A Day at the ICA Boston

This week’s blog post is by Katie Glazier, one of our amazing gallery interns who is a current senior at Boston University. Check our her review of the Institute of Contemporary Art after visiting for the first time!

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It’s not something I would regularly admit, especially not to the readers of an art blog, but I had never been to the ICA before last weekend. While this might not seem that shocking, it is definitely a little out of character for me, being that I am in my final year of studying art history at Boston University, and on top of that am an intern at a contemporary art gallery. In my defense, I never intended on leaving it this long to make my first visit.  Life just seemed to always get in the way of my plans, and soon weeks, and then months passed without me making a trip. This was why I was so glad to hear that as part of my internship, I would get to finally embark on my long-awaited journey to visit the ICA Boston (if you follow Abigail Ogilvy Gallery on Instagram, you may have caught a glimpse of the interns as we documented our visit to the museum on our Instagram stories!).

Upon entering the museum, I immediately noticed the first exhibit just to the right of the entrance. There is a large wall, covered with what looks like a map of the continents and countries which extend off of the wall slightly. Getting closer, it becomes clear it is made of humanitarian rescue blankets that have been twisted and folded to create the continental shapes. In this exhibit, artist Wangechi Mutu creates an interactive piece to explore the idea of communication. The artist facilitate this contact through hanging pencils from the protruding continents, inviting visitors to write what they would like directly on the wall.  Thought provoking questions surrounding the work prompts articulation of thoughts and ideas. As this piece has been on display since mid-summer, the once bare wall is now covered in the scribbles and notes of the visitors to the museum.

Wangechi Mutu, A Promise to Communicate, 2017. Installation view, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. Source: ICA Boston website.

Sanya Kantarovsky, Violet, 2016, Oil on Linen, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. Source: ICA website.

Sanya Kantarovsky, Violet, 2016, Oil on Linen, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. Source: ICA website.

Moving on from the entrance, I proceeded with my fellow intern, Keara, to the buildings third floor. We started with the permanent collection, which included a variety of pieces in a wide range of media. This installment of the annual collection exhibition is called “Entangled in the Everyday.” The pieces on display consider the artists interaction with everyday experiences, many using materials that are typically mundane to create meaningful and compelling artwork. Works like Tara Donovan’s Nebulous, which uses Scotch tape to create a delicate installation on the floor, and Nari Ward’s Savior, which includes a shopping cart turned sculpture, demonstrate the transformative use of common objects. The exhibition also focuses on portraiture as another perspective on ordinary life, with pieces such as Sanya Kantarovsky’s Violet, which is an oil painting that depicts a sullen looking man and his dog as they ride the subway. This exploration of the ordinary is anything but mundane—each piece imbues new meaning and gives an insightful outlook to objects and experiences that may be otherwise overlooked.

Next we continued to an exhibition of Jason Moran’s interdisciplinary work, which focuses on the intersection of music (specifically jazz) and visual art. This moody, haunting and soulful exhibition almost mimics the qualities of jazz music itself. The viewer is surrounded by set installations that look like jazz venues of the past, coupled with some of Moran’s charcoal drawings are large screens that present video works created in collaboration with others. I personally enjoyed the immersive quality of the exhibition, as the few rooms it is housed in created a bubble where time was somehow halted to allow the visual and musical components to fully overtake the senses.

Finally, we made our way through the museums most recently added exhibition, “William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects.”  Similar to Jason Moran's exhibit, it is very immersive, and follows the current trend of interactive museum exhibitions. Viewers are encouraged to participate in the exhibition, as its main focus in on the body’s movements as choreography. In a way, it ties together nicely with the current installation of the museum’s permanent collection, as it explores an aspect of life that may not initially be viewed as art—our intrinsic bodily movements. Through interacting with each portion of the exhibit, the spectator becomes the subject. Keara and I couldn’t help but smile as we attempted to follow the set of instructions given at each point in the exhibit. We darted our way through swinging pendulums (Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No. 3, 2015), carefully held quivering feather dusters (Towards the Diagnostic Gaze, 2013), and attempted to climb gymnastic rings hanging from the ceiling (The Fact of Matter, 2009). Overall, the exhibition redefines the viewers understanding of the body as an artistic object and challenges the participants to consider the body’s strengths and limitations.

As we wrapped up our visit, I had feelings of satisfaction from having seen so many interesting and thought-provoking pieces, as well as a slight feeling of regret for not having visited sooner. Now that I have experienced the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, I can’t wait until a new exhibition is added and I have an excuse to visit again.

Fall Preview: 5 Must-See Museum Exhibitions

Fall is one of Boston’s busiest times of year - back to school, September moving day, exciting local events like Hubweek and We-BOS week, and the end of baseball season (go Sox!). We always recommend taking a moment to slow down and enjoy the exhibitions on view at our local institutions. Here are five exhibitions you can’t miss seeing in person:

Andy Graydon,  City Lights Orchestra , 2018, used street lamps, steel, airline cable, Courtesy of the artist, Photograph by Clements Photography and Design, Boston. Source: deCordova website.

Andy Graydon, City Lights Orchestra, 2018, used street lamps, steel, airline cable, Courtesy of the artist, Photograph by Clements Photography and Design, Boston. Source: deCordova website.

1. PLATFORM 23: Andy Graydon, City Lights Orchestra at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
August 23, 2018 – August 31, 2019
51 Sandy Pond Road Lincoln, Massachusetts 01773

Andy Graydon’s playful City Lights Orchestra on display at the deCordova invites visitors to explore sound through an installation of hollow, plastic lamps. Once used as beacons of light, these discarded Cambridge street lamps now serve as “sculptural instruments”, meant to make noise and be played by visitors and musicians alike. Try your hand as a drummer this fall!

2. Empresses of China’s Forbidden City at the Peabody Essex Museum
August 18, 2018 – February 10, 2019
East India Square, 161 Essex Street, Salem, MA

Empresses of China’s Forbidden City explores the influential role of imperial women during the Qing Dynasty, China’s last dynasty. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the formation of U.S.-China diplomatic relations, nearly 200 precious objects are on loan from the Palace Museum in Beijing. This collaborative exhibition is the first to investigate the role of these powerful women in the dynasty, thus shining new light on this historical time period.

Empress Dowager Cixi with foreign envoys’ wives in the Hall of Happiness and Longevity (Leshou tang) in the Garden of Nurturing Harmony (Yihe yuan).  Photographed by Yu Xunling (1874–1943), Guangxu period, 1903–05, print from glass-plate negative, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, FSA A.13 SC-GR-249. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, purchase. Source: Peabody Essex Museum website.

Empress Dowager Cixi with foreign envoys’ wives in the Hall of Happiness and Longevity (Leshou tang) in the Garden of Nurturing Harmony (Yihe yuan). Photographed by Yu Xunling (1874–1943), Guangxu period, 1903–05, print from glass-plate negative, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives, FSA A.13 SC-GR-249. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, purchase. Source: Peabody Essex Museum website.

3. French Pastels: Treasures from the Vault at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
June 30, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue , Boston, Massachusetts 02115

If you’re a texture junkie, won’t want to miss this incredible collection of soft pastel pieces currently on display at the MFA. Over 40 works from the MFA vault and on loan from private collections are temporarily returned to the spotlight, providing visitors an exclusive tour of this delicate medium. Masterpieces from a variety of artists are featured, including Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Jean-François Millet, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Odilon Redon, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Edgar Degas,  Dancers Resting , 1881–85. Pastel on paper mounted on cardboard. Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection. Source: MFA website.

Edgar Degas, Dancers Resting, 1881–85. Pastel on paper mounted on cardboard. Juliana Cheney Edwards Collection. Source: MFA website.

4. Wangechi Mutu: A Promise to Communicate at the Institute of Contemporary Art
January 20, 2018 – December 31, 2018
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston MA 02210

Mutu uses coarse, gray rescue blankets from humanitarian aid crises to create a disorganized and deconstructed map of the world. Colored pencils hang from the ceiling on thin strings, allowing visitors to communicate freely with each other on the wall. As described in the press release, the installation encourages “visitors to explore ideas of public space, communication, and free speech, addressing the idea of a world that despite its increasing potential for collectivity struggles to communicate in a comprehensive way.”

Wangechi Mutu, A Promise to Communicate, 2017. Installation view, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. Source: ICA website.

Wangechi Mutu, A Promise to Communicate, 2017. Installation view, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2017. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. Source: ICA website.

5. The Lure of the Dark: Contemporary Painters Conjure the Night at MASS MoCA
March 3, 2018 – December 31, 2018
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247

Wilhelm Neusser,  Nocturne/Doublemoon (1728) , 2017, Oil on Canvas, 57in. x 67in. on display at MASS MoCA. Source: Wilhelm Neusser Instagram (@wilhelmneusser).

Wilhelm Neusser, Nocturne/Doublemoon (1728), 2017, Oil on Canvas, 57in. x 67in. on display at MASS MoCA. Source: Wilhelm Neusser Instagram (@wilhelmneusser).

The darkness of the night invites imagination to run wild. In The Lure of the Dark, our imagination comes to life through a collection of contemporary paintings exploring the mystery of the darkness. Over a dozen painters are featured in this group exhibition, including Patrick Bermingham, William Binnie, Cynthia Daignault, TM Davy, Jeronimo Elespe, Cy Gavin, Shara Hughes, Josephine Halvorson, Sam McKinniss, Wilhelm Neusser, Dana Powell, Kenny Rivero, and Alexandria Smith.

We’re particularly excited about this show because Wilhelm Neusser’s piece in the exhibition, Nocturne/Doublemoon (1728), is the sister piece to our Nocture/Doublemoon (1729) hanging on our wall in our October group exhibition. Be sure to stop by and see both pieces!














5 Exhibitions to See This Winter

Say goodbye to 2017 and say hello to these five exhibitions you have to check out this winter:

1. Steve McQueen: Ashes at The Institute of Contemporary Art

Starting February 15, 2018, the director of 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen will be presenting his video installation “Ashes” at the Institution of Contemporary Art. In this exhibition, McQueen has captured a young, carefree fisherman named Ashes on a soft, grainy Super 8 film - while also shooting the chronicles of Ashes unexpected fate on 16mm film. You can view McQueen's exhibition until February 25, 2018.

Steven McQueen, Ashes. Image Courtesy of the Institution of Contemporary Art/ Boston

Steven McQueen, Ashes. Image Courtesy of the Institution of Contemporary Art/ Boston

2. Legacy of the Cool: A Tribute to Barkley L. Hendricks at Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt

Don’t miss this tribute exhibition to artist Barkley L. Hendricks at Bakalar & Paine Galleries located at MassArt. This exhibition displays 24 artists works that pay hommage to Barkley L. Hendricks paintings through their diverse outlooks and approaches. This event is free and open to the public, and will start on January 17, 2018 and will go until March 3, 2018.

Jillian Mayer, Slumpies. Image Courtesy of  Tufts University Art Gallery

Jillian Mayer, Slumpies. Image Courtesy of  Tufts University Art Gallery

3. Jillian Mayer: Slumpies at Tufts University Art Gallery Aidekman Arts Center

South Florida-based artist, Jillian Mayer will be debuting her work Slumpies at the Aidekman Arts Center in Medford. Mayer’s sculptures are designed to be interactive with viewers and stated that Slumpies are “Sculptures that work for you.” These sculptures are to show viewers post-posture and how our bodies will evolve around our portable devices and smartphones. Slumpies will be on view January 16-April 15, 2018.

4. Renée Green: Within Living Memory at Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

This artist, writer, and filmmaker,  Renée Green will be showcasing her show Within Living Memory at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts from February 1- April 15, 2018.  In this show, Green will be presenting an interconnection of artwork she has made in the past decade to address conditions of residency and displacement, subjective experiences, institutional memory, notions of progression, and the inescapable of decay.

5. Artists Take Action! at The Davis Museum at Wellesley College

This winter, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College will be featuring their new exhibition called Artists Take Action! This exhibition will manifest how artist use print mediums to confront the crucial social and political issue of their time. This show will  be on view starting on February 13 and going until June 10, 2018.

Artists Take Action! Image Courtesy of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College

Artists Take Action! Image Courtesy of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College

5 Upcoming Art Events in Boston

1.   Art Affair

Image courtesy of Alpha Gallery and BADA

Image courtesy of Alpha Gallery and BADA

Where: Adelson Galleries Boston
When: Thursday, March 30, 6-8PM
Cost: Free

Boston Art Dealers Association collaborates to bring you an exhibition from eleven galleries under one roof.  

 

2.   Boston LGBT Film Festival  

Image courtesy of the ICA Boston

Image courtesy of the ICA Boston

Where: The Institute of Contemporary Art
When: Thursday, March 30, 8PM
Cost: $26 for members + students / $30 for nonmemebers

Returning for it’s 33rd edition, The Boston LGBT Film Festival returns to the ICA celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with a screening of Signature Move.

3.  Caron Tabb at Newton Open Studios  

A Home Called A House, Caron Tabb, Mixed-media on canvas

Where: Newton Open Studios, 859 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02459
When: April 1-2, 11AM-5PM
Cost: Free

Cindy Cuba Clements, Adrienne Shishko, and Caron Tabb invite you to visit their PopUprising open studio.

4.   MassArt Auction Preview Evening with MA-NMWA

Where: Massachusetts College or Art and Design
When:  Wednesday, April 5, 6-8PM

Cost: $30 for members / $50 for nonmembers (Buy tickets here)

Join MA-NMWA (Massachusetts Chapter of The National Museum of Women in the Arts) for a unique evening to preview art works to be offered in the MassArt Auction on April 8th.

Photo courtesy of https://massart.edu/auction

Photo courtesy of https://massart.edu/auction

5.   MassArt Auction

Where: Massachusetts College or Art and Design
When: Saturday, April 8, 6:30 PM
Cost: Varied by ticket (MassArt Auction Tickets)

Celebrate the 28th MassArt Auction with a live and silent auction, cocktails and more. Proceeds go to scholarship aid and academic program support.