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Discovering MASS MoCA

On a recent Sunday, I went to MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art) in North Adams, MA for the first time. You can read a short review of some of the current exhibitions in The Berkshire Eagle newspaper.

Even if I didn’t like modern art as much as I do, it still would have been a perfect way to spend a hot and humid afternoon in July. The whole experience was a visual treat: the museum architecture and layout — a complex of 26 factory buildings from the 19th century — and its old-feel wood-and-brick interior adorned by thought provoking art.


Just to whet your appetite, I’ll share my photographs of works by a few currently exhibiting artists who caught my attention: Xu Bing, Johnny Carrera, Jason Middlebrook, Joseph Montgomery, and Tom Phillips. Their exhibitions are listed below by the closing date — you have the least amount of time to see the exhibit listed first before it closes.

I took the photographs with my phone camera and they should be viewed as an inspiration and visual information only.

Phoenix: Xu Bing

(December 22, 2012 – October 27, 2013)

EXHIBIT — WORD ASSOCIATION: huge, complex team work, long term project, colorful, playful, reused objects, construction site debris, cultural symbols, tradition

Xu Bing: PhoenixPhoenix exhibit at MASS MoCA
Xu Bing: PhoenixPhoenix by Xu Bing

Xu Bing: Phoenix - detail

If you have time, do read the storybook about making the Phoenix — its pages are displayed in the same gallery.

Xu Bing: Phoenix — storybookPhoenix storybook


  • Xu Bing’s website
  • Boston Globe ‘s article about the Phoenix exhibition
  • Book about Xu Bing and contemporary Chinese art


  • The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (The Smithsonian Museum of Asian Art) in Washington, D.C. is holding the complementary exhibition “Nine Deaths, Two Births: Xu Bing’s Phoenix Project” until September 2, 2013. Please share your experience in the Comments section if you were able to see it!

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Life’s Work: Tom Phillips and Johnny Carrera

(March 23, 2013 – January 20, 2014)

EXHIBIT — WORD ASSOCIATION: books, Victorian novel, dictionary, pages, altered, re-combined, images, drawings, paintings, engravings, collages, narratives

Phillips and Carrera at MASS MoCALife’s Work exhibit at MASS MoCA
Phillips: A HumumentA Humument’ s pages
Phillips: A Humument (one page)A Humument (one of the pages) by Tom Phillips


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My Landscape: Jason Middlebrook

(May 26, 2013 – April 6, 2014)

EXHIBIT — WORD ASSOCIATION: nature, wood, planks, painting, acrylics, spray painting, drawing, decayed, recycled, large

Jason Middlebrook

Jason MiddlebrookInspired by the Countless Trips from My House to My Studio by Jason Middlebrook (graphite on paper)


  • Jason Middlebrook’s website
  • Architectural Digest ‘s article about Middlebrook’s work and exhibitions
  • Trendland ‘s article about Middlebrook’s work
  • Middlebrook’s e-article from the exhibition at Sara Meltzer gallery

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Five Sets Five Reps: Joseph Montgomery

(May 26, 2013 – April 6, 2014)

EXHIBIT — WORD ASSOCIATION: assemblage, sculptural objects, relief-like paintings, oil, wax, canvas, fiberglass, wood, wire, mesh, clay, plaster, wooden shims

Joseph Montgomery: Image 147Image 147 by Joseph Montgomery
Joseph Montgomery: Image 181Image 181 by Joseph Montgomery


  • Joseph Montgomery’s page on Laurel Gitlen gallery’s website
  • North Adams Transcript ‘s article about Montgomery’s work and exhibition

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At the End of Your Visit

Before you head back home, you may want to browse through the museum shop — I couldn’t resist taking photographs of a couple of bright and edgy dresses displayed there (see below).

MASS MoCA shop

If you are hungry, I recommend having a bite at the Gramercy Bistro (in the same building complex as MASS MoCA). The Bistro buys their ingredients from local food producers and everything I tried (a salad and a dessert) was delicious. Afterwards, you could take a stroll through North Adams downtown nearby.

Let me know how you liked MASS MoCA and what else you discovered in North Adams!

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