Reception and Dedication: New Public Artwork by Martin Boyce at MIT

April 26, 2011
Event Types
Public Program
Gallery visitors stand around a wall bound artwork by Martin Boyce featuring colorful steel trianges.

Martin Boyce, Through Layers and Leaves (Closer and Closer), 2011, Galvanized mild steel, epoxy paint, and acid etched brass, 117.6 in. x 1186.2 in. (298.7 cm x 3012.95 cm). Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds and a generous gift from the Robert D. Sanders (‘64) and Sara-Ann Sanders Family.

Martin Boyce, one of the most significant sculptors of his generation, has completed a major new public artwork for MIT. Through Layers and Leaves (Closer and Closer) encompasses the west lobby wall of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (KIICR) at MIT (Building 76), 500 Main St. Cambridge, MA.

The installation continues the artist’s sculptural investigations of modernist design history, its visual language, and imagined alternative narratives. The angular forms of the wall screen are repeated on three brass wall grills placed low near the baseboard that contain text that reads “closer and closer.” The entire work, at approximately 10 feet tall and 95 feet in length, operates in the interstice between art, architecture, and design, between the space of a public sculpture and the privacy of looking. Boyce relates the new artwork specifically to the research practice of the building, as he has spoken of the artwork in relation to pattern recognition and the significance of relative scale in research.

This newest addition to MIT’s public art collection was commissioned for KIICR as part of MIT’s landmark Percent-for-Art program that is managed by the MIT List Visual Arts Center. The Percent-for-Art program, an initiative that began in 1968, allots funds to commission or purchase art for each new major renovation or building project on MIT’s campus.

Martin Boyce was selected as artist for the project by a committee of MIT faculty and staff that included: Adele Santos, Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning; Theresa M. Stone, Executive Vice President and Treasurer; Harry Ellenzweig, Architect; Tyler Jacks, Director of KIICR and David H. Koch Professor; Karl Dane Wittrup, J.R. Mares Professor, Chemical Engineering & Bioengineering; Jacqueline Lees, Associate Director of KIICR, Professor & Ludwig Scholar; Jane Farver, Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center; Richard Amster, Director of Facilities; Pamela Delphenich, Director of Campus Planning and Design; James May, Senior Project Manager. The artwork was made possible by MIT’s Percent-for-Art program, the British Council, and the generosity of the Robert D. (‘64) and Sara-Ann Sanders Family.

About the Artist

Born in 1967 in Hamilton, Scotland, Martin Boyce currently lives and works in Glasgow. Boyce studied at the Glasgow School of Art, receiving a BA in Environmental Art (1990), and an MFA degree (1997). He was selected as the Scottish representative for the 2009 Venice Biennale and his work was included in the 2007 Sculpture Projects Muenster. Recent solo exhibitions took place at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK; Westfälischer Kunstverein, Muenster, Germany; and Centre d’art Contemparain, Geneva, Switzerland. The artist’s works can be found in the collections of the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; MMK, Frankfurt, Germany; the Tate, London; and FRAC, Bourgogne, France among others.