The List Visual Arts Center found itself in the international visual arts spotlight last week as it was announced that Katy Kline, director of the List Visual Arts Center, and former List curator Helaine Posner had been chosen to organize the United States exhibition at the next Venice Biennale. Their winning submission for the US pavilion was a site-specific work by installation and performance artist Ann Hamilton.
The Venice Biennale is the oldest and most prestigious international visual arts festival in the world. Exhibitions are organized within 27 separate pavilions representing more than 40 countries throughout Europe, the Americas, Australia, Japan and Africa. The Biennale runs for nearly four summer months and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people. While the next one is scheduled to take place in 1999, it may be postponed to coincide with the year 2000.
Ms. Hamilton is known for her elaborate, enveloping mixed-media installations. In 1992, she was an artist-in-residence at the List Center, where she created "aleph," an installation that featured a 90-foot floor-to-ceiling wall of more than 35,000 books, punctuated by life-sized, stuffed dummies which floated horizontally amid the stacked volumes.
"Commissioning that beautiful installation at MIT in 1992 was one of the List Center's most exciting activities," said Ms. Kline. "The project truly engaged the MIT community, including the students and staff who helped Ann construct the installation. I consider Ann to be one of the most important artists working today, and I feel honored to be able to work with her again on a project that will represent the United States in this distinguished international festival."
Ms. Posner will continue to work on the Biennale project on behalf of the List Center, despite her recent departure from the List to become director of exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 3, 1998.