"My first day at work, Jane Farver urged me to think big for my initial show," said Bill Arning, the List Center's new curator, recalling a conversation with the Center's director.
Inside Space: Experiments in Redefining Rooms does just that -- offering newly created, site-specific individualistic architectural constructions by six international artists and artist teams, each of whom is also making a Boston debut.
Starting with equally sized spaces, the artists mix poetic and analytic strategies to address the norms of architectural structure and how they form our social and imaginary lives. For example, Monica Bonvicini used plants and various forms of fencing -- from the cute to the violent -- to address issues of male domination and the uneasy relationship between the functional and the ornamental.
When the show opened two days late after an all-night effort by gallery manager Tim Lloyd, Mr. Arning said he felt both jubilation and relief. "When I walked in on Tuesday morning [January 30] and saw the show clean and lit, I started to cry," he said
Even one installation would be a big project, but six of them is an enormous undertaking, admitted Mr. Arning. "To have a show that has been in your mind for so long manifested in three dimensions, and then to open the doors and watch the public come in -- it's such a thrill," he said.
Mr. Arning said much of the work is very nontraditional. "Looking at shaved carpets and cramped ugly rooms with harsh light will seem strange, but we're working to engage the audience with texts and by making sure the attendants are knowledgeable," he said.
Two other Boston-area galleries are also currently hosting shows dealing with art and architecture: Olafur Eliasson: Your Only Real Thing is Time at Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, and Schematically Inclined at the Gallery Bershad in Somerville. "There is something in the cultural air," said Mr. Arning. "So perhaps Inside Space will not seem so strange after all."
Also at the List Center is Circa 1999, a solo exhibition of works by Marco Breuer. Born in Landshut, Germany and now living in New York, Mr. Breuer creates photographs made with nonphotographic means. He subjects photographic papers to all kinds of abuse -- attacking them with belt sanders, razor blades, red-hot heater coils and mold. The presentation of Circa 1999 is funded in part by Goethe-Institut Boston.
A public reception for both shows will be held on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 5:30-7:30pm. Both exhibitions run through April 8. For more information, call x3-4680 or see http://web.mit.edu/lvac/www.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 7, 2001.