Landau Chemical Engineering Building (Bldg. 66)
Nick Mauss’s Dispersed Events is comprised of seven works of varying scales installed throughout the atria and stairways of I.M. Pei’s Landau Chemical Engineering Building (1976). Following a study of Pei’s interior design, building materials, and the architectural traditions of his time, Mauss produced a series of large-scale tin-glazed hand-painted ceramic murals in collaboration with Bottega Gatti, a ceramics atelier known for its history of working with artists since the Italian Futurists in the late 1920s. Exploiting and exaggerating the unpredictability of the ceramic painting process, Mauss draws out surprising chemical reactions and color effects through the firing process and manipulates the material to create surfaces akin to watercolor and ink-painting. Anchored in an expanded practice of drawing, Mauss continually reinvents the supports and frameworks of his practice, encompassing works on paper, ceramic plaques, reverse-painted glass murals, sculpture, writing and exhibition architecture. His work is characterized by a distinct poetics that foregrounds process, elision, and the tension of multiple influences.
Mauss’ project for MIT considers the use of ceramic decoration in works of 20th century brutalist architecture. Conceived as an ensemble of works spanning throughout multiple floors, these murals illuminate the concrete interiors of the historic building and activate the spaces of passage, engaging how a viewer moves through and pauses in this unique and complex building. Murals are visible from multiple vantages and between floors, allowing a visitor to take in the artworks from a variety of depths and perspectives. Mauss has also rehabilitated Pei’s original built-in concrete planters, installing pothos plants to cascade down over the balconies and visually connect the air-space of the two atria.
Nick Mauss was selected for the commission by Percent-for-Art committee members, including Richard Amster, Director, MIT Campus Construction; Martin Z. Bazant, E. G. Roos (1944) Professor of Chemical Engineering, Dept. Executive Officer, Chemical Engineering, Professor of Mathematics; Keith Diggans, Associate Program Manager, MIT Facilities; Paul C. Ha, Director, MIT List Visual Arts Center; and Klavs Jenson, Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.
Nick Mauss (b. 1980, New York) lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in solo exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2018); the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal (2017); and Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway (2013), amongst others. His work is in the collection of museums around the world, including the Long Museum, Shanghai, China; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Nouveau Musee National de Monaco, Monaco; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the M+ Museum, Hong Kong. This is Nick Mauss’s first permanent public art commission.
Seven tin-glazed hand painted ceramic murals
Murals vary in scale and size
Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds