MIT Receives Personal Papers of Artist Otto Piene

“Centerbeam” on the National Mall, by artists of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, MIT; Washington, DC, summer 1978. Photo: Calvin Campbell.

The personal papers of the late Otto Piene, a leading figure in kinetic and technology-based art, have been donated to MIT’s Institute Archives, part of the MIT Libraries’ department of Distinctive Collections. The collection, which comprises 68 boxes of material, is a gift of Piene’s wife, Elizabeth Goldring, an artist, poet, and senior fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS).

Known for working at the intersection of art, nature, and technology, Piene was the first international fellow of CAVS in 1968. He succeeded the center’s founder György Kepes as director from 1974 to 1994. Piene’s works are included in the collections of museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Nationalgalerie Berlin; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

The collection includes correspondence and promotional materials related to Piene’s exhibitions, along with some original artwork and audiovisual media. “Piene’s work makes an important contribution to our Distinctive Collections,” says department head Emilie Hardman. “We hope this will be a useful collection for researchers as well as MIT students who can work with these materials to investigate the intersections of art, culture, and technology.”