Startling artworks from a man for all media

A bathroom sink that fills with light instead of water. Bowling balls and pins that fuse together. Eyeglasses that see only the hammer that smashed their lenses. These are some of the artworks now filling the Reference Gallery in the new Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology here. They were dreamed up by Stuart Sherman, a New York-based artist of national prominence who's in residence at MIT this month.

A man for all media, with a minimal style and a wry sense of humor, Sherman moves easily from sculpture and assemblage to theater, film, and video. Visitors to the List Center can sample his movies and tapes, or see a performance of his latest stage project, ``Chekhov,'' to be given this evening. Sherman tells me it's based on no single Chekhov play but on his overall impression of the Russian author's work.

``Chekhov'' is part of an evolving trilogy on classic playwrights. It will appear at the Performing Garage in New York this spring, and it is expected to have a European tour. Sherman also hopes his earlier ``Classical Trilogy'' -- Hamlet, Faust, and Oedipus -- will have a major New York appearance soon. Only the ``Hamlet'' portion has so far appeared there. Coming too is a major show of Sherman films next month at the Collective for Living Cinema in Manhattan.

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