Staff Picks: 2015 Student Loan Art Program Exhibition

To get to know our staff a little better, we asked them to pick one piece out of the Student Loan Art Program Exhibition and tell us why:

Susie Allen, Special Programs: Lawrence Weiner’s work is both engaging and mysterious.  I love his sense of humor and can’t wait to see his mural on the Rose Kennedy Greenway later this month.  


David Freilach, Assistant Director: Typewriter by Rodney Graham. This is just a wonderful photograph, rich in blacks and whites, of a surprisingly elegant utilitarian object: an extremely sleek typewriter from decades before my time.  


Paul C. Ha, Director: My favorite piece in the student loan collection (at least for today as I change my mind often), is the John Baldessari’s Two Trucks/Two Decisions.  The black and white photograph shows two pick up trucks facing each other each other on a one-lane bridge and each refusing to budge.  I like that Mr. Baldessari took what I’m sure was a serious situation and has revealed to us the ridiculousness of the situation and how it could be a life lesson in that - sometimes it is better to concede than to confront. 


Alison Hatcher, Registrar and Collections Coordinator: My pick is Kay Rosen’s Monuments. In works on paper as well as paintings and wall installations, Rosen employs wordplay and typography to visually represent the complexities of language and meaning. Her Monuments is composed of the words ‘odalisk’ stretched horizontally and ‘obelisk’ stacked vertically. Sharing the ’s’, the two words are balanced in orientation and proportion, yet aswirl in gender and art historical references.


Henriette Huldisch, Curator: David Fischli and Peter Weiss, Untitled. I love Fischli and Weiss’s series of photographs of improbably and precariously balanced household objects, as well as their brilliant film The Way Things Go (1987), to which they are related. That 30-minute film of a chain reaction involving objects like rubber tires and ladders as well as various pyrotechnics is one of the best artists’ films ever made. 


Courtney L. Klemens, Campus and Community Outreach Coordinator: Alex Katz, Rowboat, 1966. I keep returning to this piece because it’s a work I hear and feel as much as I see. When I look at it, I can hear the water lapping gently at the sides of the boat, can feel the steady push of the oars against the current. There’s a quiet serenity to the print; there’s a whole world inside the boat that exists just for those two figures. I am always awed to think that Katz accomplishes all of this with just a few areas of muted colors.  


Mark Linga, Public Relations Marketing and Social Media Coordinator: Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing, #869C. Consisting of simply the set of instructions for it’s creation, Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing, #869C appeals to me because of its conceptual framework.  The borrower can’t really see the work until they create it and the engagement with the instructions is what completes the work. Simply brilliant.

[No image; you’ll have to draw it. Click here for some examples of LeWitt in our collection]

Tim Lloyd, Exhibition Designer, Gallery Manager: My pick is Michiko Kon’s meticulously staged and beautifully printed gelatin silver photograph, Cuttlefish and Sneaker. It was included in Kon’s first US exhibition at the List in 1992 and I always pause to look at it because it is so rich and strange and because…. it is a sushi sneaker!


John Osorio-Buck, Preparator: My choice this year is Carmen Herrera’s Black and White. This Cuban born, living and still working artist turned 100 this year and has been a practicing artist for over 60 years. Her work still is vital and relevant, and she is finally getting the recognition she deserves.


Monica L. Steinberg, List Curatorial Fellow: Design and violence, beauty and pain, pristineness and filth—such grotesque juxtapositions make Marilyn Minter’s C-print an uncomfortable photograph to behold, but also something I cannot look away from. The curiosity and humor implicit within the image also reflect the larger, investigative impulse of education and research here at MIT.


Alise Upitis, Assistant Curator: Jack Goldstein, Untitled (Print #2), 1983. When Jack Goldstein turned to painting after 1980, he used stock photography of dramatic natural and catastrophic man-made events—lightning storms, an erupting volcano, World War II fighter jets in combat—as source material that he would reproduce on canvas. Goldstein depicts violence not for its own sake but to lay bare how the saturation of mass media imagery is itself cataclysmic.


Betsy Willett, Special Projects Associate: My choice is Candida Höfer’s Teatro Colon Buenas Aires. I love the way Höfer looks at shared spaces, subtracting the public that usually occupies the beautiful space. I think her highly-stylized work captures how sacred spaces feel when you find yourself alone in one. 



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