OCTOBER 2009

CREATIVE ACCOUNTING

EXHIBITION AT MASS MoCA

$113,857.34
Below is the complete budget for the art exhibition These Days, which is on display at Mass MoCA through February 28, 2010. The exhibition highlights six different contemporary artists whose work reflects “a sense of both wonderment and elegy.” The exhibition covers 17,850 square feet, throughout ten galleries.

The individual projects range in media and scope: video, sculpture, installation, painting, animation. The exhibit includes four immersive installations: a “chapel to the twenty-first century” that features weeping saints, a safari-style soundscape with fake trees and camo netting, and a cynlindrical room in which the viewer watches a 360-degree video cyclorama and a video projection. Two artists provided work that was pre-existing. The costs for those projects are thus much less than for the four works specially commissioned and fabricated for this show.

This is an unusual budget even for a small museum. Mass MoCA dedicates its resources to working directly with artists, rather than just moving paintings, sculptures, and video from trucks to the gallery space. As the numbers below show, the Mass MoCA installations required the ingenuity and dedication of the entire musuem staff. Keeping overhead costs as low as possible is still one of the advantages of the small contemporary museum; less than 7 percent of the total budget went toward the “general expenses” of the museum.

—M. Rebekah Otto

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please visit our store to purchase a copy of the magazine.

—M. Rebekah Otto

M. Rebekah Otto lives in Berkeley, California. She is the assistant books editor of the Rumpus and an editorial aide at Atlas Obscura.

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