The former water tank building at Mass MoCA will host the Anselm Kiefer exhibit. Eventually, the west end of the campus will connect to West Main Street.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Director Joseph Thompson feels excited for the upcoming season, highlighted by the opening of the Anselm Kiefer exhibit and the third annual FreshGrass music festival.
The Anselm Kiefer exhibit will extend the museum to the west end, and eventually to West Main Street, Thompson said at the museum's fall preview event on Thursday morning.
"That's part of our very long-term thinking about eventually opening up that backside of the complex to pedestrians and bicycles," Thompson said. "We're not quite ready to do that yet but we're putting in the infrastructure to allow us to do that when we are ready to do it."
Thompson also said the plan includes a more attractive connection to the road and new gates. The expansion and new entrance will open up the campus, making security more complicated, but more inviting for attendees to explore the outdoor exhibits already on display.
"Essentially we're throwing open the back door to the place," Thompson said.
City officials have been looking to leverage the museum's access into the redevelopment of Western Gateway Heritage State Park, which has a footpath directly across the street from MoCA's south gate. The hope is to stimulate pedestrian traffic between the park, the museum and the downtown.
The gallery will be hosted in an old 10,000 square-foot Arnold Printworks water tank building near the Route 2 overpass. all that was left was a foundation that has been covered with a shell.
Kiefer is known for his large works that incorporate historical themes, including Germany's Nazi past, and most recently construction materials like concrete. The exhibit will feature his 82-foot-long sculpture made of cast concrete, rebar and lead.
will open on Sept. 27, and run officially until Nov. 15, but Thompson said they'll play it by ear. The gallery then will be open for at least 15 years during the "fair-weather season," from around mid-April to late-November.
Director Joseph Thompson talks about the upcoming season.
A week prior, Mass MoCA will host FreshGrass, a bluegrass-orientated 3-day festival, featuring Infamous Stringdusters, DelMcCoury Band, Wood Brothers and many other acts
Thompson feels that the welcoming experience draws back returning visitors to the festivals (the other being Solid Sound) and then some.
"Our attendance keeps going nicely up... I am convinced that one of the reasons that's is happening is the gradual spreading by word-of-mouth is coming from these big festivals."
Jodi Joseph, director of communications, said last year's festival attracted 1,800 concertgoers. "We're expecting a nice boost this year in sales," she said, adding it was already past 1,800. "This festival is growing."
In addition to nationally known headliners, the Williamstown band The Wandering Rocks will kick off the festival at Courtyard D, the stage closest to the bridge leading to Joe's Field.
"I think it's fantastic they're on our lineup and hopefully they'll bring some locals out to support them," said Sue Killam, managing director of performing arts.
Killam also said many local vendors, including Desperados, How We Roll, Spice Root and Village Pizza will be at the festival.
Tickets are still available for FreshGrass and could be found here
. For a list of all performances and gallery openings, visit MassMoCA.org