Friday, October 5, 2012

New MOCA readies for opening

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland is finally set to open its new building in the Uptown neighborhood of University Circle, starting with a few events this weekend and the first official admission of the public this coming Monday.

Beginning with the HEX party on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 6 — which is being billed as a spellbinding, three-tiered VIP event — MOCA members will then be invited to check out the new digs from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7. The opening ceremonies then culminate with Free Public Day on Monday, Oct. 8, where admission will be free to all visitors from 1-6 p.m.

The museum looked very near full completion at a media tour this past Monday, with only minor things such as sweeping the floors, finishing up the entrances and getting a few things put away left to be done.

The initial exhibit, Inside Out and From the Ground Up, was largely in place on the museums fourth floor, including an incredible Henrique Oliveira creation that appears as if it’s tearing down a connected wall, while also allowing you to glance inside its structure.

Piece by artist Henrique Oliveira

The paintings by Jacqueline Humphries were impressive as well, their location just opposite the windows on the museum’s top floor allowing for striking interaction between the natural light and metallic, shiny composition of the pieces.

Pieces by artist Jacqueline Humphries

But ultimately, it is two aspects of the museum’s structure that figure to have people buzzing early on. The alternative/fire staircase (which the building was required to have) is actually built into and within the main staircase, giving it a hidden and confined quality. Enclosed all the way through, from top to bottom, the stairway and surrounding walls are painted a bright and vibrant yellow, giving you the feeling of navigating a winding maze inside of a giant lemon.

The building’s exterior, designed by architect Farshid Moussavi, is likely to illicit discussion as well. The smooth, reflective black glass of the exterior starts as hexagon at the base and expands towards the sky to a square roof. The veiled loading dock and blended entrances, not to mention it’s location at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Mayfield Road leaving it exposed on all sides, gives the structure what executive director Jill Snyder describes as a “James Bond, seamless quality.”

The new MOCA building

For an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at everything the museum has to offer, be sure to pick up our October Best of Cleveland issue containing our MOCA feature package, or check out the piece online. Those involved are hoping the sleek and contemporary vibe of the building and neighborhood will help to attract visitors and reinvigorate the art scene. And if you’re going for cool, James Bond isn’t a bad place to start.

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