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Review of MASS MoCA

Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in North Adams
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Housed on a restored 19th century factory campus, MASS MoCA is the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the country. Open year round with full schedule of live events, changing exhibitions and Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Retrospective.
Oakland, CA
Level Contributor
76 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2013

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.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank design49er
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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609 reviews from our community

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River Edge, New Jersey
Level Contributor
267 reviews
100 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Amazing creative talent on display”
Reviewed October 24, 2013

Wonderful repurposing of a beautiful factory building complex. The creativity of the contemporary artists on display is varied and unique for the museum - by that, I mean the cavern-like size of the rooms are the perfect venue for the creativity on display. Even if you are not a big fan of contemporary art, this museum will blow you away. Any drawback? The size of the museum means that you will be walking miles to see it all.
Oh - we also enjoyed lunch at the museum. Great selections!

Visited October 2013
Thank dramom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“WOW factor”
Reviewed October 23, 2013

returned after many years to find much expanded. Sol Lewin walls are magnificent. Phoenixes were spectacular (leaving at end of this years for Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC. Cafe on site offers delicious soups, local yogurt and ice cream.

Visited October 2013
Thank elsasol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2013

I took an art class last year and they talked about Mass MOCA. I was in the area and had the opportunity to visit. I am so glad I went out of my way to make the stop. It was an amazing building and use of an old mill as well as a wonderful art museum. I never invisioned myself as a a lover of art let alone Modern art. Thru my more recent experiences I am coming to understand and like modern art. I did not allow nearly enough time to see it...I had no idea how extensive it is. I felt myself almost running to see it all. Unfortunately I did not have enough time but fortunately I saw enough to make me want to make sure I go back. Its a long way from Texas but it is now on my repeat list. It has something for all ages and you should definitely allow a good amount of time for it, but don't pass it up if you don't think you have the time. See what you can and you will want to go back too.

Visited October 2013
Thank TAbeliever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
“Could visit many times!”
Reviewed October 22, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Mass MoCA was so large - you could visit several times and still not have viewed all of the art. They have a great collection and great exhibits and their museum store is fun to browse too. We didn't try the museum cafe, but there wasn't much else around there, so it probably would have been a smart idea.

Visited September 2013
Thank MC Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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