North Adams, MA
Industrial stairwells, covered bridges, and sunlit niches: MASS MoCA is made up not only of vast exhibition spaces but also the nooks and crannies between them. These spaces lie between one destination and the next, and are found by chance as visitors wander the museum. Patrons typically do not stop or linger in these places, but rather pass through on the way from gallery to gallery.
The Space Between disperses installations by seven artists in interstitial or transitional spaces throughout the campus and beyond to investigate ways to actively inhabit this state of “just passing through.” Individually, these interventions — which vary in form from sculpture and photography to sound and concrete poetry — both chart and transform their locations. Together, they form a constellation of yet-unconnected dots.
Zarouhie Abdalian’s sound installation guides visitors along a service road with an incantation of words referencing the labor that persists within the historical and present lives of the factory-turned-museum.
Rachel Sussman references the Japanese tradition of visible ceramic joinery to repair fissures in the pavement outside the museum with golden filling, drawing attention to wear and tear while reminding us that the space is more beautiful for having been lived in.
A new sound work by Andy Graydon fills an enclosed stairwell between two buildings with the sound of contested proposals for works of art to fill the space.
Amalia Pica presents a flurry of confetti affixed to the floor with tape, capturing and inviting us to enter an ephemeral moment in time and refocusing attention on the physical evidence of our social bonds.
The glass sculptures of Walead Beshty are sent via FedEx between locations, retaining evidence of their travels in their fractured surfaces and through the accumulation of shipping labels and scuffmarks on their original packing boxes, with which they are displayed.
Audra Wolowiec works within gaps in language itself, removing the vowels from an essay by artist Vito Acconci. She uses the deconstructed text as a score for a subtle sound piece that follows the viewer along a passageway between buildings, making audible the ordinarily imperceptible space between words.
Beyond the campus of the museum, two photographs of found objects by Edson Chagas are installed side by side on a pair of billboards. The narrow strip of negative space between them allows the images — one taken in London and one in the artist’s hometown of Luanda, Angola — to testify to both the circulation of global commodities and to the differences between urban environments.
It is possible to stumble upon these works by chance. Or, armed with a brochure doubling as a map, visitors are invited to travel through the museum and beyond with heightened awareness, to deliberately explore what they might otherwise ignore, and to consider ways to activate the productive potential that lies in the space between.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website