitious expansion plan.

Buildings that now showcase art are marked on the old map as blacksmith shops and coal sheds.

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has approved a $1.4 billion capital facilities bond bill that includes a $25.4 million grant for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). The financial boost will allow the institution to embark on the final phase of its multi-decade effort to renovate its 26-building, 60,000-square-foot factory campus. The Phase III development will include the addition of approximately 130,000 square feet of exhibition space, ultimately doubling the space currently available for shows, plus considerable work on the museum’s performing arts courtyard and other exterior venues.

Mass MoCA opened in North Adams -- a city nestled in the picturesque Berkshire Mountains -- in 1999.

Published in News
Friday, 22 August 2014 11:25

Mass MoCA's Expansion Plan has been Approved

With the stroke of Gov. Deval Patrick’s pen a few weeks ago, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art got the go-ahead to realize the nearly 30-year-old dream of transforming a 19th century, 26-building, 16-acre factory complex into a destination arts center that would also help revive the economy of North Adams, Mass.

As the art world knows, the road has been a bit bumpy and, along the way, the vision has changed. But Mass MoCA has hit something of a groove of late, giving state officials the confidence to allocate $25.4 million from state coffers for the expansion. Now, under director Joe Thompson — who’s been there for 29 years, from the beginning — it will reclaim almost all of the 600,000 square feet campus. Massachusetts taxpayers’ money will pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements, for fitting out the parts of the factory complex that are not currently in use, to make them ready for more art.

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The Massachusetts State Legislature is expected to vote this summer on a measure to fund a huge expansion at New England arts institution MASS MoCA.

Adding about 150,000 square foot of usable capacity, the expansion “would create a large quarter-mile-long figure-8 [shaped] layout—essentially double our exhibition space,” said longtime director Joseph Thompson in an interview with artnet News. The $25.4 million grant, in tandem with private monies already partly raised, would allow the Berkshires cultural institution to renovate more of its existing 26-building campus. The expansion would “open up a much more gracious circulation for the museum,” noted Thompson.

The measure has already passed several hurdles in the legislature, and museum staffers deem passage likely.

Published in News
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 17:54

MASS MoCA Teams up with Hall Art Foundation

The contemporary art institution MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts has embarked on a monumental collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation. The cornerstone of the partnership will be a comprehensive, long-term exhibition of sculpture and paintings by the German artist, Anselm Kiefer. The works will be housed in a 10,000-square-foot building, which was re-purposed by the Hall Art Foundation specifically for the Kiefer exhibition.

The show will include an 82-foot long, undulating wave-like sculpture made of cast concrete, exposed rebar, and lead; an installation containing over 20 beds made of lead with accompanying wall text and photographs; and a large-format commission created specifically for installation at MASS MoCA.

The Hall Art Foundation makes works of postwar and contemporary art from its collection and that of Andrew and Christine Hall available for the enjoyment and education of the public. Besides the new exhibition space at MASS MoCA, the Hall Art Foundation operates a contemporary art space in Reading, Vermont.

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