Dré Wapenaar 2007

Permanent installation at MASS -MoCA, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, North Adams, USA

© Kevin Kennefick

MASS MoCA and Dré Wapenaar

Membrane Engineer :
Tentech, Utrecht

Membrane: Sperry Sails

Structural Engineer:
Jim Balmer, Boston

Computer Drawings:
Elmo Vermijs and Dré Wapenaar

This project has been made possible with the financial support of:
• The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB), Amsterdam
The Mondriaan Foundation,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
SICA, Service Centre for International Cultural Activities (SICA) in Amsterdam

Thanks to:
• NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires. The dutch consulate in New York, Jeanne Wikler, Robert Kloos,


"In MASSMoCA’s Courtyard C there is a huge piece of concrete, a part of a wall and a steel frame;
remains of the old industrial architecture that used to belong to the factory which was housed in it.
It was there to support a necessary extension.
Because of the new function of the building as a museum of contemporary arts another light fell on the
use of this terrain; as “openings-pavilion”, for the drinks and bites, as “small stage” for the musicians,
and as a platform for the filmscreenings on one of the walls of the museum during the summer-
season. The spot needed a revisit, at the same time there was nostalgia for the remains of this
industrial epoch.

The first thing I did was adding a wooden floor to cover the old concrete.
As protection against sun and rain new coverings, which can be put tight with an expansion-system,
were developed. Small adjustments that are hardly noticed were made, like for instance the extra
opening towards the tank at the back of the wall, now painted in a bright ( Dutch ) orange coating.
In a second phase the “upper course” will be restored and connected with the
lower level. There is a wooden “sitting-pit” positioned, hanging in the steel frame, within it
the woodstove and woodstorage-wall, all to encourage a longer dwelling until late in the season."

Dutch artist and designer Dré Wapenaar's multi-colored Pavilion in MASS MoCA's Courtyard C will be part of the MASS MoCA complex for years to come. This outdoor social sculpture of overlapping canopies located in the center of the 14-acre complex provides a shady respite for daytime visitors and has become home to MASS MoCA's outdoor performances and concerts.

"A Rotterdam-based sculptor who works primarily with tent-imagery, Wapenaar creates innovative spaces that foster dynamic social encounters and encourage new perspectives on familiar rituals. The artist has built a birthing-tent ( a water-filled sphere with a view to the sky ) and a bivouac for the dead – both featured in MASS MoCA’s 2004 exhibition The Interventionists. Past projects have included dewdrop-shaped nests that hang from trees for environmentalists and a concert pavilion for four grand pianos.
Straddling the world of art and design, the artist’s tents can be found in schools, public squares and campsites, as well as numerous museum collections.
For MASS MoCA, Wapenaar has designed a pavilion for the museum’s central courtyard, the site of performances, films, and special events. New redwood decking and a series of overlapping, colored canopies provide an inviting sculptural environment for visitors both day and night. Supplying shade and protection from the elements, the structure extends the museum’s space out of doors, creating a more comfortable place to read, rest, and socialize while maintaining the courtyard as a lively site for cabaret and theater.
The artist’s multi-use design has gone through three phases. Drawings shown here illustrate the rectilinear canopies of an early concept as well as the complex, organic silhouettes of the final work. The artist became increasingly interested in the historic mill structure as he worked through his designs, exposing the oil tank – which Wapenaar painted a bright “ Dutch” orange – on the north wall by cutting a new masonry opening, and juxtaposing his shaped canvases and rounded black-steel frames against rough-hewn brick and industrial I-beams. The renderings on view include a proposal for a raised seating pit featuring a custom-built wood stove to be built in a later phase."

In association with NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires , the installation marks Wapenaar's second visit to North Adams.
In 2004, as part of The Interventionists, he exhibited his Buckminster Fuller-inspired Birthing Tent (2003) and his Death Bivouac (2002). His inhabitable artworks use the tent form to suggest new social arrangements.

The opening celebration was held June 15
NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires is coordinated by the Department of Press and Cultural Affairs at the Consulate General of The Netherlands in New York and Service Centre for International Cultural Activities (SICA) in Amsterdam. Initial funding for NL was provided by The Netherlands Culture Fund through SICA. Additional funding has been provided by the Fund for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and the Mondriaan Foundation.

Read the NY Times review.

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