5/12 Flood Plain: Screening: Site-Specific: A History of the Mattress Factory

Site-Specific: A History of the Mattress Factory (97 minutes)

Through a mix of stories and anecdotes, archival installation footage, and interviews with artists and razor-sharp co-directors Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk, Site-Specific: A History of the Mattress Factory presents an in-depth look at one of the first site-specific museums in the United States.

Founded in 1977 in Pittsburgh, PA, the Mattress Factory is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world. Starting as a quirky, anything goes food co-op and artist studio space, the museum created a program of artist residencies in 1982 to focus on site-specific installation art and they never looked back.

The film parallels the installation of the museum’s 40th anniversary exhibition with an in-depth, story-driven journey through the museum’s long history of exhibiting site-specific art. Through interviews with artists such as Ann Hamilton, Sarah Oppenheimer, Vanessa German, Dennis Maher, and others, the film provides an intimate, sometimes humorous, look at the indirect path a museum takes as it creates its identity.

By mining the museum’s extensive tape and video archive, the film unearths rare archival installation footage of James Turrell, Yayoi Kusama, Meg Webster, and David Ellis. Detailed discussions provide the history and context for John Cage’s changing installation, Allan Wexler’s Bed Sitting Rooms for an Artist in Residence, and Dennis Maher’s three-story installation “A Second Home”, among other works.

Here's an excerpt about an early 80s installation by Meg Webster and an early 00s installation/video by David Ellis: https://vimeo.com/239511080/9ed8277ab7

Here is the trailer: https://vimeo.com/256515952

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