New Works of Public Art

Olafur Eliasson’s Northwest Passage in MIT.nano (Building 12)

Northwest Passage, a site-specific installation by Olafur Eliasson, is situated on the ceiling of the breezeway of Building 12, MIT.nano. The panels, each of varied size and abstract form, are based on the silhouette and configuration of the pattern of free-floating ice found in the Parry Channel of the Northwest Passage between North America and the Arctic Circle. This project draws inspiration from the dramatic thinning of the ice coverage–a historically impassable frozen route through the Arctic Ocean linking the Pacific to the Atlantic. As of the summer of 2007, the effects of climate change have allowed vessels to sail the passage without requiring an icebreaker, an event that scientists predict will become more and more common with the continued effects of global warming. This development is both a byproduct of global industry and at the same time encourages the growth of trans-global freight shipping which will only further impact the climate.   

Olafur will be on campus for an artist talk on February 26. Learn more here.

Nick Mauss’s Dispersed Events in the Landau Chemical Engineering Building (Building 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. 

Hear from the artist: