Where art and science meet

Published: March 29, 2011

MIT List Visual Arts Center showcases collection of public art on MIT Sloan campus

MIT is a leader among institutions of higher education for its public art collection, with 60 artworks sited throughout its campus. On Thursday, March 31, 2011, the MIT List Visual Arts Center will showcase the portion of the collection housed in and around the MIT Sloan campus to the wider MIT community.

MIT Sloan’s campus is home to one of MIT’s first publicly sited artworks—the 1939 Sloan School Murals by renown muralist Francis Scott Bradford, located in the main lobby of Building E52—as well as one of the collections’ most recent works, Cai Guo-Qiang’s 2010 Ring Stone, a new commission by one of China’s most renowned living artists. Ring Stone is located in E62’s oval courtyard.

This eastern end of the MIT campus also serves as the site for a work by Jules Olitski, a key figure in American painting following WWII; a wall drawing by the founding figure of conceptual art, Sol LeWitt; and a soon-to-be re-sited sculpture designed by Pablo Picasso.

In addition, through a generous donation by Ronald Kurtz, SB ’55, MIT Sloan has a number of photographs by the pioneering American photographer Berenice Abbott publicly sited throughout E62. Abbott’s photographs are also featured in a current exhibition in the Dean’s Gallery on the fourth floor of E52. The exhibition features Abbott’s portraits of artists and writers of the early 20th century including iconic figures such as James Joyce, Jean Cocteau, and Sylvia Beach.

Works on the MIT Sloan campus such as Bernard Venet’s Two Indeterminate Lines are part of the MIT Public Art Collection wholly because of generous donations—in this instance due to the generosity of Eliot K. Wolk ’57, while many of the public artworks at MIT, such as Ring Stone, were made possible by MIT’s Percent-for-Art policy, a policy instituted in 1968 which sets aside up to $250,000 for each new capital project for the purchase or commission of visual art.

The MIT List Visual Arts Center’s Sloan School Art Exploration is free and open to the entire MIT community. It will take place on Thursday, March 31, 2011, from 5pm to 7pm in the lobby of Building E62. Food, beverages, and guided tours by the List Visual Arts Center staff will be available. This event is being sponsored by Graduate Student Life Grants, Associate Provost Philip Khoury, Arts at MIT, the List Visual Arts Center, and the MIT Sloan Dean’s Office.