The whole purpose of my trip this summer was to visit the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which for some reason captured my imagination and drew me from East Africa to Western Massachusetts (in a happily roundabout way).

I was not disappointed. The museum is located in North Adams, in the far northwestern corner of the state, which is a lovely little town in and of itself.

See? It’s lovely.

The museum itself is an enormous old factory, and anyone into post-industrial chic will geek out on the details. In places the building itself is as compelling as the artworks it houses.


In Julianne Schwartz’s tonal hallway, disembodied voices come at you from all directions as you walk through. Some are singing and some just making sounds, and the whole effect is immersive and enchanting.


Robert Rauschenberg’s Quake in Paradise (Labyrinth), fitting in beautifully with the space.

I was especially enchanted by the Boiler House, where the old industrial material is being allowed to be rot away through what the literature descibes as “nature’s counterpunch.”


My favorite thing was an installation by the always-incredible Lauria Anderson, but since it was all virtual reality I didn’t take any pictures of it. Luckily, everything else was pretty awesome, too. Here are some of my favorite pictures that I took today:

Elizabeth King’s Radical Small, built around doll parts and video installations, was hauntingly beautiful.


Nick Cave’s Until fills a football field-sized room with tens of thousands of spinners and another assorted items:


The museum gives a lot of space over to Sol Lewitt. They make a point of telling you in many languages that you should not touch the walls, but the sign that convinced me was the one where they explained that they didn’t want to have to put ropes around the art, so please be cool. I obliged by not touching anything.


Other artists, whose names I apparently didn’t catch (if you know who they are, do let me know):


And this one, because no museum is complete without big pink dildos.

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