Mass MoCA's new ticket policy offers second visit within a week - free

Since opening Building 6 with more than 130,000 square feet of new gallery space in 2017, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art officials have argued that it's harder than ever to make a trip to Northern Berkshire - or even Mass MoCA alone - in a single day.

This story has been modified to correct the starting date and terms of the new ticketing policy.

NORTH ADAMS — The largest contemporary art museum in the country is vast, and the exhibits so stimulating and engaging, that it can feel like a lot to take in all in one day. Now, visitors can relax; their tickets will be good for two consecutive days.

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art will unveil a new ticketing policy beginning June 23, allowing museum patrons to return the next day — free of charge. Admission for adults costs $20.

"Slow down, take a little more time, take it easy, and spend more time with us and on the streets of North Adams and in our community," museum Director Joseph Thompson said during Mass MoCA's summer season announcement Wednesday morning.

The new policy is representative of the museum's effort to encourage more overnight visitors in Northern Berkshire, a goal the museum highlighted since announcing the third and final phase of its renovation to the 19th-century Sprague Electric mill complex.

Since opening Building 6 with more than 130,000 square feet of new gallery space in 2017, museum officials have argued that it's harder than ever to make a trip to Northern Berkshire — or even Mass MoCA alone — in a single day.

"If we can help our guests spend more time with our art, in our buildings, in our community, lots of good things happen," Thompson said.

The museum already has offers a $34 ticket valid for two visits within one week.

After a wild summer in 2017, the museum is turning its focuses to amenities in 2018. One of the major challenges Mass MoCA faced last year was connecting its patrons with food.

The museum is working with local businesses to find ways to point museumgoers to local eateries, Thompson said.

On the museum's own campus, the Chalet will be open for lunch and drinks all summer, with a food truck to buttress the existing options provided by Lickety Split and Gramercy Bistro. A new barbecue restaurant will open adjacent to Bright Ideas Brewing, and coffee will be available at the end of the lengthy Building 6.

Many of the summer's headliners, ranging from Grizzly Bear to Blondie, previously had been announced, taking a bit of wind out of the sails of the performing arts section of Wednesday's preview party.

But the museum did announce two new, major installations from New York-based artist Taryn Simon, titled "Assembled Audience" and "A Cold Hole," on which work is underway.

"She works across media to really dig into the systems of power that exist in society," said Alexandra Foradas, associate curator at Mass MoCA.

For 10 months, "A Cold Hole" will see a gallery floor encased in ice, with a hole in the center. Occasionally, performers will dive into the hole a number of times a day.

"[It is] based on the idea of the cold water plunge and the way in which cultures around the world, for hundreds of years, have approached the cold water plunge as the source of reset and renewal and empowerment," Foradas said.

"Assembled Audience" will merge the audio of individual applause recorded over the course of a year from every event at three of the largest venues in Columbus, Ohio.

"Taken together, all of these will be installed in the gallery with a list of all the participants' names on the wall, as well as a sound installation which brings together randomized groups of these applauders so that the same crowd never gathers twice," Foradas said.

Simon's installations will open May 26.

On June 23, Sally Taylor's curated "Come to Your Senses: Art to See, Smell, Hear, Taste, and Touch," will open in KidSpace.

Taylor is the daughter of Carly Simon and James Taylor, who is no stranger to audiences in the Berkshires, and the exhibition will include new musical contributions from both parents.

The project's opening night will feature a performance from Taylor and friends, including Carly Simon, John Forte, formerly of The Fugees, and Kori Withers, the daughter of Bill Withers.

Summer at Mass MoCA will be chock-full of music, including concerts from Courtney Barnett, The Decemberists and Ray LaMontagne.

Though the Solid Sound Festival won't be back until 2019, the familiar Bang on a Can Festival and FreshGrass Festival are slated to return.