Installation view: Allison Katz: Diary w/o Dates at MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2018 Courtesy the artist; The approach, London; and Gió Marconi, Milan. Photo: Peter Harris Studio
Poetics of Space: The List Center Window
It’s the singular, dominant physical feature of the List Center galleries: 8 feet high and 16 feet wide, centered on the east wall of the Hayden gallery. It has always been challenging to deal with and surprising how artists have responded to and used the window. In most cases, it is used as a framing device—other times, it is used as a light source to illuminate, or in the case of Hans Haacke’s 2011 exhibition, to germinate.
There are exhibitions, both solo and group, where the window is concealed for practical or conceptual reasons. The gallery may need total light control for a video projection. In other cases, total context control—an artist may want an immersive environment without a reference to the outside world—is it sunny or raining? Or, in the case of our Student Lending Art program, we just need every inch of wall space to hang artwork.
I have been with the List Center as the Manager of Exhibitions for over twenty years. During this time, I’ve installed over 160 exhibitions across our three gallery spaces with our fantastic crew including John Osorio-Buck, the List’s longtime Preparator. To close out April—National Poetry Month—we’re taking a visually poetic approach to this week’s #ListAtHome newsletter and looking back at the role our window has played inside the gallery space over the years.
While at home, I’ve been enjoying reading Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, a historical novel charting the life and death of Thomas Cromwell, a powerful figure in the court of King Henry VIII during his final years from 1536-1540.
I am also watching the Dick Van Dyke Show which ran from 1961-1966. Throughout the day, I am listening to (on continuous loop) Takuya Kuroda’s Everybody Loves the Sunshine (2014).