Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Public Art at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

By Bexx of White Sparrow Bindery

For most people, the mention of MIT conjures up visions of computers, robots, and nerds galore. Although known for producing some of the world's most innovative research in science and technology, MIT is also home to also home to a fascinating collection of public art. The campus is dotted with outdoor sculptures that make walking through campus visually engaging on even the bleakest New England day.

MIT’s collection of public art began to form in 1961, with the commission of MIT’s first outdoor sculpture, Dimitri Hadzi’s bronze Elmo-MIT (shown at right). This piece resides outside of the Hayden Memorial Library, whose ground are also home to several other sculptures in the MIT collections.

One of the campus's best known sculptures (and one of my favorite) is Alexander Calder's La Grande Voile (The Big Sail), which is located in McDermott Court. (Shown at left).

Other notable piece on campus include several bronze sculptures by Jacques Lipchitz, a cast concrete statue by Pablo Picasso, and Sol LeWitt's polychrome terrazzo floor.

If you're interested in taking a self-guided tour, you can view and download an interactive map and guide to the collection here. Free guided tours are also available.

To find out more about art at MIT, visit the List Visual Arts Center's webpage here.

*Photos courtesy of the List Visual Arts Center.

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