Knock-out experience - we experienced with coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island going to Newport then Cape Code. Decided to try the other coast so drove the length of Massachusetts to North Adams, somewhat randomly. We were going to go directly to Stockbridge and the Norman Rockwell Museum, but decided to see the back-roads and go to North Adams instead. Glad we did!
We are modernists and love art. Mass MoCA is an incredible building or group of buildings and even that does not capture what is there. We were staying at The Porches and could see something big shimmering in the windows of what we thought were a warehouse across the highway. Little did we know it was a huge metal Phoenix made of junk suspended from the ceiling, actually several of them, who reflection mysteriously lit up the building at night.
Walking into the complex is a little convoluted, better to disguise the massive museum beyond. Your first hint of something special are several suspended trees hung upside-down at telephone-pole height above you. You can see them trying to respect gravity and grow in their natural direction, but being upside down this is a struggle. Interesting.
The entry is unassuming and once inside things get interesting. Huge galleries within an old industrial building go everywhere from the lobby. Even the bathrooms are cool, being subterranean and treated almost as found art themselves.
Then stupendous double and triple height spaces await with old suspended hallways arching this way and that.
A Chinese artist - Xu Bing, created a massive amount of work, the aforementioned Phoenixes, a large Tiger carpet made of cigarettes, incredible.
The Lickety Split cafe served great casual food, even the children's area was fascinating and well-done.
Walking outside the main building has it's rewards: The old foundry building has an Airstream trailer mounted on the top floor on a catwalk and a totally new building on what looks like old foundations housed a very strong and emotional sets of work by Anselm Kiefer in a clean, cool modern space in contrast to the main building's old industrial spaces.
All in all a memorable and wonderful experience. Not only was there great quantity, but equally great quality to the work, exhibitry, staging. The galleries unfold each as a unique set of spaces like a crazy park or amusement ride. Beautiful.