The Mattress Factory

Dismantling and accumulating, proliferating and separating, the sense of obliterating and the sounds from the invisible cosmos. – Yayoi Kusama

Address: 500 Sampsonia Way Pittsburgh, PA
Phone: (412)231-3169
Website:Mattress Factory
Bus Routes: 8, 11, 15, 16
Hours: Tues-Sat 10-5, Sunday 1-5
Admission: Adults $20; Under 12/Over 62 $15; Veterans $10
Nearby Attractions: City Of AsylumRandyland


The Mattress Factory sits on a back alley in the middle of the Mexican War Streets of Pittsburgh’s Northside; much like it’s surrounding neighborhood, rich with culture and a diverse population of Eastern European immigrants to artists of all types, the Mattress Factory offers unique and unexpected experiences at every turn. The MF capitalizes on its surrounding neighborhood by spreading the exhibits across multiple nearby buildings. All of these buildings have been a part of the neighborhood for at least 100 years and have a varied history with everything from a private residence to a convenience store and of course, a mattress factory.

Monterey Street 1931, what was a convenience store on the right is now a Mattress Factory exhibit. (Historic Pittsburgh)

Established in 1977 the MF boasts a combination of permanent installations as well as temporary exhibits created by artists from all over the world. The installation art featured sometimes envelops a whole room or even a whole house and provides a broad, immersive sensory experience. One of the most popular permanent exhibits is by Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist whose exhibits have been a staple of the museums offerings since 1996, Kusama’s work features rooms covered in mirrors and polka dots meant to portray the vastness of space and invoke a feeling of eternity; these rooms prove to be a great opportunity for interesting photos to hallmark your visit to the MF. Much like Kusama’s installations many of the other installations are made to play on your senses with everything from multi-colored lights to surprising streams of water running down stair handrails. One of the more astonishing exhibits are by James Turrell and use lighting to alter your perception of space. Not much can be said on these exhibits without giving away the surprise that awaits you, but you can be sure they will be one of the more shocking visits in the museum.

Repetitive Vision, Yayoi Kusama, 1996. A permanent exhibit at the Mattress Factory

While moving from building to building you will also get to experience the charms of the surrounding neighborhood, everything from the Germanic architecture to the houses artfully painted by the City of Asylum, a local project which has turned the neighborhood into a refuge for “endangered literary writers.”
Combined with the range of exhibits in the Mattress Factory this hidden area offers a wide range of experiences rich with culture and history which you will struggle to find anywhere else in Pittsburgh.


Works Cited

“Welcome to Mattress Factory | Mattress Factory.” Welcome to Mattress Factory | Mattress Factory., . Web. 09 Dec. 2016.

Mexican War Streets Society., . Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
“Historic Pittsburgh” Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection, August 12, 1931, 715.3115010.CP,