Posts tagged with "MASS MoCA":

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Gluckman Tang reveals Heritage Park master plan linking Gehry and Nouvel designs

New York-based Gluckman Tang Architects has released their master plan for Western Gateway Heritage State Park (Heritage Park), an integral piece of the larger redevelopment in North Adams, Massachusetts. The proposal links the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the restored waterfront, Main Street, and the site of Frank Gehry's future Extreme Model Railroad Museum (EMRCAM). The project is part of a larger "cultural corridor" that ultimately hopes to bring the Bilbao effect to this corner of Massachusetts. The plan breaks up Heritage Park into three distinct plazas connected by walking paths. Each area revitalizes the historic industrial buildings within while better connecting to other parts of the city. The North Plaza will contain a new amphitheater, while the Central Plaza will hold a grove of birch trees and outdoor seating. The South Plaza will help orient visitors to Gehry's railroad museum. Originally slated for a 14,000-square-foot, 19th century warehouse inside the park, the Gluckman Tang-designed EMRCAM was scrapped for a 75,000-square-foot Gehry design elsewhere. Featuring architectural dioramas by Gehry himself and Zaha Hadid, the new museum will be located across the street from the MASS MoCA. Gluckman Tang will be converting the original park building into a Museum of Time and add another 6,000 square feet, a glazed entryway and a steep butterfly roof. Other than the museum, Gluckman Tang has also proposed converting a 3,250-square-foot coal hopper into a distilling hall, complete with a new 4,000-square-foot retail space and tasting room. “In addition to improving the experience for visitors to North Adams, our master plan will enhance the central role of the city in the Cultural Corridor and its anchor institutions, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) and The Clark Art Institute,” said Gluckman Tang principal Richard Gluckman. One question left unanswered is how Jean Nouvel will factor into the evolution of North Adams. The French architect was reportedly in consideration to master plan the city as of last year, but news of his involvement has been scant since then. Leading the redevelopment initiative and museum complex is Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Foundation. Krens has a storied history with Nouvel, and it seems the architect’s ideas will make it into the master plan in one way or another.
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Gehry Partners to design Extreme Model Railroad Museum in Massachusetts

The proposed Extreme Model Railroad Museum in North Adams, Massachusetts, will be designed by Gehry Partners and developed on a new site in the town. The original design by Gluckman Tang Architects sited in the town’s Heritage State Park will instead become a new Museum of Time based on the New York architect's design. The Berkshire Eagle initially revealed the appointment, and the museums have confirmed the news with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). AN has learned that Gehry is designing the train museum, adding that the project has increased from 32,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet.  In addition, the project is moving out of Heritage State Park and across the river to a different site. The projects, located on an 83,000-square-foot parcel on Christopher Columbus Drive, will be located just down the street from MASS MOCA, for which Gehry provided initial designs in 1987. Gehry has collaborated several times with the director of the new museums, Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Museum. Their most notable partnership came with the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1997. Gluckman Tang’s designs had called for large, pitched-roofed, warehouse-like spaces marked with sawtooth skylights. Gehry’s designs are still forthcoming.  The Architecture Museum will display large-scale art and architecture works and installations that would never fit in museums in cramped urban contexts. The Extreme Model Railroad Museum will feature scale model trains moving through architectural dioramas created by the likes of Gehry and Zaha Hadid. According to the Eagle, the current plans will cost about $65 million, and fundraising is ongoing. Krens—always ambitious—is also proposing to build the Massachusetts Museum of Time and a distillery in the area, and he’s suggested that Jean Nouvel design the city’s master plan. In addition, Gluckman Tang is doing a master plan for the city's Heritage Park and designing the new Global Contemporary Art Museum on the grounds of the local airport. William Menking contributed reporting. 
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James Turrell rooms, a 15-ton Louise Bourgeois sculpture, and many site-specific works feature in MASS MoCA expansion

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) is about to become the largest museum of contemporary art in America. Sitting at the heart of downtown North Adams, the sprawling museum inhabits a hodgepodge of 26 structures, all former 19th-century factory buildings, and the largest of which has just completed renovation. When it opens, Building 6 will add 150,000 square feet to the museum’s already impressive capacity, almost doubling it in size. The building boasts almost an acre per floor plate and is wedged at the convergence of the Hoosic River, making it an odd triangular shape. The point of the triangle marks the end of the museum and is highlighted with a newly-created double-height wall of west-facing windows looking out at the surrounding mountains. With such a large amount of ground to cover, the design team at Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Bruner/Cott & Associates decided to treat the space as a landscape, with artist-dedicated rooms and two-story volumes punctuating the relentlessly horizontal space, according to lead designer and Principal Jason Forney. Altogether, Building 6 brings MASS MoCA’s total gallery square footage to 250,000 square feet, of which 40,000 square feet of space is dedicated to the performing arts. (Performing arts makes up about 50 percent of the museum’s programming.) With new event spaces and an expanded back-of-house in Building 6, the museum is now more equipped to cater to their summer music festival crowds and provide artists with more workshop space to realize their art. As the latest addition comes together, teams of fabricators and curators are working to realize some of the complex site-specific works that will soon call MASS MoCA home. In the exhibit of works by James Turrell, whose pieces require large volumes of space, a team of nineteen people has been working since December. Because Turrell uses light and color fields, it was important for him to provide visitors with moments of visual quiet to help their eyes adjust between the different atmospheres, which he was able to coordinate with the design team. Where Turrell required volume and circulation, MASS MoCA's new Louise Bourgeois artwork required beefing up the already hardy structure. The museum will host several of her marble sculptures, one of which weighs 15 tons. In order accommodate these pieces, a new concrete structure and steel fillers were added, and a hole was cut into the side of the building to crane the sculptures into place. It may sound like a lot of gymnastics, but as Director Joseph C. Thompson put it, it’s what Mass MoCA was designed to do. It is also what makes MASS MoCA such a unique art-viewing experience. Where most museums are washed in white, painstakingly designed to maximize lighting and minimize distractions, Building 6 is well-worn, dominated by relentless columns and flooded with natural light from its hundreds of windows. It is unmistakably an old mill and yet, somehow, it works. “The buildings, as you can see, are almost painfully beautiful, but they’re tough. They’re rugged, vernacular, raw, American industrial buildings,” said Thompson. “So the work we show here can either stand up to that or it looks beautiful in juxtaposition to that.” The building’s ‘rugged’ and ‘raw’ aesthetic is preserved, but not without a few alterations. Columns were removed where necessary and replaced with “ghosts,” or wooden caps in the floor. New steel columns were placed to bear the burden of their ‘ghosted’ brethren and were painted with white fire-protectant paint, standing in stark contrast to their weathered wooden neighbors. Rather than disguise the alterations to preserve the building’s character, each intrusion was highlighted as a visual index of the building’s new life. “I think you can be too tentative and have too much respect for the old when it doesn’t deserve it,” said Forney. “This building was altered and changed to accommodate whatever operation it had going so we started to see this as just a continuation of all the changes that had happened over time. It was about preserving this living museum instead of preserving each wall or each window.” The new space promises to be an intriguing precedent for future museums and, if nothing else, will be a great place to get your steps in walking the almost four miles of galleries. MASS MoCA will open Building 6 on May 28 and will house works from James Turrell, Louise Bourgeois, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Anderson, Gunnar Schonbeck, and many others. For more information about the museum and to visit the new space, visit MASS MoCA’s website here.
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Jean Nouvel may master plan downtown of North Adams, Massachusetts

Jean Nouvel visited western Massachusetts “about a dozen years ago for Thanksgiving” and is now being considered to master plan the downtown of North Adams. He met last Friday with North Adams Mayor Richard J. Alcombright to discuss ideas and plans for the development of the Berkshire city and said he is “intrigued and impressed by the recent developments at the Clark and Mass M0CA.” Nouvel also released the following statement: “The concept of a cultural corridor in northwest Massachusetts is unique. The existing institutions are phenomenal. The combination of elements that exists here is like no other that I know of. The landscape, the topography, the colors, and the collision of Main Street, the overpass, and the railroad lends itself to an extraordinary and precise intervention or series of interventions that would preserve the scale of the city, and build on the concentration of cultural resources in the region.” With former Guggenheim Foundation Director Thomas Krens planning a new museum complex in the town's small airport, this is a region that thinks big!
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Alex Da Corte’s dark, comical, and sinister spectacle “Free Roses” at Mass MoCA

In April, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) opened a vibrant multi-part installation and survey of works from the Philadelphia-based artist Alex Da Corte. Titled Free Roses, the show is a dark, comical, and sinister spectacle that highlights the opulence of kitsch objects. Mediums on display include paintings, sculptures, videos, and photography within a palatial environment of plush carpeting, mirror-striped floors, and multi-hued neon lighting. Rarely do the works within a museum exceed the sum of their own parts and generate a surplus environment in the way Free Roses accomplishes.

Da Corte is an artist within the tradition of pop and surrealism known for frequently collaborating with and borrowing the work of artists to remix objects and environments to represent mass consumer culture. While themes of anxiety, the uncanny, and the everyday dominate the individual works, the subject of the Free Roses show is actually architecture. Recent projects by Da Corte have been immersive installations that play with the malleability of time, the fluidity of space, and the design of cinematic narratives as an invisible and plastic architecture. Free Roses continues within this trajectory and presents a cinematic and spatial mise-en-scène that, more than any other recent contemporary show, brings questions and conversations about the relationship between art, architecture, site, and installation to the forefront.

Such a conversation may have been drowned by the recent seemingly nonstop announcements of museum expansions. Mass MoCA is no exception; a campus in the former factory town of North Adams, the museum has been expanding for 25 years. Recently it announced the rehabilitation and renovation of a factory building, led by the firm Bruner/Cott, that will bring an additional 120,000 square feet of gallery space. The plans include a long-term installation of immersive light environments by artist James Turell. However, unlike the vast contemplative empty spaces of a Turell work, Free Roses is a transportive, neon-lit fantasy world loaded with cultural signifiers, reminiscent of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s descriptions of the Las Vegas strip.

New work from Da Corte, in the form of a sprawling ensemble, is the centerpiece of Free Roses and is presented as a sequence of sculptural tableaux and amalgams of spatialized memories. Set within eight zones, framed by a floored square parcels and hanging square neon lights, the viewer is free to walk in-between and around the taut environment of literal free-floating signifiers. Titled Lightning, the installation is a reference to the Joseph Beuys sculpture Lightning with Stag in its Glare, which is on long-term view at Mass MoCA. Inspiration for the elements of Lighting are taken from a mixture of experience in a suburban home and films such as Singin’ in the Rain, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Beetlejuice and A Clockwork Orange. All together, the work presents the idea of a modern home and its inhabitant’s mind deconstructed and made undone, both literally and figuratively. The first tableau is of a house with only a freestanding facade. The seven surrounding pieces are hazy memories of life within its interior: plastic swans circling in a pool of pink water, a giant tissue box, a stuffed-dog walking in an infinite loop, an oversized Coca-Cola can, and an off-scale pool table, among others. These neon plastic and camp works leave a nightmarish impression of memories turned sequenced film stills.

Da Corte skillfully manipulates the familiar to produce a sense of jamais vu, the uncanny feeling that something seen many times before is suddenly strange and unfamiliar. Free Roses additionally includes important past works from the 35-year-old artist’s growing portfolio. Easternsports is a four-channel video installation projected on four monumental freestanding walls that envelop viewers into the three-hour long video piece. The interiors and architecture within the piece are uncanny and nearly disturbing in symmetry, pattern, and color—all of which spill out into the gallery space containing the piece. This vibe permeates through both the work and the gallery, creating a fluidity of space and malleability of time that persists through Free Roses.

When speaking about his work in relation to architecture, Da Corte said in Interview Magazine: “It’s something else that’s about making a space vibrate in terms of strange energies or something in the room. You have to physically build that into a space, but then it has to recede.”

The final tableau of Lightning is a sculptural rendition of the iconic ending to the Looney Tunes cartoons, but with the “That’s all Folks!” missing. As it naturally should, the spatial-cinematic show continues with Scene 2. The culmination of Free Roses is the aforementioned Lightning—it is one of the most theatrical installations and one that depicts a natural and primordial scene within the arrangement of its elements. Scene 2 builds on the theatrics and contributes green fluorescent lights, carpeting, essential pine oils for scent, and an ambient soundtrack by the musician Dev Hynes, and in doing so casts all new meanings onto Beuys’s work. With Free Roses Da Corte masterfully blurs the distinction between art and architecture with a formless cinematic aesthetic.

Free Roses is open at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art through January 2017.

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Gluckman Mayner reportedly designing new Global Contemporary Collection & Museum in the Berkshires

The beautiful rolling landscape of Northwestern Massachusetts has been the home to important academic institutions for over 100 years. But in the past thirty years it has also become the home of major art museums, including Williams College Museum of Art, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), and, just down the road, the Clark Art Institute. Now the Berkshire Eagle newspaper and local magazine iberkshires.com are reporting that another important art museum may be located in the region. Thomas Krens—the man behind MASS MoCA—is proposing the creation of 160,000 square foot art gallery on the grounds of the local airport. The Eagle reported that Krens proposed the new museum would “be privately owned by a for-profit group of investors and cost an estimated $10 million to $15 million." It would be called the Global Contemporary Collection & Museum and have a collection of about 400 works of art. The museum is only in the early planning stages, but Krens claimed to have been working on its formation for many years. He originally proposed the idea for a site in China. Now, the idea has approval from the airport commission to enter into negotiations with Krens to study its feasibility. The paper also reported that Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Mayner Architects has done the early schematic drawings for the project. The museum would be located in an industrial area, next to the local Stop & Shop and adjacent to the airport runway. Krens was quoted in iberkshires.com saying that the concept for the museum is for it to be “super sophisticated, super inexpensive but elegant industrial architecture, something Richard Gluckman specializes in.” If the project comes to fruition, it will join MASS MoCA’s elegant 1995 Bruner/Cott Architects factory renovation and a 2014 Tadao Ando (with Selldorf Architects) addition at the Clark as important architectural projects in the area.
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Facade Alterations by Bruner/Cott Turn Steam Plant Inside Out

Renovation transforms decommissioned McKim Mead & White building into campus event space.

When Amherst College decided to convert a former steam plant into a student event space, the choice likely struck some observers as odd. Designed in 1925 by McKim, Mead & White, the coal-burning plant was decommissioned in the 1960s; since the 1980s, it had been used as a makeshift garage for ground equipment.  The facade of the neglected building needed to be opened up to reveal its potential while respecting its good bones. "It wasn't in great shape, but it wasn't in terrible shape," said Bruner/Cott's Dana Kelly. "Impressively enough, the school recognized that it had qualities that could be harnessed for a new student space." The brick building's industrial aesthetic was a particular draw, said Kelly, whose firm has spearheaded renovations at the nearby MASS MoCA (itself a former industrial complex) since the museum opened in 1999. For Amherst College, Bruner/Cott took a similar approach, balancing preservation and alteration to support the new program without disrupting the historic building's essential character. By the time Bruner/Cott began work on the Powerhouse, the original brick envelope had already seen a lot of change. Earlier renovators had filled windows with glass block, rebuilt a blind arch in mismatching brick, and cut a large garage door into the south facade. "Since the building had been altered so much, we chose to continue the dialogue by restoring or reconstructing some exterior elements, and sensitively altering others to match the new use and open the building up to campus," said Bruner/Cott's Jason Forney and Aoife Morris. On the side of the building facing the campus road, the architects inserted a new steel and glass entrance into a blind brick arch. On the south facade, to connect the interior to the new outdoor terrace, they inserted historic replica windows and french doors in place of the glass block, and swapped out the roll-up garage door for a bi-fold glass door. On the north side, which faces the parking lot, Bruner/Cott retained the existing glass block. "The observer still reads the McKim, Mead & White design, but with the changes the building has evolved to be an extroverted part of campus instead of being an introverted coal-burning steam plant," said Forney and Morris.
  • Facade Manufacturer Universal Window & Door (glazing), OldCastle (entrances), Vermont Structural Slate (roofing)
  • Architects Bruner/Cott
  • Facade Installer Waterman Excavating, Inc.
  • Location Amherst, MA
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • System renovated brick shell with new glazing, doors, and slate roof, board-formed concrete addition
  • Products Universal glazing, OldCastle entrances, Vermont Structural Slate roofing, Wilson Doors overhead bi-fold door, Stiles and Hart waterstruck brick, custom sign from Roll Barresi & Associates
Environmental performance was a priority for the architects, who will monitor the building's energy consumption during occupancy. They talked Amherst College into opting for operable windows over mechanical cooling. For heat, they chose a hydronic radiant floor and an overhead infrared heater that runs on gas. "These systems work to heat the bodies of occupants, instead of heating the large volume of air in the space," explained Forney and Morris. An insulated chamber designed by Bruner/Cott captures waste heat from the new steam plant below the building and releases it into the event space during the winter. The architects chose not to insulate the interior walls "since their character was an important design element for the event space," said Forney and Morris. To compensate, they installed a new slate roof, heavily insulated with spray-on cellulose. The new roof, noted Forney and Morris, mixes two colors of stone "to achieve the mottled effect of the existing roof, which was beautiful but had outlived its lifespan." To avoid interrupting the Powerhouse's open plan, Bruner/Cott situated the restrooms in an understated addition constructed from board-formed concrete. "We find that additions like this are often necessary to support existing buildings without undermining their spatial qualities," observed Forney and Morris. To foreground the steam plant itself, "we chose to make the addition appear like a garden wall—a 'non-building,'" they said. "It is simply two offset concrete walls that conceal the door to the terrace." The contractor built the formwork from rough-hewn lumber to achieve a patinated look, and tinted the concrete to match the existing water table banding. The addition's gutters are designed to pour water down the face of the wall and hasten the appearance of age. Like Bruner/Cott's sensitive renovation, the steam plant's new moniker—the Powerhouse—effectively gestures at both the history of the building and its new incarnation as a campus activities hub. "Amherst College chose the name both to remind students of the building's industrial past, and to recognize its place in 21st-century student life," said Forney and Morris. Once responsible for producing heat, today the structure generates something less material, but equally important: student engagement.
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Renovations underway to help MASS MoCA become the nation’s largest contemporary art museum

MASS MoCA's rambling campus in the former factory town of North Adams, Massachusetts, has been 25 years in the making, and is now entering its third phase of development, starting with the rehabilitation of Building Six, a 120,000-square-foot space that's able to be flexibly programmed to create "Museums within the Museum." A collection of long-term exhibitions, featuring the work of James Turrell, Laurie Anderson, Jenny Holzer, Robert Rauschenberg, and Louise Bourgeois, is driving Bruner/Cott's renovation of the 19th century structure, which will also include rehearsal space and instrument gallery for Gunnar Schonbeck's Bang on a Can as well as a green room, event space, and art storage. The impressive scale of the three-story addition, with its one-acre floor plate, provides ample space to house these micro museums. The floor plans reveal that seven of Turrell's "works in light" will be presented in different nooks on the ground floor, the remaining two will be found on the second level, along with Bourgeois' sculptures and a rotating selection of works by Rauschenberg, which will also occupy space on the third floor, and include his 52-panel, The ¼ mile or 2 Furlong Piece. Dedicated areas for Bang on a Can, Jenny Holzer exhibition space, and Laurie Anderson's studio, gallery, and living archive will all be located on the third floor as well. The renovation will also allow the firm to develop better wayfinding throughout the campus and connectivity to the North Adams downtown business district. Building 6 is slated to be open to the public by 2017. Next up on the agenda is the repurposing of buildings 12 and 26/34 which will be used to exhibit other independent collections. When phase three is complete, MASS MoCA will take the title of largest contemporary art museum in the U.S.
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On View> Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil at MASS MoCA

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil MASS MoCA 87 Marshall St., North Adams, MA Through September 1, 2014 Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil is a survey of the Israeli-born, New York-based artist. Grand, labyrinthine, yet intimate, the exhibition occupies the entirety of MASS MoCA’s largest gallery. The works on display are rich with personal narrative, political metaphor, and myth, highlighting the many formal innovations Patkin has pioneered in the course of his 30-year career. The show’s centerpiece is a cycle of spectacular mural-size paintings on tulle fabric that are making their U.S. debut. Entitled “Veiled Threats,” the cycle was inspired by the late Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali’s writings on memory, loss, love, and exile. Co-organized by MASS MoCA, The Wandering Veil is coming to Massachusetts from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Tefen Open Museum in Israel, where it premiered last year.
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Upending Mies

Mies van der Rohe has suffered some indignities lately, with a building at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology knocked down and plastic palms taking root at the Dirksen Federal Building. Now comes Madrid-born artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s latest work, Gravity Is a Force to be Reckoned With, which realizes one of the master’s unbuilt projects—albeit upside-down. On display at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art through October 2010, the installation is an inverted, half-scale replica of Mies’ 50x50 House project (1951). The small, box-shaped house is completely enclosed in glass, and replete with black leather chairs, glass-topped tables, and a wood-partitioned kitchen counter containing a small range, a sink, a French press, and a teaspoon. But in Manglano-Ovalle’s version, the walls and floor of the structure do not touch the ground; the house appears suspended. The interior lighting is a clinical white. Viewers look up to see Miesian chairs and tables hanging from the structure’s ceiling, the floor of the inverted room. On one table, the screen of a cell phone glows next to a pack of cigarettes and a notebook. Below, a coffee cup has fallen victim to gravity, its shards lying in a puddle of spilled liquid on the ceiling. Manglano-Ovalle trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—he remains based in the city—and his many projects include a trio of films that center around Mies’ architecture: Le Baiser/The Kiss (1999), Climate (2000), and In Ordinary Time (2001). These were followed up by the artist’s 2006 film Always After (The Glass House), which is showing alongside the Gravity installation. The film presents broken glass being swept up, footage taken after Mies’ grandson used a sledgehammer to smash a window of IIT’s famous Crown Hall as part of that building’s restoration in 2005.