New exhibitions at the List Visual Arts Center adorn the walls of the gallery and move beyond them with the help of off-site venues and the Internet.
Seattle-based artist Jill Reynolds is creating The Shape of Breath, using media including stone, blown glass, graphite, paper, water, leaves and other natural and found objects. The artist, who is in residence through Monday, Feb. 10, is creating approximately 10,000 glass bubbles. The bubbles are incorporated into the installation, which encompasses other components dealing with themes and metaphors related to language and breath. Ms. Reynolds' exhibition is the second in a year-long series of projects by contemporary artists exploring the nature of language and communication.
Joseph Kosuth, who helped redefine the art object with the formulation of "Conceptual Art" during the 1960s and 1970s, is siting his new project, Re-Defining the Context of Art: 1968-97, at the List Visual Arts Center and venues around Cambridge and Boston.
Mr. Kosuth began his work with art sited outside the gallery in 1968 with The Second Investigation. The new List Center project continues these themes, as he questions art's traditional forms and the assumptions surrounding them, from the function of the objects to the role of the exhibition itself.
Mr. Kosuth supplements his work by drawing from texts and imagery from philosophy, literature, reference books, popular culture and scientific theory. He then places them in various contexts to prompt consideration of what can and cannot be considered art. For the List project, he uses quotes from cultural critic and theorist Walter Benjamin's writing, which are put into play in various public spaces and media.
Project venues outside the List Center are the Boston Center for the Arts (539 Tremont St.); the Brattle Street Theater (40 Brattle St., Cambridge); Center Plaza (Cambridge St., Boston); WGBH-TV and the MIT home page at http://web.mit.edu>.
PORT: Navigating Digital Culture, a thematic exhibition organized by the New York-based collaborative Artnet-web, presents the work of artists who use the Internet as their medium. Visitors may participate in interactive real-time performances or observe them, either in the List Center galleries or from their own computer terminals outfitted with the necessary hardware and software (terminals are also available at the List Center).
Among the artists who have created Web pages for the exhibit are MIT Artist-in-Residence Lawrence Weiner and Sawad Brooks, a research assistant at the Media Lab. For a full listing, schedules and descriptions for all events, go to the exhibition's home page at http://artnetweb.com/port>.
The artists' primary and unifying concern is the interactive potential of the Internet as creative catalyst, network and social space. The exhibition provokes questions about identity and the role of the artist situated within a virtual terrain, the role of an active viewer/participant and the dematerialized work of art.
The exhibition was also structured to make the curatorial process apparent and open to questioning through the PORT Web site. In addition, a listserv (e-mail group) was set up for discussions about art on the Internet and its implications. To sign on, see the PORT Web site.
All three shows run through March 29. For further information, call x3-4680.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 5, 1997.