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Jane Farver, former MIT List Visual Arts Center head, dies

MIT List Visual Arts Center

Jane Farver, former director of the List Visual Arts Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died suddenly in Venice on April 29, according to the museum. She was 68. Art News reported that she passed away because of a heart attack.

Farver led the List for 12 years, retiring in 2011. At the time of her death, she was working as the editor for the catalog accompanying MIT professor emerita Joan Jonas’s show at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. The List is presenting Jonas’s exhibition in Venice.

Farver’s leadership at the List was marked by an increase in the commissioning of major public artworks across campus, according to MIT, including Anish Kapoor’s “Non-Object (Plane)” in the Frank Gehry-designed Stata Center and Sol LeWitt’s “Bars of Colors within Squares (MIT)” at the Green Center for Physics. Such pieces made a visible impact on campus, according to Farver. “The culture at MIT has changed a lot over the last 10 years,’’ Farver told the Globe. “The more public art and artist involvement, the more receptive students have become.’’


During her time at the List, Farver also oversaw a range of contemporary art exhibits, and the List organized presentations for two international biennials: Fred Wilson’s show at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 2003 and Paul Pfeiffer’s work as U.S. representative at the Cairo Biennial in 2003-04.

More recently, according to MIT, Farver was a visiting lecturer at Cornell University’s Architecture Art Planning program and was consulting on the creation of a new art program at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.