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Visual Arts Center unveiled

By Donald Yee

Members of the MIT community dedicated the Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center last Friday afternoon. The center is located on the lower two floors of the unfinished Arts and Media Technology Building.

Workers will complete construction on the rest of the building in October of 1985.

President Emeritus Jerome B. Wiesner, chairman of the MIT Council for the Arts, sparked the dedication ceremony with an introductory address. He emphasized the importance of the arts at MIT. "It's hard not to get caught up in the arts at MIT," he declared. "I once asked a freshman who was interested in math and music why he chose MIT instead of Yale, and he replied, `Because the music's better.' "

President Paul E. Gray '54 said the center "should not serve as a warehouse for visual arts at MIT, but as a showcase and magnet."

The ground floor of the center contains three galleries: the new Hayden Gallery, which has nearly twice the floorspace of the old gallery in Building 14; and the Sculpture Archives and the Reference Galleries, two new additions to exhibition space at MIT. The offices and archives of the Committee for the Visual Arts are also located on this level.

A sculpture garden lies to the east of the building. The garden currently contains no works. The lower level houses a sloped, 196 seat film/video theater. "This facility is carefully treated acoustically with the potential for abundant media projection," the dedication program stated.

The dedication's principal speaker was Marcia Tucker, director and founder of The New Museum of New York City. She discussed the nature of contemporary art. She said, "Art and beauty are no longer synonymous ... there is little visibility and glamour. For art to succeed, its creator must fail. It moves us to think. To think is to learn, and to learn is to grow."

Following Tucker's speech, Gray and MIT Corporation President David S. Saxon '41 presented the Lists with a Revere bowl, and two identical portraits of the Lists standing before a painting from their collection.

The ceremonies then moved into the atrium of the new center, with the unveiling of two donor plaques, honoring the Lists' large contributions in support of the center.

The center's exhibitions were opened to the public at 5:30 pm. Currently showing at the new Hayden Gallery is "Giacometti to Johns: The Albert and Vera List Family Collection." The Sculpture Archives Gallery contains works by sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.

In the Reference Gallery, performance artist Stuart Sherman will be working on his second trilogy during his month-long residency. The work will culminate in a performance of his 12 minute "Evocation of the Works of Chekhov."

The galleries are open daily from 10 am-4 pm and on weekends from 1-5 pm.