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Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory
Established 1977
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Mattress Factory is a museum of contemporary art located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. It exhibits room-sized installation art from across the country and around the world.

The Mattress Factory museum is named for its gallery buildings, housed since 1977 in the former Stearns & Foster mattress factory and warehouse buildings at 500 Sampsonia Way in the Mexican War Streets area of Pittsburgh's Central Northside.

Currently, the Mattress Factory receives about 38,000 visitors per year [1]. Museum operating hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Mattress Factory is closed on Mondays.



The early 20th century building which houses the Mattress Factory was acquired by the Mattress Factory in 1975 [2]. It was previously used as a mattress warehouse. It became a legal non-profit organization and educational institution in 1977; not-for-profit and an essentially educational nature are included in a list key factors for receiving museum accreditation from the American Association of Museums today. The museum's first exhibition of installation art opened five years later on May 8, 1982 [3].

From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, the Mattress Factory acquired more properties for various purposes, including[4]:

  • 1414 Monterey Street: A repurposed commercial building now used for gallery space
  • Two buildings on on N Taylor Avenue: Remodeled and repurposed as artists' residences
  • 505 Jacksonia Street: Now used as a parking lot for museum visitors and Winifred Lutz's Garden Installation (1993)

Mission statement

The Mattress Factory is a research and development lab for artists. As a museum of contemporary art, it commissions new site-specific works, presents them to the widest possible audience and maintains selected individual installations in a growing - and distinctive - permanent collection. The Mattress Factory's physical and organizational environments have developed out of and responded to a central focus in the creative process. [5]

Permanent exhibitions

The Mattress Factory hosts 16 continuous, permanent installations [6]. The following is a short list of artists who have permanent displays at the Mattress Factory [7]:

William Anastasi

  • Trespass
  • January 13, 1989, 10 minutes, 6B
  • April 15, 1989, 32 minutes 4B

Chicago Collaboration

  • A Collaboration

Jene Highstein

  • Unititled installation

Rolf Julius

  • Red
  • Music for a Garden
  • Ash

Yayoi Kusama

  • Infinity Dots Mirrored Room
  • Repetitive Vision

Greer Lankton

  • It's all about ME, Not You

Winifred Lutz

  • Garden Installation

James Turrell

  • Catso, Red (1967)
  • Pleiades created in 1983
  • Danaë created in 1983

Allan Wexler

  • Bed Sitting Rooms for an Artist in Residence

Bill Woodrow

  • Ships of Fools: Discovery of Time


The Mattress Factory is an institutional leader for incorporating interactive technologies and social media networks into the physical museum space and the virtual world. The museum's new media initiative is called Friendship 2.0. Platforms include a weblog, MF iConfess, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Last.FM, and the Mattress Factory Channel on YouTube. The goal of Friendship 2.0 is to encourage people to share in the Mattress Factory experience and connect with physical and virtual audiences even if they are not able to come to the museum [8].

In April 2009, the Mattress Factory became the first museum in the United States to introduce the use of QR codes as a visitor engagement tool.[9] In an attempt to reduce the quantity of printed gallery guides the Mattress Factory produces, they have placed several QR codes on wall cards throughout the museum. Each code links to different information; some access video of artists talking about the piece the visitor is viewing or video of the artist installing the work, some display still images and background information, while others contain short anecdotal text messages about the pieces they are near. All content is viewed on visitors' personal mobile SMART phones. In September 2009, the Mattress Factory openly shared their experimental process with other arts organizations by publishing a 4-step guide to creating "Do It Yourself" QR codes on the museum's blog.[10]


External links


  1. ^ "Facts". Mattress Factory. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  2. ^ "Quick Facts". Mattress Factory. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  3. ^ "Quick Facts". Mattress Factory. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  4. ^ "Quick Facts". Mattress Factory. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  5. ^ "Mission Statment". Mattress Factory. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  6. ^ "Facts". Mattress Factory. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  7. ^ "Permanent Exhibitions". Mattress Factory. 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  8. ^ "Connect". Mattress Factory. 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2009.  
  9. ^ "QR Codes: A Visitor Resource Guide". Mattress Factory. 2009. Retrieved December 15, 2009.  
  10. ^ "Do It Yourself QR Codes: A 4-Step Guide". Mattress Factory. 2009. Retrieved December 15, 2009.  

Coordinates: 40°27′25″N 80°00′44″W / 40.45702°N 80.012337°W / 40.45702; -80.012337



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