CMU School of Drama

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wax Heads & Old Underwear Are Just The Beginning Of The Mattress Factory’s 40-Year Archive

90.5 WESA: Michael Olijnyk has a hard time throwing things away. He’s co-director of the Mattress Factory, along with with Barbara Luderowski. They live in the museum, on an upper floor.

“We are obsessive, obsessive collectors,” he said.

Not hoarders, Olijnyk specified.


Taylor Steck said...

Having gone to the Mattress Factory a few times, I also couldn't help but wonder what would happen to these pieces once new ones came in and where would they go. I'm so glad to see that although I still don't know what happens to the overall pieces, especially the big ones that take up the space of the entire interior to a whole house, that at least parts of these art works are saved somewhere in the upper floors of the museum. I hope that maybe one day they will allow these archives to be seen by the public, these little pockets of art history as well as the previous history of the museum itself. I feel that this article is also applicable to theatre in the sense that we often spend tons of money, time, and effort on constructing these beautiful pieces of scenery, costumes, or props just for them to be taken apart again. Obviously we can't save everything because it simply wouldn't be logical but I still feel that these archives that are created for the sole purpose of protecting future history is still important in someway to today.

Claire Krueger said...

Knowing the Mattress Factory I went into this article afraid. I am very much a purger and a neat freak so I prepared myself the same way I do when I enter my estranged aunt’s house, ready for piles of boxes and the hovering scent of disappointment. My OCD drove me mad looking at the boxes and trash like remnants. While the logical side appreciates that they will most likely be a profitable asset in the future the emotional sides sees it as a waste of space, another gallery or installation that could have been. Especially when they keep things like mud caked under wear I can’t see the reason in collecting things. Maybe if the artist's autographed them and they had them stored in airtight AC space but boxes on a shelf in the hallway doesn't look like a containment space that would increase the lifeline of the objects long enough until they acquired monetary values.

Annie Scheuermann said...

I went to the mattress factory last year, and really enjoyed it. I was one of the most interesting art museums I have ever seen, and something about the traveling to the little house in just an unassuming neighborhood added to the experience. I am not surprised that their is a collection of parts from old exhibits, honestly I would think it would be sad if some piece of each wasn't preserved. I have always kept things from old productions I worked on, like a prop or piece of the set, and those mean so much more to me then having the poster or program from a show. I think their is something really beautiful about the idea that in the upper attic of the Mattress Factory their are pieces of all the old art exhibits just sitting on shelfs for no other reason then somebody couldn't fully let go of the piece. I hope that it never is open to the public and turned into a room into the museum because that is not what it was ever intended to be, if someone used all the pieces to create something new - that would be different, but as they are, I think they should be left their for the creators.

Ali Whyte said...

I absolutely love the mattress factory. While this article focuses on it's massive and eclectic collection, I really enjoyed how interactive it is. I think you can see through the tone of this article the way that this place is run, and interactive stuff is definitely a major part of that. I really like how they try to make the art really accessible to the viewer, sometimes giving a piece it's own room so people can walk around it and view it from all sides and angles. I do like how they keep all sorts of things from past performances; it seems almost like a private collection, which I think is definitely something they should be able to keep for themselves. I think the wonderful thing about this place is that in order to see everything they have to offer you have to come back when they change out the exhibits, and if you miss one then that's just that.

Antonio Ferron said...

I love that the co-directors of the Mattress Factory keep pieces of old installations. I know we can all relate to that feeling of taking a piece of a show or piece of art home with us once it's over. It's comforting to see that see grown professionals do this too. It would be so cool to take a look at all the pieces they've kept throughout the years. I'm sure the archive is extremely diverse in the kinds of items that stored. I wonder how they choose what pieces to take? It would interesting to see what the individual pieces of significance that were selected are. Just imagine what the large installation these unique pieces of art once belonged to. I hope this archive continues to grow. One day it might become its own exhibit. Until then we can just continue enjoying the current installations at the Mattress Factory and taking home pieces from our own work.