MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The focus of the Office of the Associate Provost for the Arts during 1998 has been: the further development of a sense of community and agency among MIT artists; greater uses of existing resources and the development of new ones as opportunities arise.


The Associate Provost inaugurated the Arts Colloquia in 1997. These monthly lunchtime meetings are designed to introduce all members of the MIT Arts Community to the work of individual members in the different disciplines. During its second year, this community expanded to include members of the Council for the Arts, many of whom were thrilled to have the opportunity to gain closer contact with the arts faculty. Presenters in 1998 were Assistant Professor Brenda Cotto-Escalera from Theater Arts; Professor Ed Levine of Visual Arts; Institute Professor John Harbison of Music; Artist-in-Residence Felice Frankel of the Edgerton Center; Stephen Alter, lecturer in Writing and Humanistic Studies; and Katy Kline, director of the List Visual Arts Center.

1998 saw the selection of the first group of Council Scholars in the Arts. Sponsored and supported by the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Council Scholars is a new program which brings together student artists from all parts of the Institute for monthly events and the exchange of creative work and ideas. The charter group of Council Scholars will be announced in the fall of 1998 and will begin its inaugural year of events in September.

In terms of the larger community, the MIT Office of the Arts, in collaboration with New York University sponsored the Paucartambo Project: Andean Popular Religiosity in Representation. Produced by Maureen Costello, director of Special Events in the Office of the Arts, the Paucartambo Project was the focus of the Third Annual Conference on Politics and Performance in Latin America. The Conference has now become a collaborative effort between MIT and New York University.

The Council for the Arts at MIT celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a gala that included the announcement of Martin Rosen '62 will replace John Kunstadter '49 as the new Chairman; special appearances by Kitty Carlisle Hart and A. R. Gurney; the awarding of the McDermott Prize to media artist Toni Dove; and the Kepes Prize to Professor Stephen Benton of the Media Lab.

Alan Brody, Associate Provost for the Arts, joined the planning committee for the Mars Millennium Project, a K-12 initiative incorporating the arts, technology and science and sponsored by the NEA, NASA, the Department of Education and the Getty Foundation. Professor Brody also agreed to co-Chair the Initiatives for Children in the Arts with James Ackerman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Professor Jessica Davis of the Harvard School of Education.

In its second year of operation, the Museum Loan Network (MLN) Advisory Committee recommended 30 grants totaling $485,901 which were approved by MIT for funding to museums throughout the country.


The Brad and Dorothea Endicott World Music Center (in N51) opened in the fall of 1997. A gift of the Endicotts, it had its formal dedication as part of the program for the 25th Annual meeting of the Council for the Arts.

With the support of another Council member, Bud Bezark '49, Music and Theater Arts produced its First Festival of World Music in the spring of '98.

The MIT Museum found itself the recipient of an approximately $3M bequest from the estate of Buzz Burroughs '20, for the Hart Nautical Collection. This endowment fund supports the curator of the Hart Collection and allows the General Operating Support (GOS) formerly assigned to him to shift to the curator of Architecture whose salary had heretofore come from year-to-year private donations. With the addition of part-time Educational Director Otto Loggers, the Museum expanded its educational outreach program beyond the holography lab to include programs for the Cambridge and Somerville Schools including the Piranesi exhibit, the exhibit of kinetic sculpture by Arthur Ganson and the Mathematics Room.

Plans were completed for modest student exchange programs between MIT and both the Massachusetts College of Art and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. In the spring of 1998 ten students were chosen to participate in the inaugural year of the exchange for 1998-99. In the ongoing exchange between MIT and Harvard, MIT subjects were cross-listed with the Harvard Program Visual Arts.

As part of the 1% for the Arts Policy the renovations of Building 16 and 56 included the installation of permanent sites for rotating exhibitions of holographic pieces and media art. These exhibitions will be curated by Glorianna Davenport, principal research associate in the Media Lab, and Katy Kline, director of the List Visual Arts Center.

The Associate Provost for the Arts and the Dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, with the support of Senior Vice President, commissioned architect and Associate Professor Duke Reiter to draw up plans for the renovation of the facade of Buildings N51-52.

In the spring of '98 the List Visual Arts Center opened Mirror Images: Reflections of the Women in Surrealist Art, its most ambitious exhibition. Curated jointly by Whitney Chadwick of Berkeley University and Helaine Posner and Katy Kline of the List, the exhibit garnered praise from The New York Times and The Boston Globe. It is scheduled to move to the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts in the summer.


The Director of the List Visual Arts Center, Katy Kline and Curator Helaine Posner were named as curators of the US entry in the next Venice Biennale.

Artist-in-Residence in Science and Engineering Felice Frankel's book, On the Surface of the Things, was published to warm critical reception. Exhibitions based the photographs in the book had gala openings at the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington.

An exhibition of Arthur Ganson's work opened at the Ricco-Maresca gallery in New York City. Mr. Ganson is artist-in-residence in science and engineering with the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


Institute Professor John Harbison received one of the prestigious Heinz Awards for service and excellence.

Professor Krzysztof Wodiczko won the fourth Hiroshima Art Prize from Hiroshima City, Japan for high achievement in international contemporary art and contributions to world peace.

Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody, saw three productions of his plays: The Housewives of Mannheim at the Boston Playwrights Theater, Greytop in Love at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theater and The Company of Angels at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. His new play, Medea's Nurse, won First Prize for Excellence in Playwriting from the Riverside Stage Company in Connecticut.

Assistant Professor Thomas DeFrantz danced with the Boston Pops to Morton Gould's Tap Dance Concerto for Tech Night at the Pops '98.

Alan Brody

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98