MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The List Visual Arts Center's (LVAC) mission is to present, through changing exhibitions as well as the publicly sited Permanent Collection and the Student Loan Art 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.



The Art of Detection: Surveillance in Society (Hayden and Reference Galleries, October 9 - December 28, 1997). An exhibition of video, photographic and installation work by artists addressing the role of institutional surveillance -- its pervasiveness, our responses to it and the new and sometimes invisible forms watching is afforded by the digital revolution. Catalog with essays by Timothy Druckrey and Jennifer Riddell published.

Recovering Lost Fictions: Caravaggio's `Musicians' (Bakalar Gallery, October 9 - December 28, 1997). A project by contemporary artists Joseph Grigely and Kathleen Gilje exploring the ways we authenticate, value and appreciate works of fine art, using a supposedly "restored" version of the Caravaggio painting The Musicians by painter/art restorer Gilje as a case study. Brochure published mimicking National Gallery of Art monographic studies of single works.

Francesc Torres: The Repository of Absent Flesh (Hayden Gallery, January 16 - March 22, 1998). Stretching the narrative aspect of installation art to its fullest, 20 unusual objects made or found by the artist were arrayed on metal tables throughout the gallery. Visitor movement triggered spotlights on the individual objects and the recorded narration of one of 20 short stories written by the artist in which the particular object figured in the overall construction of a fictional and emotional portrait of the history and warring ideologies of the 20th century. A hardcover book with an introduction by Arthur Danto containing the stories and photos of the objects was published. A second Torres installation, The Fury of the Saints, evoking physical and religious passion and struggle, was on view in the Reference Gallery from January 23 - March 22, 1998. Exhibition supported by The Rockefeller Foundation, Catalan Cultural Organization, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the LEF Foundation.

The Squeeze Chair Project: Wendy Jacob with Temple Grandin (Bakalar Gallery, January 16 - March 22, 1998). Jacob, an artist who investigates aspects of physicality and touch and Grandin, the well-known autistic designer of humane animal handling apparatus, collaborated on the design of a mechanically operated, domestically upholstered armchair which applies a reassuring overall pressure to the sitter. Also on view were Grandin's designs for her original squeeze machine developed to calm her own autism, as well as her livestock chutes and animal handling devices. (Exhibition originated by the Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Mirror Images: Women, Surrealism and Self-Representation (Hayden, Reference and Bakalar Galleries, April 9 - June 28, 1998). The first exhibition to present the self-portraits or self-representations of three generations of women Surrealist or Surrealist-influenced artists, included nearly 100 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures dating from 1928 to 1997 by 22 artists from north and central America, Europe and Japan. Jointly curated with Whitney Chadwick (art historian and author of the seminal study Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement) who also edited the 200-page, illustrated book containing essays by the curators and four cultural and art historians which was published by MIT Press. Support received from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, The Dorsky Foundation and Herb and Kitty Glantz.



Gifts to the collection numbering 27 works were made principally by Prof. Boris Magasanik and alumnus Roger and Joan Sonnabend; highlights include 11 prints and drawings by Boston artist Aaron Fink, together with his large painting Out for a Walk recently installed in the Whitaker Building atrium, as well as works by Bill Thompson, John Hoyland and Terence LaNoue. Thirteen works were purchased, including a color photograph by Uta Barth and prints by Ian McKeever, Louise Bourgeois and Yukinori Yanagi.


More information about the LVAC can be found at the following URL:

Katy Kline

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98