"MIT might well be called the hidden treasure of the art world, or at least of the Cambridge area," the Cambridge Current announced recently in a multi-page feature titled "Art at MIT: Surprising Intersections." The article recounts MIT's historical commitment to the arts and cites the Artist-in-Residence Program, the murals in Walker Memorial, exhibitions at the MIT Museum's main galleries and the Hart Nautical Gallery, the List Visual Arts Center and the array of music, theater and dance events.
A similar assertion of MIT's role in the music world was made by Metropolitan Wind Symphony member Peter Ross in announcing a performance of Institute Professor John Harbison's Three City Blocks. "Four world-famous music schools are in Boston," said Mr. Ross. "Yet, one of the greatest sources for music in the area is across the river at a very unlikely place-MIT. In fact [John Harbison], one of the greatest ornaments of Boston's music world is on the faculty there."
The recent Cantata Singers performance of Professor Harbison's Emerson earned accolades from the Boston Globe. "Emerson is a work of fully achieved mastery. First and foremost, it is a fluid and meaningful setting of [Ralph Waldo] Emerson's texts, responsive to its rhythms, its images, its sense," wrote classical music critic Richard Dyer.
Artist-in-Residence Joseph Grigely, who uses notes and the written forms of communication as the basis for his interactive installation Ordinary Conversations at the List Visual Arts Center, was featured in the lead story of the Boston Globe's November 8 Living/Arts Section.
The Cambridge Chronicle also published a lengthy story and interview, and the Boston Herald's Mary Sherman wrote, "By paying attention to seemingly inconsequential incidents, Grigely points out the exquisite beauty of such everyday occurrences as ordinary conversations."
The Louise Bourgeois: Drawings exhibition at the List Center also pleased Ms. Sherman. "Like a lingering nightmare, they are not easily ignored. Nor are they easily forgotten," she wrote. The Boston Globe ran a photo of Bourgeois' massive steel sculpture Spider looming over List Gallery Manager Jon Roll as a Halloween-themed image while its review praised her "eccentric-to-exquisite works on paper." Both shows are up through December 29.
Tina Packer, founder and artistic director of Shakespeare & Company who is currently in residence atMIT with members of her group, was the subject of a recent feature story by Boston Globe theater critic Ed Siegel, who sat in on one of her MIT classes. "As an observer, I am both quaking at the display of raw emotion in front of me and in awe at the astonishing improvement in his recital of the lines," he reported of one student's recitation. "I leave the class thinking that if I were an actor, I'd be first in line for the next workshop."
Mr. Siegel also interviewed playwright and Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody for a cover story in the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. Mr. Brody, who was quoted extensively, commented that Boston's "theater scene. is one that has been trying to be born for the past 15 years and can't seem to find its way to come to life."
"Gamelan Galak Tika's audio cassette, Intergalactic Gamelan, features a dazzling contemporary piece by director Evan Ziporyn that insinuates electric guitars, bass keyboard, and growling rock beat into the unexpectedly accommodating sonorities of the gamelan," wrote Marcia B. Siegel in a coda to her glowing Boston Phoenix review of the MIT ensemble's November 16 concert with guest dancers I Nyoman Cerita and his family.
Grace Napier, who graduated in 1980 with a degree in music, appeared in the Wheelock Family Theater production of Fiddler on the Roof. "Her sweet voice makes `Far From the Home I Love' the evening's musical high point," wrote the Boston Globe.
Former Center for Advanced Visual Studies Fellow Harriet Casdin-Silver, a pioneer in the use of holography as an art form, "ought to have a bevy of proteges by now," wrote the Boston Globe in a review of an exhibition of her work at Gallery NAGA, calling the show "a stunning example of the marriage of high technology and art."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 11, 1996.