A Visit to Mass MoCA

posted by tucker

We took a road trip from Maine to the great state of Massachusetts today, and one of the places we stopped to see was the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, MoCA for short. It’s an awesome old building right up my alley, an old industrial factory or mill, I’m not sure which, that’s been converted into a wonderful modern art museum, leaving most of the original structure intact. One of the newest parts of their permanent collection is a 3 floor exhibition of the work of Sol Lewitt. I won’t go into Lewitt’s work because, as is the case with most modern art, it is rather theoretical and hard to explain. The basic idea is that the museum buys instructions for how to make a particular work of his. The exhibit at MoCA is all wall drawings and paintings, and the instructions are printed next to them all. They all read something like this: “One large square bisected by a curvy line, with matte paint on top and glossy paint on the bottom.” All involve simple geometric shapes, and bold, bright swaths of color, and all are actually created by the staff of the museum; what you actually buy is simply the instructions, his idea. It’s a cool concept, and there is actually a Sol Lewitt installation a few blocks down from my house in Atlanta that I was unaware was his, it’s the kind of thing I drove by every single day on the way to school from first grade all the way through senior year before I knew who created it. I plan to go there and shoot when I get back. For now, here’s a shot from inside the museum, of some of Lewitt’s wall paintings, and one of the outside of the museum itself. I shot a ton, and for the first time, it was all hand-held! I had shied away from doing hand-helds up until now but decided to give it a try, as they allowed photography but not tripods inside the museum. I’m pleased with the results!

One of the many wall paintings designed by Sol Lewitt at Mass MoCA.

One of the many parts of the building itself, which was originally an industrial mill or factory.

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