In continuation of my trip to MASS MoCA…
Moving towards the back of the museum we encountered Lee Boroson’s Plastic Fantastic, which for me was a jaw dropping encounter when we first saw the huge installation Moisture Content. It was if we entered a white, undersea kelp forest or school of jellyfish. One could wander throughout the installation, immersed in the scene. Later on, looking over the scene from the next floor up, I realized that should I want to build such large scale installation, I will have to get over my fear of heights. Moving on there were some other sets, but the other that stuck out was Uplift, a forest of nylon. The low ceiling installation had a very dark, fairy tale forest feel to it and felt less a cave than the artist intended.
Sol Lewitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective comprises of three floors chronicling the early, mid, and late stages of the artist’s career and was planned by Lewitt himself. Funny story, after considering installing at MASS MoCA, Lewitt came back saying where he’d like his work to be displayed, they asked which part of the building and he said the whole thing! Lewitt’s wall drawings are his in concept, not in execution. From the very simple to the vastly complex, the whole building of 105 drawings was wildly overwhelming visually and mentally. I can only imagine the sheer amount of work and collaboration it took to realize this labor intensive exhibition. This is a space that calls for many return visits to sit and contemplate each on their own, unencumbered by the thoughts of all the works already seen. Lewitt’s work is also very mathematical and analytical and could be a perfect tool for teachers looking to explore how math and art can meld together. (Best science field trip I ever went on was to see Copenhagen at Trinity Rep. Science melded beautifully with the Arts!) I also recommend bringing sunglasses for the third floor… the colors are that bright and blinding.
Outside the main museum space, the Hall Art Foundation had an exhibition of works from Anselm Kiefer, of whom I’ve been hearing much about via my Twitter feed (I follow the Royal Academy in London). The larger installation piece, Etroits Sont Les Vaisseaux (Narrow are the Vessels), seemed almost of some post-war/apocalyptic world, yet almost softened by a continuous wave. The Women of the Revolution brought to mind Dickens as the names enscribed on the walls all sounded like characters from his book A Tale of Two Cities. Twenty unique leads bed each accompanied by the name of one key woman involved in the French Revolution created something almost Madeline in nature (twenty little beds in two straight lines). What really struck me was Velimir Chlebnikov, the huge steel pavilion housed inside this space with thirty paintings stacked in two grids of fifteen. These rough textured, rusted seascapes were stunning. If only I could have seen the top two rows properly, I would have been lost in viewing the details.
It is a rare event when extremely high expectations and hype are well met, let alone exceeded. It is with great pleasure then that I am pleased to say my much awaited trip to MASS MoCA was everything that I had dreamed of and more. I love trips like these which come maybe once a year and look forward to what 2015 has in store for art adventures! Boston, Maine, NYC and beyond… I’m definitely coming for you soon!