August 2, 2007

Visiting Mass MOCA

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:34 am by classicalmusic

Mass MOCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is a terrific example of how to preserve buildings marked for historic preservation.

Rejuvenating North Adams, Mass

North Adams, Mass., a small town in the Massachusetts Berkshire Mountains, was a one-factory town in the 1950’s when I lived in the nearby city of Pittsfield.  The factory which gave North Adams its economic stability was the Sprague Electric Works, a manufacturer of electrical machinery for industry.  In the 50’s my father, who was an electrical engineer, worked for Sprague which is why we were living in Pittsfield.  The factory shut down in the 1980’s and North Adams subsequently suffered from the closing.

Then in 1999, after some refurbishing and and interior designing by a Cambridge firm of architecture, the 19th century former factory was opened as the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art = Mass MOCA.  It opened with 19 galleries and approximately 100,000 square feet of exhibition space.  It also hosts musical performances, film screenings and summer festivals.  The founding of this museum in North Adams has helped to upgrade and rejuvenate the quiet Berkshire town of North Adams.

Visiting Mass MOCA

I am not a great lover of contemporary art.  The usually large-sized compositions perplex me.  The abstractness of the art disturbs me.  In short – I don’t much like it.  For me, a visit to Mass Moca is simply a nostalgic visit to the past.  The sight of the beautiful ivy-covered red brick building that used to house the factory, the rough linoleum floors and iron stairways that lead from one gallery to another, bring back the feel of the 1950’s for me.  I visited the museum about 50 years after my father left the firm, and I simply enjoyed walking around the building and remembering.  For me that was far more exciting than looking at the strange exhibits.

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