Professors Dennis Adams and Krzysztof Wodiczko are among the 97 artists whose work has been selected by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City for its 2000 Biennial Exhibition. Both teach in the Visual Arts Program in the Department of Architecture.
The internationally recognized invitational exhibition, which showcases the most significant work done by American artists during the past two years, opens at the Whitney Museum on March 23, 2000 and runs through June 4.
Professor Stanford Anderson, head of architecture, called the choice "exciting and not altogether surprising. Both are outstanding artists with strong records of production matched by the keen critical intelligence they bring to their teaching at MIT."
Said Jane Farver, director of the List Visual Arts Center and one of six curators for the biennial, "One of the criteria for artists who are already rather well-known was whether they have done something new and noteworthy in the past two years. Both Dennis and Krzysztof continue to be inventive and creative in their work, and both have recently employed technology in new ways that, to our knowledge, are not being used by other artists."
Professor Adams, director of the Visual Arts Program, is known internationally for his public interventions and museum installations that address the processes of collective amnesia and social exclusion in the formation and use of architecture and public space. His writings, interviews and statements have contributed to the discourse about the relationship of art to the urban context.
Professor Adams's project for the biennial, "Outtake," is a video of a performance done on the streets of Berlin in 1998. The performance involved the distribution to passersby of stills from a 1970 film about adolescent girls in a state orphanage.
"The project deals with collective memory and the redistribution of something that was censored in another way," said Professor Adams, who describes the video as "a film created in a new time base."
Professor Wodiczko is internationally renowned for his large-scale slide and video projections on architectural facades and monuments. Since the late 1980s, he has developed a series of nomadic instruments for both homeless and immigrant operators that function as implements for survival, communication, empowerment and healing. In 1998, he was awarded the Hiroshima Prize for his contribution as an artist to world peace. In addition to teaching in the Visual Arts Program, he heads the Institute's Interrogative Design Group in the Center for Advanced Visual Studies.
Professor Wodiczko describes his project for the biennial as a wearable "media instrument" that allows the user to "speak with two additional faces and voices," addressing the "multiplicity of personalities [and] the impossibility of finding stability of identity." His graduate students have been involved in the creation of this work, which he says uses "lots of hardware and software." One of them, Kelly Dobson, is expected to present the work at the Whitney exhibition.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 15, 1999.