For the last six days a friend and I have been touring the east coast visiting museums. By far the most impressive day consisted of a trip to upstate New York’s Dia Beacon and Northeast Massachusetts’ Mass MOCA. Both of these institutions are set in monuments to the industrial age, industrial factories. Irony can be found in the fact that at one time an assembly line dedicated to the manufacturing of cardboard boxes now houses drawing grids by Sol LeWitt and recessed 20 feet deep steel cubes by Michael Heiser.
These unusual settings for such monumental works pose interesting questions. What impact do these newly formed institutions have on rural communities? Is the art being shown at these institutions relevant to the people of Beacon and North Adams? And who benefits from them – day-trippers from New York City and Boston or the dairy farmer on the outskirts of North Adams?