OUTLINE 4/23/92
the meanings of mass moca (hmmm)

Per notes
Return to idea: that a facility like this is necessary because these works claim [important word?] large amounts of space.  R Krauss talks about her sense that the museum space itself has become the art [CHECK], with works of Flavin and Turrell; A. Chave points out the aggressive nature of many Minist works and the language artists used.  Control; artworks that dominate space they’re not in.  They are pervasive. Classic parallel to industrial production?
. . . .
(Basically these guys were half-baked as thinkers, though all there as artists)

Aggressive, anti-“art” honesty of Judd; passive, illusional Turrell.  Hmmm. What was I getting at? Some fudgy idea about industrial production, etc.  Spoon-fed ideology.  Think harder.

So this is an outline I was working on (there’s a later version too) in hopes of turning my Metropolis article on Mass MOCA, which had started out as my master’s thesis, back into a thesis. As an article, it focused on the then-embryonic, or at most fetal, project in the crux between preservation and economic development; more and different would be required for an academic thesis. In June I wrote to my advisors:

Dear Herbert and Jane:

I want to try finishing my thesis.  After all, I have put a lot of work into it.  Herbert hinted that you are willing, if not longing, to help, and I think we can keep your time and effort commitment pretty small — two to three meetings and four readings (two of outline only).

Then there’s a couple of pages of outline.  Section IV:

Mass Moca proposes to re-site the homeless postmodern subject within the fixed, knowable, perspectival space of the factory.  At the same time, it adopts the technological, information-network methods of postmodernism.  It indeed regards Minimalism nostalgically as the parent (father, evidently) of the contemporary fragmented self, a parent who now appears, even despite itself, more confident, whole, and present than does the present.  This nostalgia becomes clear when the hundred-year-old factory complex starts to seem like a vast work of Minimalist art itself.

You know, I’d have liked to have read that paper, never mind written it.  I didn’t do either, as it happens, and it was several years later that I completed my degree with a totally different paper.  I haven’t even been back to see the museum.


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