Many works in the Permanent and Public Art collections were brought to MIT through the List’s Percent-for-Art Program. Recent commissions completed in 2018 include Olafur Eliasson’s Northwest Passage and Nick Mauss’ Dispersed Events.
MIT’s Percent-for-Art Program, administered by the List Visual Arts Center, now allocates up to $500,000 to commission art for each new major renovation or campus construction project. The policy was formally instituted in 1968, but earlier collaborations between artists and architects can be found on MIT’s campus. When architect Eero Saarinen designed the MIT Chapel in 1955, sculptor Theodore Roszak designed the bell tower and sculptor Harry Bertoia designed the altar screen. In 1985, architect I.M. Pei and artists Scott Burton, Kenneth Noland, and Richard Fleischner collaborated on Percent-for-Art projects for the Wiesner building and plaza, home to the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Media Laboratory.
Additional Percent-for-Art works include Leo Villareal’s Light Matrix (MIT), an LED light installation commissioned for MIT’s Sloan School of Management; Bars of Color Within Squares (for MIT), a 5,500 sq. ft. glass terrazzo floor by Sol LeWitt for the Green Center for Physics (Building 6C); Sarah Sze’s Blue Poles a site specific sculptural installation for the front building façade of Sydney Pacific Dormitory; Jackie Ferrara’s Floor, a greenstone and slate floor commissioned for MIT’s Tang Center; Dead Center, a carved granite installation created by Lawrence Weiner for the courtyard of Ashdown Graduate Dormitory; outdoor sculptures by Cai Guo-Qiang, Louise Nevelson, and Tony Smith; Dan Graham’s Yin/Yang Pavilion at Simmons Hall; Jorge Pardo’s untitled ceiling for MIT’s graduate residence at 224 Albany Street; and Matthew Ritchie’s Games of Chance and Skill, a three-part map of time and space created for the Zesinger Sports and Fitness Center, among many others.