Loading What’s On
Robert Dell | Artists and Archives
Robert Dell | Artists and Archives

March 10, 2020, 7:00 pm

Robert Dell
Artists and Archives Series
Tuesday, March 10
ACT Cube

Free and open to the public. Registration encouraged; Walk-ins are welcome.

Robert Dell

Geothermal Engineer and Progenitor of Sustainable Art
Center for Advanced Visual Studies Fellow, 1993-1997
Founding Director, the Center for Innovation and Applied Technology and the Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation
Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

Robert Dell: Environmental Alchemist – short version 5-17-19 from David Spungen/Creative Scenarios on Vimeo.

Prof. Robert Dell is the Founding Director of the Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation at the Cooper Union, where he is also Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering. His most recent appointment at Cooper Union is Director, Special Project on Select Patent Monetization. Prof. Dell recently was Cooper Union’s  Director of the Center for Innovation and Applied Technology, and the Research Fellow for the C.V. Starr Research Foundation. Other recent appointments include Guest Lecturer with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, and Advisory Board Member with Borealis GeoPower Inc. in Canada and Visiting Scientist with Iceland’s Keilir Institute of Technology.

He has given open lectures at MIT, Harvard, Columbia University, the New York Hall of Science, the University of Iceland, the University of Reykjavik  and the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City.

Prof. Dell is First Inventor on eleven patents that are owned by the Cooper Union. He is the First Author of numerous research papers for venues including the International Conference of Experimental Mechanics, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), The Geothermal Resources Council, The Geo-Heat Center at the Oregon Institute of Technology, and the Cooper Union Research Foundation.

For the last 39 years he has been a land use official for the Town of Orangetown (population 50,000) in southern New York State. Prof. Dell served as a Member of the Architecture and Community Appearance  Board of Review (ACABOR) for 21 years and 12 years as its Vice Chairman. For the last 19 years he has been a Town Planner as a Member of the Planning Board. This service has included 2 years as Planning Board Chairman. After winning the primary in 2011, he was a candidate for Town Council.

His sustainable visual art installations are the subject of numerous reviews and articles, including The New York Times, Sculpture, Leonardo, and Iceland Review. Prof. Dell’s over 100 Installations and exhibitions include Harvard University,  MIT, Tufts, Lehigh University, New Jersey City University, Yellowstone National Park, museums,  and commercial galleries in the United States. There were additional installations at Iceland’s Great Geysir, the Reykjavik Municipal Art Museum, Seltun Hot Springs, and a permanent installation at Reykjavik’s Perlan experience center. Prof Dell’s theatrical scenic and set design work from 1985- 2001 includes the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway productions, motion pictures and television, where his work was honored by the Emmy Academy. The Smithsonian Institution has established a permanent  archive, “The Robert Dell Papers”for sculptor and engineer Robert Dell, for his contributions as a “major American artist” and “a progenitor of sustainable art.” MIT School of Architecture + Planning’s The MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) Archive established the Robert Dell papers as part their permanent archive.

Prof. Dell received Bachelors and  Masters degrees from the State University of New York. He is a Member of ASME, the Order of the Engineer, the American Welding Society, and the Geothermal Resources Council. Prof. Dell was a McDowell Colony Fellow, an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellow, and a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow., His  other academic appointments include Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Iceland, Honorary Research Associate with the New York Botanical Garden. Prof. Dell was Research Fellow and Project Director with the School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


This event is part of the Artists and Archives Program. The Artists and Archives Program will bring guests from the art community to MIT to engage with students about art and archives by increasing student awareness of the collections and presenting the archives as a living resource not limited to traditional research work. The program will focus on two fields: past CAVS fellows and current artists whose work resonates with the collection.