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Harries presents lecture on materials in art

Cambridge-based artist Mags Harries, known locally for her whimsical public art installation called "The Glove Cycle," a cascade of "lost" bronze gloves along the escalator of the Porter Square subway station, will deliver the 2004 Page Hazlegrove Lecture on Glass Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in Wong Auditorium.

The lecture's title, "Mining Materials," refers to Harries' resistance to being seduced by materials. "She likes to strip the materials down to their essentials," said Peter Houk, director of MIT's Glass Lab.

The lecture itself marks a return to MIT for Harries, who became embroiled in controversy on campus in the early 1990s over her proposed sculpture for the Stratton Student Center--a shaman's hat woven from hair donated by members of the MIT community.

"Public art is by nature a messy business. It gets dirty, vandalized, battered by the weather," wrote Christine Temin in the Boston Globe about Harries' work and controversy. "And that's after it's realized. In the earlier stages, it is often compromised in battles with whatever bureaucracy is commissioning it."

Harries, who works mainly as a sculptor, was educated at Leicester College of Art and Design and Southern Illinois University. She has held two residencies at the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, in 1997 and 2000, and has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 1980.

She has exhibited throughout the U.S. and her work is in many collections including the National Museum of Wales and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Harries' awards include an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities. In 1993 she won the Honor Award for Design Collaboration from the Boston Society of Architects.

The Page Hazlegrove residency, sponsored by the MIT Glass Lab, was established in 1998 to celebrate the life and work of Hazlegrove, who died unexpectedly in 1997. As director of the Glass Lab for more than 10 years, one of Hazlegrove's highest priorities was to invite glass artists to the Institute for the benefit and further development of the MIT community.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 10, 2004 (download PDF).

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