The Mattress Factory’s artistic program is focused on the commission, presentation and collection of new site-specific installations that are developed in residency. Each installation is conceived for and executed in the space in which the public sees it. The work is integrated into the site and depends on its relationship to the setting for its final effect.
Since 1977, the Mattress Factory has provided space and resources for more than 750 artists to make site-specific works. Each year, eight to twelve new works open to the public and continue on public view for four to six months. At the end of the exhibition period, works are removed, and the galleries are returned to their original condition.
Residencies range from one week to two months, with an average of three to four weeks. The artists determine the length of time they wish to work, and the schedule is designed to provide maximum on-site staff support for each artist. Professional carpenters, plasterers and metal-workers participate in the installation process as needed, and the curatorial staff locates materials -- bags of human hair, miles of barbed wire, tons of paraffin wax, insect larvae -- whatever the artist needs. The staff locates equipment to fill artists’ requests, such as cooling a space to below freezing temperatures, or lining a room with LED screens.