Public Art Collection

MIT’s noted public art, which may be enjoyed by MIT denizens and visitors alike, began to take shape in 1961 when Mr. and Mrs Samuel A. Marx commissioned MIT’s first outdoor sculpture, Dimitri Hadzi’s bronze Elmo (MIT). This work inspired many subsequent gifts that have furnished MIT with numerous outstanding examples of work by major artists.



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Sol LeWitt's, Bars of Color within Squares. 
Photo courtesy of George Bouret




In 1963, funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Eugene McDermott made possible the commission of MIT’s signature sculpture, Alexander Calder’s La Grande Voile (The Big Sail), the centerpiece of McDermott court. Additional gifts, loans, and purchases have expanded the collection over the years. It is international in scope, and contains works in a wide variety of materials and techniques.


Several major bronzes by Jacques Lipchitz, given by the artist’s wife, Yulla Lipchitz, are located in the Hayden Library courtyard. Among the works that grace the campus of the Sloan School are a rare cast concrete sculpture by Pablo Picasso, a steel sculpture by Bernar Venet, and a painted metal wall relief by Frank Stella. Michael Heizer’s geometric stone sculptureGuennette at Killian Court is on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Other notable gifts include Jennifer Bartlett’s enameled steel painting Overhill Road, Shawnee Mission (1977), located in the Warehouse graduate residence (Building NW 30), and two large bronze reclining figures by Henry Moore, one located in Killian Court, and the other at the Wiesner Building (Building E15) plaza.



Percent for Art Program

Commissions through MIT’s Percent-for-Art program, many of which are accessible to the public, also enrich MIT’s Public Art Collection. Percent-for-Art commissions include Matthew Ritchie’s three-part installation in the Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center and Sol LeWitt’s polychrome terrazzo floor in the new Green Center for Physics (Building 6C), and Sarah Sze’s sculpture for the façade and lounges at Sidney-Pacific residence), among many others.


Mark di Suvero in front
of Aesop's Fables, II


Public Art


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Public Art Commissions
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Dan Graham

Yin/Yang Pavilion


Mark di Suvero

Aesop's Fables, II


Matthew Ritchie

Games of Chance and Skill


Jorge Pardo



Sarah Sze

Blue Poles


Sol LeWitt

Bars of Color Within Squares


Richard Fleischner

Lower Courtyard


Cai Guo-Qiang

Ring Stone


Martin Boyce

Through Layers and Leaves (Closer and Closer)


Anish Kapoor

Non-Object (Plane)