Exploring the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh

Repetitive Vision at the Mattress Factory

Are you looking for a fun and crazy place to take the kids on your visit to Pittsburgh? On a visit to this great city, we found this contemporary art museum that looked unassuming on the outside. But, the inside was not an ordinary art museum in any way. The Mattress Factory is an interactive art museum that showcases art installations of resident artists from all over the world.

Repetitive Vision at the Mattress Factory

Getting ThereMattress Factory

The Mattress Factory consists of several buildings in the historic Mexican War Streets of Pittsburgh’s North Side.  But, the main one is at 500 Sampsonia Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Opening hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.; and is closed on Mondays. Ticket price is $20 for an adult. It is walking distance from Randyland. If you are looking for an afternoon filled with quirky and bewildering art this is the spot in Pittsburgh to be.

What is the Mattress Factory

The Museum was founded in 1977 by artists to support artists. Each year 15 artists from around the world are invited to come and live here where they can design and create site-specific art installations. Over the years this museum has presented to its visitors over 750 artists works. The flexibility in this program has artists working with technology, allowing interaction with the exhibits, and basically challenging all the traditional aspects of what art should be. There are also 17 permanent art collections within the museum. The exhibits fill the entire room so, you can walk in and through them interacting with them as they are intended for.

Garden InstallationGarden Installation at the Mattress Factory

This permanent garden installation is by Winifred Lutz. She wanted to create a way to show future generations what the past was like on this very site. It is similar to how archeological sites showcase the past. You are free to walk among the garden, stone, and site. Kayla and I had fun exploring this even in the winter/spring weather.Kayla posing in the Garden Installation at the Mattress Factory

Repetitive VisionRepetitive Vision at the Mattress Factory

When you start walking through the museum, you will be constantly questioning yourself ‘WTF is this place?’ It is bizarre and confusing which makes it a great art museum. One of the permanent exhibits is the Repetitive Vision room by Yayoi Kusama. This is one of the bizarre rooms. It starts in a black hallway that leads you to this brightly lit room with three mannequins and red dots on everything in front of infinity mirrors. We had a lot of fun in this room taking selfies with the ladies. Heather in Repetitive Vision room at the Mattress Factory

It’s All About Me, Not YouIt's All About Me, Not You room at the Mattress Factory

This is one of the rooms that you have to pause and take in for a while. Rightly called ‘It’s All About Me, Not You’ by Greer Lankton showcases dolls that she has made and the demons that have plagued her life. This autobiographical exhibit can be a bit hard to relate to for some. But, that is what makes art interesting is how it speaks to you. Everyone sees something different and how it relates to them.

Mini WorldMini world at the Mattress Factory

I really enjoyed this exhibit when we visited. There was so much detail to see as you walked around the table that held this mini-city. The miniature buildings were so filled with character. And there were unique metal sculptures on the outskirts of the city. close-up of the mini cityKayla in the mini world

Circus PerformerKayla trying the high wire

Not sure what the correct name of this exhibit was, but it was a lot of fun. We got to try all kinds of activities that circus performers did. Kayla tried them all. Some with success, others not so much. Kayla trying the high wire 2Kayla on the spinning wheelKayla pedaling the flying bike

SummaryBull art at the Mattress Factory

The Mattress Factory is a unique experience that most people would not even know is here in Pittsburgh. On my travels, I love going to art museums and to happen upon one that is so interactive is a gem to find. If you are in Pittsburgh for a weekend or longer, consider stopping by the Mattress Factory. For an afternoon that will have you questioning what art should be. Mattress Factory is a must-see art museum in Pittsburgh that you will truly enjoy visiting.Quote from the Mattress Factory

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Further Reading

If you are coming to the Pittsburgh area or Pennsylvania for a visit, check out these posts for more travel inspiration:

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