Established in 1985, the List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) is the contemporary art gallery of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (it was preceded by the MIT Hayden Gallery, in building 14, next to the Humanities Library). It is known for temporary exhibitions in its galleries located in the MIT Media Lab building, as well as its administration of the permanent art collection distributed throughout the university campus, faculty officies, and student housing.
The LVAC is internationally recognized for the 4 to 6 temporary exhibitions it presents each year in its 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) galleries, which are open to the general public. Admission is free to all, as are most events sponsored by the LVAC, including family-friendly hands-on art workshops.
The LVAC is housed in the Wiesner building, an I.M. Pei-designed, fully accessible facility that incorporates the work of painter Kenneth Noland, sculptor Scott Burton, and environmental sculptor Richard Fleischner, all commissioned through MIT's Percent-for-Art program. The Percent-for-Art program, administered by the LVAC, allocates funds for the commission of artworks in connection with each new campus construction or major renovation project. Past commissions include Louise Nevelson's Transparent Horizon in front of the Landau Building, Sol LeWitt's polychrome floor in the Green Center for Physics, and Anish Kapoor's Non-Object (Plane) in the Stata Center.
The LVAC maintains a permanent collection, primarily sited throughout campus, of over 3,000 prints, photographs, drawings, paintings, sculptures, textiles, collages, and other objects of contemporary art. The public sculpture collection includes over 50 major works by such artists as Alexander Calder, Jorge Pardo, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Louise Nevelson, Sarah Sze, Dan Graham, Jean-Robert Ipoustéguy, Cai Guo-Qiang, Jaume Plensa, Frank Stella, and Mark DiSuvero. The public art has been called "one of the best collections of its kind" in a guide to American sculpture parks and gardens.
An interactive map of all publicly situated art is available, as well as downloadable audio commentaries and printable brochures covering selected artworks. Detailed architectural coverage of major MIT buildings is also available.
The LVAC administers the Student Loan Art Program, consisting of over 600 original works of art in 2-dimensional framed media. Through this popular annual loan program, students may borrow original works of art from the collection for their private rooms or communal spaces. Since 1977, the artworks available for loan are exhibited in a comprehensive September show, which may also be viewed by the general public. Each year, approximately 15 new works are added to the collection and displayed in the Student Center for a year, and high-value selected older works are reassigned to the non-circulating permanent collection. New selections are made with the advice of the MIT Council for the Arts, and usually consist of artist's limited edition prints or photographs.
In addition, the LVAC administers a Campus Loan Art Program, which loans framed and sculptural artwork from its permanent collection for display in administration, faculty, and staff offices.
The LVAC has been the commissioning institution for the Venice Biennales three times at the US Pavilion: