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Why MIT Institutionalized the Avant-Garde: Negotiating Aesthetic Virtue in the Postwar Defense Institute
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This essay explores MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies to address two major absences in understandings of art/science/technology collaboration: 1) what drew scientists and engineers-not just elite policymakers and polymaths, but thousands in the rank and file-to the arts in the first place; and (2) what compelled the institutions of postwar technoscience to provide financial and material support for such endeavors? The essay employs the notion of "aesthetic virtue" to explain the linkage of the contradictory ideals of creativity and to demonstrate the vital role of institutionalization in an increasingly professionalized and academic domain of contemporary art.