Monday, October 31, 2016

The Mattress Factory Art Museum Pittsburgh, Penn

Hearing the name of this museum, The Mattress Factory, you would be totally at a loss to understand what they were going to offer you in the way of art. In a former incarnation it was indeed a "mattress factory". Today it is home to a fascinating museum of installation art.

The evolution of The Mattress Factory began almost with its inception over thirty years ago. It has evolved into one of the tops museums of its genre in the world. Even the neighborhood on the north shore where it is located is eclectic. The Mexican War Streets offer wall murals that are with a visit on their own.

One of the unique aspects of this museum is that the works of art are created onsite. Artists are invited to come to the museum, there are paid and housed and encouraged to produce unique pieces that bring the museum to life. They stay anywhere from two weeks to two months and they are allowed all the materials and freedom that they need to be creative.

There are sixteen installations in their permanent collection including works by James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, Greer Lankton and Bill Woodrow. Every year over 30,000 people come here to participate in the experience what the museum offers. While the majority of them are locals there are many who come from other parts of the US and even around the world.

What exactly is installation art? Installation art takes a space and uses the environment to create art. The visitor is drawn in and becomes almost part of the piece. Every room is an assault on at least one of the senses and often more than one.

If you have ever been to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston Texas you have already been exposed to James Turrell’s work. The Tunnel that connects the Beck Building and the Law Building is a work of his art called The Light Inside. You actually are inside of his piece of art!

This is the sort of museum where you need to keep a close watch on. The art changes so dramatically from one installation to another that you will want to make sure not to miss the latest offerings.

Keep an open mind, come prepared to either love it or hate it. I'm voting for love.

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