Art You Can Get Into

By: Joanna Wallace

The Mattress Factory Museum was founded in 1977 on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The main building, originally built in 1900, was a Stearns & Foster mattress warehouse, and in 1982, the first exhibition of installations opened to the public. Since this opening, the Mattress Factory has shown work by over 750 artists.

“The museum supports established and emerging artists through a residency program that provides leadership, guidance, resources and opportunities to create artwork that is unconventional, challenging and thought-provoking.

The Mattress Factory has pioneered the development of alternative art forms through site-specific installations, video, and performance art. It is nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in site-specific, contemporary art and is notorious for pushing the boundaries of both artist and viewer.”

I visited the Mattress Factory over winter break, and it 100% lived up to my expectations. This museum was a surreal place to walk through and explore, and the work forces the viewers to think of art in a different way than they ever have.

Before visiting, I was very excited to see Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms, but after seeing all there is to offer at the museum, I found my favorites to be James Turrell’s rooms and Vanessa German’s sometimes. we. cannot. be. with. our. bodies. exhibit. I have no pictures from James Turrell’s rooms because they are all very dark, but as someone who absolutely loves and is more motivated being in the dark and has always had an appreciation and fascination for the night sky, stars, and optical and physical illusions, I was entranced by his installations. They are hard to describe, but if you get the chance, I recommend looking him up and reading about his philosophies and works, or better yet visit them in person and experience them for yourself-you won’t regret it!

I could go on and on about the interesting things I saw during my trip to the Mattress Factory, but I am stopping here so you have even more reason to get out and visit a fantastic city and see some “art you can really get into” yourself at this surprising museum.


All photos taken by me.

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