7. The rise of Mass MoCA
When it opened in North Adams in 1999, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art appeared to be an improbable entry in the museum landscape: a sprawling contemporary-art campus in the midst of a rundown factory town. While Mass MoCA has been through plenty of downs -- a financial crunch that nearly forced its closing; the Christoph Buchel conflict that blemished the museums reputation for working with artists -- the institution has become a national destination. It has a slate of changing exhibitions, concerts, and as of last year, a three-floor, 30,000-square-foot wing dedicated to the work of the late Sol LeWitt.
Pictured: Cai Guo Qiang's "Inopportune" on display at Mass MoCA.