Prey returns to Mass MoCA

Jan 09, 2018
Barbara Prey is pictured working on her monumental watercolor at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art before its unveiling in May, 2017.

North Adams, Mass. — Longtime Midcoast summer resident artist Barbara Prey will be on site in Building 6 during the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art's Free Day Saturday, Jan. 20.

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., MASS MoCA will open the doors to its 250,000 square-foot galleries free of charge for the first time since its critically hailed and award-winning expansion doubled the space for the museum's visual arts exhibitions last May. The expansion included Building 6, for which Prey was commissioned to create the world’s largest known watercolor painting. It depicts the raw architectural state of the former textile factory prior to its transformation into long-term exhibition spaces.

At 8-by-15 feet, the piece is, according to MASS MoCA director Joe Thompson, a “technical tour de force” that required the masterful execution of more than 120 square feet of a transparent medium in which any “errors” cannot be erased or hidden. The work's precision of scale, combined with its particular placement in the renovated building, creates the spatial illusion that the viewer is looking through a window into the building's historical architecture.

During Free Day, Prey will be on hand for drop-in Q&As, an artist workshop and a lecture on her commission. There also will be live music, art-making, live performances and gallery tours. For the full schedule of activities, visit For more information about the artist, who lives and paints in Port Clyde during the summer months, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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