Mattress Factory Museum
The Mattress Factory Museum is a contemporary art museum and experimental lab featuring site-specific installations created by artists in residence from around the world” (“Mattress Factory”). Founded in 1977, the museum has featured over 650 artists and “supports established and emerging artists through a residency program that provides leadership, guidance, resources and opportunities to create artwork that is unconventional, challenging and thought-provoking. The museum’s flexibility and inventiveness allows artists to respond to developments in technology, explore audience interaction, and challenge traditional artistic ideals and practice” (“History”). The museum highly encourages alternative art forms and its exhibitions have appeared in such publications as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the Mattress Factory offers educational outreach programs, such as workshops in its Education Studio, school programs, teacher training, and community programs. The museum has gained renowned recognition and has made a highly positive impact on the city of Pittsburgh and the city’s north side.
Backstory and Context
In 1975, the Mattress Factory's founder, Barbara Luderowski purchased the former Stearns and Foster mattress warehouse on Pittsburgh's North Side as a living and working space. She also opened up the large space to Pittsburgh's art and intellectual community and operated a small food co-op until 1977. That year she created a non-profit educational and cultural corporation that would evolve into the Mattress Factory.
Using the slogan, "Art you can get into," the art museum opened its doors to the public in 1982 and it has been immersing patrons in its room-sized artistic installations ever since. It has since added gallery space on Monterey St and next door at 516 Sampsonia Way, as well as residences for associated artists on North Taylor St.
The museum contains 17 continuous, permanent exhibits by such artists as William Anastasi, Rolf Julius, Yayoi Kusama and James Turrell, among others.