Another side visit that we made while we were in the Berkshires last weekend was at Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). The funny thing is that Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest GOOP back-to-school issue that came out yesterday mentions Mass MoCa as well as one of the art institutions to check out this school year.
Mass MoCa’s space is large and sprawling given that it was a former industrial complex. The set-up is ideal for large-scale installations that the museum specializes in. There are two ongoing exhibits that I thought were quite interesting. The first one is by Chinese artist, Xu Bing. His installations, called Phoenix, were not only impressive in size but also overwhelming in the amount of detail and labor. The two phoenixes showcased are nearly 100 feet long and weigh about 20 tons in all. The work pretty much captures Bing’s reaction to China after a 20-year absence. He was impressed with the modernity of all the new skyscrapers in China but was saddened by the waste and excess that came from all the construction as well as the poor living conditions of the workers who labored on these buildings. For the Phoenix, Bing used discarded construction items he found in China, such as steel rebar, hard hats, shovels, and gloves.
The first Phoenix with LED lights for nighttime viewing
The second Phoenix
The other impressive installation at Mass MoCa was Jason Middlebrook’s Falling Water, titled after Frank Lloyd Wright’s residence in Pennsylvania. He used big styrofoam blocks and has a suspended working fountain/waterfall from the the gallery’s ceiling. Middlebrook’s works of painted wood planks are also showcased at the space.