Musing at MASS MoCA

This week members of the Cuseum team were at MASS MoCA for Solid Sound, Wilco’s arts and music festival. That’s right: great outdoor music in the summer AND at a museum. There was a lot to love.

A video posted by Brendan Ciecko (@brendanciecko) on Jun 27, 2015 at 8:25pm PDT

The revitalizing power of the arts for post-industrial cities like North Adams was on full display. Solid Sound sold-out and drew over 8,000 people to North Adams. Many of them may have not experienced the beautiful Berkshires or visited the museum otherwise. It was a record-breaking crowd according to Jodi Joseph, MoCA’s communications director. “I think we experienced MASS MoCA nearing its capacity on Saturday for sure,” she told WNPR. The Berkshire Eagle said the festival “more than doubled economic activity” for North Adams. Local business owner Steve Blazejewski told the paper that there was “a lot of residual carryover to the towns alongside North Adams.”

We love how MASS MoCA makes giving back to the community, both culturally and economically, part of their mission. Of course we also jumped on the opportunity to revisit their awe-inspiring collection. Allie Foradas’ curatorial statement to the Bibliothecaphiliaexhibition especially caught our eye. It compared museums with libraries:

“Museums and libraries share a common mission: to make their collections accessible to a wider audience. They traditionally differ, however, in the experience that they offer to visitors: while the materials in libraries lend themselves to a more personal, private form of interaction (perusing the stacks and becoming absorbed in a book), museums involve a more public experience (looking at art in the presence of others).”

Not only does Bibliothecaphilia question relationship between personal/private, but it asks about the relevance of institutions as well: with e-books, why go to a library? The exhibit highlights the experience of reading and how we are connected through that experience.

Another one of our favorites was Mark Dion’s The Octagon Room.

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We hope to see you at Solid Sound next year! What events are you looking forward to this summer?