First Light: ICA’s Decade of Collecting

People / Places / August 26, 2016

Ten years after opening the doors to its Diller Scofidio + Renfro museum on Boston Harbor, the Institute for Contemporary Art is celebrating with an exhibition of its newly minted permanent collection.

“There are 250 works in the collection – there are some incredibly prized objects,” says Ruth Erickson, associate curator. “They give the institution roots in a way.”

In the exhibition are newly acquired monumental cut-paper silhouette tableau by Kara Walker, as well as the Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women, groupings of work by artists held in depth such as Louise Bourgeois and Nan Goldin, and thematic and art-historical groupings.

Five curators collaborated on the exhibition, working together to look at the collection for an angle of how to tell a story. “I did one called Question your Teaspoons,” she says. “It’s about what happens when  artists do work in their own home.”

The overarching show consists of seven standalone smaller shows in seven different spaces, but all linked together architecturally within the larger show. “Some are for the duration and three will turn over,” she says. “In October we’ll flip them over for three new shows.”

The exhibition of 100 objects  is on display in the east side of the museum, which was Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s first. The building is the museum’s first permanent home; in its 80-year history prior to construction, its home had been in a series of private residences.

The new building has spurred a serious tear of acquisition of contemporary art for the permanent collection in the past decade. “One of the strongest inspirations is the momentum and growth of the collection – it grew 30 percent in the last year,” she says. ”
“There’s a lot of synergy – it’s very inspiring to be around.”

First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA opened on August 17, and will run through Jan. 16. For more, go here. https://www.icaboston.org/exhibitions

Credits:

Kara Walker, The Nigger Huck Finn Pursues Happiness Beyond the Narrow Constraints of Your Overdetermined Thesis on Freedom – Drawn and Quartered by Mister Kara Walkerberry, with Condolences to the Authors, 2010. Cut paper and paint on wall; gouache and ink on paper, Approximately 48 feet (1463.4 cm), Sixteen cut paper elements, dimensions variable; seven framed works on paper, each 11 1/2 x 15 inches (29.2 x 38.1 cm). The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. Courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Installation view, First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2016-17. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. © 2016 Kara Walker

Kara Walker, The Nigger Huck Finn Pursues Happiness Beyond the Narrow Constraints of Your Overdetermined Thesis on Freedom – Drawn and Quartered by Mister Kara Walkerberry, with Condolences to the Authors, 2010 (detail). Cut paper and paint on wall; gouache and ink on paper, Approximately 48 feet (1463.4 cm), Sixteen cut paper elements, dimensions variable; seven framed works on paper, each 11 1/2 x 15 inches (29.2 x 38.1 cm). The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. Courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Installation view, First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2016-17. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. © 2016 Kara Walker

Kara Walker, The Nigger Huck Finn Pursues Happiness Beyond the Narrow Constraints of Your Overdetermined Thesis on Freedom – Drawn and Quartered by Mister Kara Walkerberry, with Condolences to the Authors, 2010 (detail). Cut paper and paint on wall; gouache and ink on paper, Approximately 48 feet (1463.4 cm), Sixteen cut paper elements, dimensions variable; seven framed works on paper, each 11 1/2 x 15 inches (29.2 x 38.1 cm). The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. Courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Installation view, First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2016-17. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography. © 2016 Kara Walker

Installation view, First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, 2016-17. Photo by Charles Mayer Photography.

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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