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List Center's artwork helps students turn dormitory rooms into museums

Dorm rooms may lack the comforts of home, but MIT students can choose from a treasure trove of art to enliven their space.

The List Visual Arts Center loans artworks to students for the academic year through a lottery distribution system. An exhibition of the available works will be on view in the List Center from Sept. 3 -13. A special reception for graduate students will be held on Thursday, Sept. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The show displays more than 300 framed prints and works on paper by leading modern and contemporary artists such as Berenice Abbott, Louise Bourgeois, Nancy Spero, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Joan Miro, Takashi Murakami, Nam June Paik, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and many others. The List Center recently acquired additional works for the program by artists including Marco Arce, Shazia Sikander, Isaac Julien and Rodney Graham.

Students may choose up to three works they would like to borrow for the academic year; those students selected in the lottery will receive one of their choices.

Students who don't receive art through the lottery have another opportunity to borrow one of these pieces on Saturday, Sept. 18. Artwork that is not claimed by the end of the day on Friday, Sept. 17 is distributed to students on a first-come, first-served basis the next day. Each year, hopeful students wake up early to be at the head of the line outside the gallery doors for a second chance to get some art.

Although only MIT students can borrow art, the exhibition is free and open to the public so that all community members can look at these innovative works.

The Student Loan Art Program began in 1966 with gifts from Kay Stratton and Jerome Wiesner. In 1977, Vera and Albert List made a gift of 100 prints and in 1988, the Campus Activities Complex began allocating funds toward the purchase of artwork, at which time the List began adding about 10-12 new works per year. This year was a banner year, as many new pieces were added to the collection. New works by Richard Artschwager, Jennifer Bolande, John Currin, Oscar Niemeyer, Fred Wilson and many others will be exhibited in the Student Center (W20, third floor), for one academic year, after which they will be moved into the active collection for borrowing.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 1, 2004 (download PDF).

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