Press About The Berkshires

Mass MoCA’s Latest Addition Gives Transformative Re-Use an Epic Stage

On May 28, when Building 6 became the third and largest phase in the 18-year life of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), a curious crowd was milling through the restored central light well when singer Helga Davis appeared, casually stood on a stair, and filled the double-height hall with wordless, sustained tones of almost primeval beauty. “Rather than ‘performing,’” she later reflected, “I was responding to the environment. This requires an active listening both to myself and to, say, the footsteps, the voices, any resonant sound in the space, after which I would begin to hear ‘key’ or ‘pitch’ in the way you would normally think of it.” In those indelible moments, Davis’s sensitivity echoed that of the museum’s architects in their long, almost shockingly successful mission to convert an old electrics and textile plant to an international arts center in rural North Adams, Massachusetts. Read more about the latest MoCA expansion >>