MIT Reports to the President 1996-97


The List Visual Arts Center's (LVAC) mission is to present, through changing exhibitions as well as the publicly sited Permanent Collection, the highest quality, most challenging art and design by professionals practicing in diverse media today and to provide additional educational programs which promote a broader appreciation of the ideas within contemporary visual expression.



Louise Bourgeois: Drawings (Hayden and Reference Galleries, October 5 - December 29, 1996). A retrospective of the works on paper by this eminent and influential artist; organized by the University Art Museum, Berkeley. Supplemented by one colossal scale steel Spider sculpture.

Joseph Grigely: Ordinary Conversations (Bakalar Gallery, September 12 - December 29, 1996). Deaf from age 10, Grigely collects and installs the scraps of paper with which he communicates with the hearing as he travels around the world. In residence for three weeks he conversed with large numbers of visitors, both students and the general public, whose notes were added to the exhibition. The first in the year-long Bakalar Gallery-based exhibition series of artists investigating the nature of language and communication. A 32 page artist-designed publication was produced.

Joseph Kosuth: Re-Defining the Context of Art and Public Media (Hayden Gallery, January 25 - March 29, 1997). This key figure in the redefinition of the art object that took place in the 60s and 70s surveyed his influential early use of public media (texts in newspapers and billboards) and created a new work placing quotes by cultural critic Walter Benjamin into six public spaces: The Brattle Theater, The Boston Center for the Arts, WGBH, the MIT Home Page, and Beacon Properties' prominent Government Center building Three Center Plaza.

PORT: Navigating Digital Culture (Reference Gallery, January 25 - March 29, 1997). The first dedicated museum museum site for the presentation of real-time live performance work over the internet by artists and artist groups from around the world. Organized in collaboration with Remo Campopiano of Artnetweb, New York. A special website and listserv was created for this project.

Jill Reynolds: The Shape of Breath (Bakalar Gallery, January 25 - March 29, 1997). The second in the Bakalar Gallery series of artist's projects dealing with language, this Seattle-based artist was in residence for eight weeks exploring the metaphorical properties of materials -- in particular their ability to convey, carry, and communicate. Working daily in the darkened gallery she blew more than 10,000 small glass bubbles, to underscore breath as a site of language production, giving form to that which is normally invisible and transient. A catalog will be produced.

Nahum Zenil: Witness to the Self (Hayden Gallery, April 19 - June 29, 1997). One of Mexico's best -known painters whose subject is his own face and body, which he uses to analyze the social, political and psychological circumstances of his society. This exhibition of 85 paintings and drawings was the first comprehensive survey of his work in the United States. Organized by the Mexican Museum, San Francisco.

Luis Gonzalez Palma: Photographic Works (Reference Gallery, April 19 - June 29, 1997). Continuing the focus on Latin American portraiture, the introduction to Boston of the dramatic, bitumen-treated photographs of individual Mayans by this Guatemalan architect turned photographer. He adds mythological and religious symbols to the figures as a means of evoking universal tragedies and loss.

Kay Rosen: Short Stories/Tall Tales (Bakalar Gallery, April 19 - June 29, 1997). Witty and colorful paintings of words which completed the year-long exhibition series on language. This Gary, Indiana-based artist turns words themselves into pictorial images, often relying on puns and popular culture, which ask the viewer to explore the ways meaning is read, derived and decoded. A 30-page catalog with silkscreened illustrations was produced.



The first piece of art to be placed in the renovated Building 56 through MIT's One Percent for Art policy, a multipartite hologram on loan from the artists Susan Gamble and Michael Wenyon, was installed only to require prompt removal to devise improved conservation conditions before eventual reinstallation. Fifteen works were added to the Permanent Collection by gift, including a sculpture by David Bakalar, placed between the Student Center and the Athletic Center. Four works were given to the Student Loan Collection. A painting on paper by Roni Horn was purchased for the Permanent Collection while 11 works on paper were purchased for the Student Loan Collection. A steel sculpture Two Indeterminate Lines by Bernar Venet was placed on long term loan by Elliot Volk and sited on the Hermann Building Plaza. Four works from the Permanent Collection required professional conservation.


Katy Kline, director, served on the Museum panel at the National Endowment for the Arts; juried the public art competition for the Cambridge Water Treatment Plant for the Cambridge Arts Council; served as a final juror for the Bunting Institute Fellowship awards; continued to serve on the Visiting Committee for the Williams College Museum of Art and served as an advisor to the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Visual Arts Initiative.

Helaine Posner, curator juried the 86th Annual Exhibition of the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh for the Carnegie Museum of Art in October 1996.

Jennifer Riddell, curatorial assistant/fellow serves on the Public Art Advisory Committee of the Cambridge Arts Council.

More information about the List Visual Arts Center can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Katy Kline

MIT Reports to the President 1996-97