The Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) Special Collection’s ongoing exhibition, the center in print: tracing the history of CAVS events and exhibitions through its poster art, is currently on view at the Rotch Library Exhibition space.
The center in print marks a milestone achievement for ACT’s CAVS Special Collection projects: the digitization of over 250 event and exhibition posters and other works on paper. Founded in 1967, the CAVS was MIT’s first major foray into the world of art. More than 200 international artists, scientists, and engineers came to MIT as CAVS Fellows and students to explore the use of emerging technologies in the creation of unparalleled works of art on the civic scale. CAVS Fellows pioneered collaborative works in light, kinetic, environmental and inflatable sculpture, laser, steam, video, electronic music, holography, dance, computer graphics and animation, among other media.
The Center, as CAVS was also referred to, merged with the Visual Arts Program in 2009 to become the Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT). With the merger, ACT became the custodian of the CAVS Special Collection (CAVSSC), and is currently processing materials that document over four decades of experimental art and science at MIT. Collection materials include film and video, posters, photographs, exhibition books, slides, administrative documents, and project portfolios.
Curated by CAVSSC Project Archivist Jeremy Grubman, the center in print is the second in a series of exhibitions which aim to make accessible the legacy of CAVS– the exploratory ideas and radical approaches of the artists and visionaries– a trajectory which extends from the late sixties, and continues today to thrive in the culture of research and artistic production at ACT. This series, “inside the center for advanced visual studies special collection” was initiated in June of 2013, as part of the Cambridge Fifth Annual Open Archives Tour, Spaces: Sacred and Profane. An exhibition of early CAVS event posters and the original neon sign from building W11, which first housed the Center, was featured in the former Venus Gallery of the MIT Media Lab Complex. ACT hosted several tour groups, introducing participants to a history of CAVS and its founding principles, providing an overview of the collection contents through discussion about collection processing projects and video screenings.
The center in print will be on view this summer in the exhibition space at Rotch Library. In addition to the exhibition, a selection of these scanned archival materials is available on our website as well as information about the history of CAVS and other services. The CAVSSC is currently being processed by Jeremy Grubman, Project Archivist at ACT. Access to the materials for research, publication and/or exhibition purposes is welcome and available remotely or in person with advance notice. For more information or reference requests, please visit please visit the CAVS Special Collection section of our website.
See our Facebook album for more images of CAVS posters and exhibition views!