• Juan Downey, Information Withheld, 1983, still from a color video, 28 minutes 27 seconds. From the series “The Thinking Eye,” 1974–89.

    Juan Downey

    MIT List Visual Arts Center

    Juan Downey’s video Plato Now, 1973, combines footage of the artist’s early-1970s performance-installations with studio images, often shot through water. A motif that runs throughout his work, water’s many potentialities—to flow, to mark time, to distort whatever is beyond or submerged within it, to signal its own mediating presence via ripples on its surface, and to reflect its viewer—echo the layered aims of this Chilean-born artist, whose formal training in architecture, abiding interest in cybernetics, and quixotic faith in combating late-capitalist alienation through technologies

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  • *View of “Marianne Mueller,” 2011.

    Marianne Mueller

    Peabody Essex Museum

    The popular strategy of inviting artists to interact with a museum’s collections has clear benefits for the institution, creating new and potentially unexpected juxtapositions among objects, and encouraging an audience for contemporary art to engage with historical holdings. It is also a situation in which an institution’s eccentricities become a virtue. Marianne Mueller’s sojourn at the Peabody Essex Museum gave her the opportunity to craft an installation in response to a collection that dates back to the end of the eighteenth century, when the East India Marine Society began to assemble

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