Get a sneak peek at Mass MoCA’s Phase III expansion, “It’s a game changer…”

There is a lot going on this summer at Mass MoCA, but perhaps nothing is more unusual and tempting than a chance to see how their latest expansion project is coming along, physically, financially and artistically. So in anticipation of the 2017 Memorial Day Weekend unveiling of Building 6 — the site of MASS MoCA’s third and final phase of development of its 16-acre, 28-building campus — the museum will celebrate the progress of its landmark construction and fundraising effort on July 30 with an open house of Building 6, to include a construction update, hard hat tours, and a reception. Those who are contributors and members will of course be in attendance, but the event also offers a chance for those not-yet-supporters to become part of what will soon -once again – be the largest museum for contemporary art in the world.

New programs included in the Phase III expansion include:

    A series of temporary exhibitions, long-term installations, and scholarly programs realized in partnership with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, which will show Rauschenberg’s works along with the works of artists who have attended the Foundation’s residency program in Captiva, FL. The inaugural Rauschenberg residency program features a collaboration between artists Lonnie Holley and Dawn DeDeaux

    A long-term exhibition of the carved marble sculpture of Louise Bourgeois — some never before seen — realized in partnership with The Easton Foundation

    A long-term exhibition of immersive light and space environments by James Turrell, including a dramatically scaled Ganzfeld, plus a new outdoor “skyspace” observatory to be created from an abandoned fire-suppression water tank

    A long-term installation of works by Jenny Holzer, to include a series of indoor light projections featuring changing selections of poetry by a long list of distinguished authors

    A production studio, living archive, and broadcasting facility coupled with audio/video installation galleries for the work of Laurie Anderson, who will utilize the dedicated facility to make — and show — new work

    A suite of participatory music-making and rehearsal spaces, organized around the handmade instrumentation of new music composer and community-music impressario Gunnar Schonbeck, to be realized in collaboration with long-time MASS MoCA partners Bang on a Can

Phase III is designed by Bruner/Cott & Associates, who also oversaw the design of MASS MoCA’s previous two phases of expansion, beginning with its 200,000 sq. ft. Phase I, which opened in 1999.

Additional programming for the Phase III expansion includes a new light sculpture work by artist Spencer Finch, who will create a piece to engage the long rectangular space of the second-floor site of his exhibition and the views of the river outside the window. MASS MoCA commissioned two “portraits” of Building 6: a massive watercolor by artist Barbara Prey and a large-scale camera-obscura by The Optics Division / Metabolic Studio. These long-term installations, changing exhibitions, and programmatic initiatives — jointly realized with artists, foundations, and other institutional and private lenders and supporters — will range in duration from 2 to 25 years (following the long-term “temporary exhibition” models that MASS MoCA established with Yale University and Sol LeWitt, and the Hall Art Foundation and Anselm Kiefer).

“It used to be easy to make a quick day trip to MASS MoCA and the Clark, but that is no longer true with MASS MoCA’s programmatic growth over the past few years, and with the Clark’s Tadao Ando expansion,” notes MASS MoCA Director Joseph Thompson. “Once Phase III is complete, this neck of the woods will have enough things to see and do for a long weekend, a week, or even two within the larger Berkshire context. It’s a game-changer.” With more galleries containing milestone works of art on extended loan, the average length of time that museum visitors stay in the region is expected to increase.

The fundraising campaign has raised $55 million of its $65 million fundraising goal for the completion of Phase III and endowment. Phase III encompasses a wide range of long-term installations and changing exhibitions, artist residencies, expanded art fabrication facilities, new and improved music festival amenities, and enhanced linkages to the North Adams downtown business district and surrounding region through new biking and pedestrian pathways and bridges.

The Confluence Campaign, which is funding MASS MoCA’s current renovation, signals the confluence of art resources at the heart of the museum’s Phase III expansion, and the fact that this round of renovations focuses on the prow-shaped Building 6, which occupies a peninsular tract of land at the confluence of the north and south branches of the Hoosic River at the westernmost perimeter of the former factory campus. Featuring over three acres of interior space, the three-story Building 6 will feature spacious galleries on all floors; a dramatic skylit stairwell that rises 40’ high as it runs 200’ through the center axis of the building; production studios; video galleries and performance spaces on the upper two stories; and workshops and other back-of-house functions on the ground floor.

During the Confluence Campaign’s preliminary phase, MASS MoCA has raised nearly $55 million in donations and pledges through a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ($25.4 million) and private donations ($17 million), in addition to strategic and programmatic partnerships with the Hall Art Foundation, the Clark Art Institute, the Easton Foundation, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. The completion of MASS MoCA’s Confluence Campaign will support and maintain these Phase III programs.

Reservations for the Phase III Open House should be made by email to or by phone at 413.664.4481 x8166.

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