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Art Museum

Free Contemporary Art Museum Opens In Massachusetts

The Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) opened a new art museum to the public on February 22nd with a bang, as they announced that admission to the museum would be completely free all year. According to their website, MassArt knew from the start they were going to create  a free art museum as a way “to open eyes, expand minds, and create opportunity through the lens of contemporary art.”

The MassArt Art Museum (MAAM), is located within the MassArt campus and is completely accessible for individuals in wheelchairs as well as welcoming to those with strollers. The individuals behind the museum wanted the entire establishment to feel immersive, so much so that even the bathrooms have a slew of wall art and intricate mirror designs that allow for the perfect selfie as you make your way through the museum. Besides just galleries MAAM also has an educational center where it will host workshops for not only students, but members of the community as well; anyone is welcome and encouraged to come. 

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“We have reimagined the museum-going experience to create an inviting and welcoming place for all our visitors, offering a richer engagement with exhibitions and programming. Our artists will also feel supported to realize their vision, and our students will be invited into the process to learn from the professional artists they aspire to be,” said Lisa Tung, Executive Director of the Museum.

MAAM is currently displaying artwork of all mediums created by MassArt faculty, students, and artists from all around the world who’s pieces have been curated by MassArt within the past decade. Tung went on to explain how students make up a majority of the museum staff, as one of the other main goals of the museum is to prepare students for careers in “art, education, and design.” All museum staff are also trained and paid accordingly, which is always helpful for college students in general. 

Before you even walk into the museum you will be greeted by a small plaza outside the main entrance which has a bunch of different outdoor seating options, as well as some outdoor art on display. Once inside, you’ll immediately take in the open concept design which displays two separate galleries within the museum entrance itself. One gallery is currently housing a group art exhibit titled  “Game Changers: Video Games & Contemporary Art.” The exhibit uses “animations and computer-generated images to explore the crossover between artmaking and game design.

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That exhibit will be on display until April 19th, and it only scratches the surface of the unique pieces that are so effortlessly spread throughout the museum. There are dozens of other large and intricate art displays within the 15,000 square foot museum space, all of which was recently renovated thanks to funding raised MassArt’s UNBOUND capital campaign; the campaign raised $12.5 million to fund the project.

“The MassArt Art Museum offers us an opportunity to introduce contemporary art to some members of our community for the first time. I am deeply grateful to our generous donors who have shared our vision and helped us to create this free contemporary art museum. In this space we will be able to inspire the next generation of MassArt students and art enthusiasts, and encourage longtime art lovers to consider new artistic perspectives and practices,” said MassArt President David Nelson in a press release

The MassArt Art Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, hours vary based on the day but doors typically stay open until 6 pm. So if you find yourself in the area, take a day to go explore some contemporary art for free!

Museum Paintings

Museum Of Modern Art Gets A Total Makeover

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City is the countries most visited modern art museum, but for the last four months, art lovers and experts alike had to put their contemporary art desires aside while the MoMA underwent an extensive renovation and expansion. According to CBS News, the museum is anticipated to re-open on October 21st, which has been the set date since the beginning, so the huge project has been moving smoothly and right on schedule. The entire renovation is set to cost $450 million when all is said and done; that price will cover the cost of an entire new wing in the museum, expanding the current gallery space by 30%! Glenn Lowry, MoMA’s director projects that the museum will be able to hold almost one thousand pieces of additional art with the new space. 

“For me, what’s so exciting is that there were two museums when I arrived here 25 years ago. There was the museum that was on display, and there was the museum that was in storage. And they were unrelated. And now what we’ve done is bring those two museums together, so the museum on display much better reflects that museum that was in storage,” said Lowry to CBS

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Lowry also went on to explain the purpose behind the massive renovation that left the museum with months of no business. Previously, the MoMA was built up of individual departments, according to Lowry. Those departments were mainly representative of different art mediums, artists, and time periods. Each department had its own individual section, making each one disconnected from the other. While logically it seems to make sense that you would organize every room in a museum to contain one specific department, it ended up becoming very restrictive to how many pieces of one specific type of art they could have on display at a time; hence, Lowry’s “two museum” explanation. 

Now, architect Liz Giller and her team at Diller Scofidio + Renfro worked tirelessly to open up the museum and expand it to reach its full potential for displaying modern art. She wanted to open up the general entry space and make the entire museum seem more inviting. In addition, she moved the gift shop down a level, also in an effort to open up the general entry space of the museum. 

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“This will be just full of natural light coming in, and the store is actually bigger. So, even though it’s below the ground, it takes advantage of all this natural light – we have this fantastic visibility between the street and the lobby. Attention was paid to every detail, even the stairwell,” she said

The intensive process also involved a complete reorganization of the gallery space, which included the cleaning and refurbishing of a lot of longtime MoMA displays that needed some sprucing up. The renovation isn’t just to give the museum an updated look, but to re-brand the entire Modern Art experience. CBS reports that the museum will now contain five times the amount of pieces made by female artists, and the space will be updating the artwork held in the museum much more frequently. Specifically, every six months a third of the current art collections hanging in the museum will be swapped for new ones, or ones that haven’t been on display in a while. While the museum will have to close again during these transitional periods, and it adds a lot more work to all the staff, it’s all a part of the “New MoMA” project and experience, to keep them at the top of their game, and keep frequent art aficionados interested.