The Clark Acquires Buildings on MASS MoCA’s Campus

For Immediate Release

August 29, 2007

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute and MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) strengthened their collaborative efforts today as the Clark announced that it has acquired 29,000 square feet of building space at the 13-acre former factory site in North Adams, Massachusetts. The area includes a prominent building facing the entrance to the MASS MoCA campus and will include public exhibition space as well as storage for part of the Clark’s art collections, library, and archives. The long–standing collaboration between the Clark and MASS MoCA began in 1996 with David Byrne’s installation Desire. In 1999 the Clark funded Tree Logic, a site–specific installation at MASS MoCA by Natalie Jeremijenko, which is now an icon of the institution.The collaboration continues to offer a dynamic range of exhibition, conference, and other programming.

The new Clark@MASS MoCA space is an integral part of the Clark’s master plan to further its programming goals and expand its galleries. The master plan includes two new buildings on the Clark’s campus designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Tadao Ando: Stone Hill Center opens June 2008, and an Exhibition, Visitor, and Conference Center is scheduled to open in 2013. The original museum building and the Manton Research Center are being renovated by Annabelle Selldorf and will also be completed in 2013.

During the next few months, the Clark will finalize a number of program and exhibition plans for the MASS MoCA site ranging from closed storage for objects and archives to publicly accessible storage for works of art to exhibitions. Design and renovation work at the site is scheduled to begin in 2008 with an opening planned for 2011.

Our latest collaboration with MASS MoCA is thrilling and accomplishes both the need for us to have storage for expanding collections and to develop joint programs in new ways,” said Clark director Michael Conforti. “Having an even stronger Clark presence in North Adams will increase our role in that community; this new venture is the natural progression of what has already been a creative and diverse partnership and resulted in innovative installations, exhibitions, symposia, and conferences.

Joseph Thompson, director of MASS MoCA added, “The permanent addition of the Clark@MASS MoCA will explore a variety of programs: the re-interpretation of the Clark’s wonderful collection in a contemporary context; the opportunities for contemporary artists, designers, and architects to engage in exciting juxtaposition of objects old and new. This joint opportunity for both the Clark and MASS MoCA will help us develop institutionally and reach new audiences. It offers tremendous potential.

Coming shortly after our recently announced collaboration with Yale University Art Gallery on a long-term installation of Sol LeWitts’ wall drawings,” he added. “MASS MoCA is no longer a single cultural institution but a multiplicity of public art and educational assets.

Clark and MASS MoCA Collaborations

One of the most important and enduring collaborations between the two museums is the Clark’s support of Clark/Williams graduate student–curated exhibitions at MASS MoCA that began in 1997 and are often accompanied by catalogues. Installations have included: Earmarks (1997), Supermodel (2000), Your Show Here (2002), Mirror Mirror (2002), Kamrooz Aram: Realms and Reveries (2006), and Adam Cvijanovic and Peter Garfield: Unhinged (2007).

MASS MoCA was also the site for Art in Nature: Tadao Ando and Reed Hilderbrand at the Clark, an installation featuring Ando’s work and the designs of the Clark’s landscape architects, Reed Hilderbrand Associates. The museums worked together in 2004 with the artists’ collective e-Xplo, which created an audio–enhanced trolley tour of North Adams and Williamstown as part of The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere.

The Clark and MASS MoCA have been leaders together in countywide arts collaborations including the current NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires program and the 2002 Vienna Project. In 1997, the Clark and MASS MoCA organized the conference “Reimagining Museums for New Art,” which focused on the changing role of contemporary art museums. Earlier this year, the Clark organized “Ahistoric Occasion: On the Uses of History in Contemporary Art,” a symposium using the MASS MoCA exhibition as a launching point for discussion. 

The Clark also partners with MASS MoCA and the Williams College Museum of Art to support Kidspace, a contemporary art gallery and studio space designed especially for students, teachers, and families. Similarly, the three institutions co-present The Berkshire Conference, a wintertime symposium focusing on major cultural issues.

The Clark

Set amidst 140 bucolic acres in the picturesque Berkshires, the Clark is one of the few major art museums in the United States that also serves as a leading international center for research and scholarship. In addition to its extraordinary collections, the Clark organizes groundbreaking special exhibitions that advance new scholarship and presents an array of public and educational programs. The Clark’s Research and Academic Program includes an international fellowship program and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia. Its programs draw university and museum professionals from around the world. The Clark, together with Williams College, sponsors one of the nation’s leading master’s programs in art history and encompasses one of the most comprehensive art history libraries in the world.

MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA, located at 87 Marshall Street in North Adams, is the largest center for contemporary visual and performing art in the United States. The galleries are open year-round, and the institution produces more than 60 performing arts events annually in its theaters and outdoor courtyards. MASS MoCA creates more new work in both the visual and performing arts than any other single cultural institution, provides abundant space at economical cost, transforms decaying and unsightly structures into attractive and productive assets that provide jobs and income, and preserves and celebrates the industrial heritage of the region and the nation.

Berkshires

The Berkshires, a region of rolling hills in western Massachusetts, has been a haven for cultural activity since the first half of the 19th century. The Berkshires are home to a wealth of cultural institutions that in addition to the Clark include: Tanglewood, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, MASS MoCA, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Williams College Museum of Art, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival, among many others. For more information, visit www.clarkart.edu or call 413-458-2303.

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