Jane E. Farver, director of the List Visual Arts Center, presented a talk and slide show on "The List Visual Arts Center and its Programs" as part of the the Women's League annual Focus on the Arts.
Mrs. Rebecca M. Vest, honorary chair of the Women's League, welcomed the group to the President's House at the February 8 event. Ellen Shapiro, the League's program chair, introduced Ms. Farver, who joined the List Center in fall 1999.
Ms. Farver noted that the general challenge she faced as director of the List is how to "deal with the impact of new technology on our lives. The mainstream art world and the technologically based art world have been very different entities. But with the new generation of artists, this is changing. At the List Center, we hope to have artists who can speak both the languages of art and the language of science and technology as they explore challenging art-making in all media."
Ms. Farver described the history of the List Center (which turns 50 this year), its current exhibitions and projects, and its goals for the near future, including planned outreach programs. Using slides, Ms. Farver guided the group around MIT's outdoor sculpture collection and successful collaborations between artists and architecture, of which the Wiesner Building is an example.
She also showed slides of work by artists who are now working with members of the MIT community on proposals for artworks for new buildings through MIT's Percent for Art Program, in which a percentage of the cost of a new building is set aside for art.
Matthew Ritchie, featured in this month's Vanity Fair, "works abstractly on walls and the floor. He has his own theory of the origin of the universe," said Ms. Farver, adding that his oceanic, colorful installations "contain a lot of two-minute stories that may be ideal for a web site or for MIT radio programming." Mr. Ritchie's work is being considered for the new athletic facility.
Dan Graham, an artist who works with mirrors and pavilion-like structures, has met with MIT students and has learned they want "something meditative -- a garden space," near their residence, she said.
Ms. Farver also presented slides of Andrea Zitell's "compressed spaces," which resemble bunkbeds and entertainment centers that interlock to form handy, if angular, hardwood nests, and indicated that Ms. Zitell has also worked with gardens and outdoor public spaces.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 16, 2000.