Press release


Festivities include Dance/Draw, Trisha Brown, Swoon, Liz Collins and a Free Community Day

(BOSTON -- June 7, 2011) This fall, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) celebrates its 75th anniversary with a season of non-stop art, performance and festivities including a gala and a free community day. Exhibitions on view during the 75th anniversary include Swoon, Issac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves, Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Dance/Draw—a major new exhibition organized by ICA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth that traces the journey of drawing off the page and into three-dimensional space, ultimately finding itself in the realm of dance. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is proud to be the Celebration Sponsor for the ICA 75th Birthday.

The pairing of visual arts and performance has a long history at the ICA. The ICA’s seminal 1938 exhibition of Picasso and Matisse—the first U.S. exhibition to examine the artistic dialogue between these two modern masters—included collaborative performances created by the artists and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In 1966, the ICA organized an exhibition of then up-and-coming artist Andy Warhol, which included the first museum presentation of Warhol’s films and a public performance of the landmark work, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, by Warhol and the Velvet Underground.

“Since its founding in 1936, the ICA has championed creativity in all its forms—visual art, performance, music, film and video—and supported the artists’ impulse to cross boundaries, challenge convention, and explore new forms of expression. The ICA has been a forum for new ideas, extraordinary works of art and leaps of imagination,” says Jill Medvedow, director of the ICA. “The centerpiece of our 75th anniversary, Dance/Draw, exemplifies this spirit as it looks at the dynamic exchange taking place between visual art and performance.”

Performances taking place during the 75th anniversary include work by choreographers Trisha Brown and Jérôme Bel, and a collaboration between dancer/choreographer Trajal Harrel and visual artist Sarah Sze. Two performances of Liz Collins’s Knitting Nation will also be presented.

Founded in 1936, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston is one of the oldest museums dedicated to contemporary art in the U.S. As the ICA’s reputation grew around the nation, it paved the way for other institutes and museums of contemporary art as well as artists’ spaces and alternative venues. In particular, the ICA led the field in its pioneering support of video art and new media; and of site specific temporary public art. The museum has long been at the fore of identifying and supporting the most important artists of its time and bringing them to public attention. The ICA presented the first U.S. museum exhibitions of artists such as Oskar Kokoschka, Edvard Munch, and Egon Schiele, while emerging stars like Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, and Frank Gehry were each the subject of ICA presentations early in their careers. More recently, the ICA was pivotal in the museum exhibition careers of Cildo Meireles, Bill Viola, Ellen Gallagher, Cornelia Parker, Kai Althoff, Tara Donovan, Damián Ortega, Charles LeDray and Shepard Fairey. In 2006, the ICA opened its new building designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro on the Boston waterfront, enabling the institution to organize exhibitions and performances of a scale and scope never before possible.


Sept. 3, 2011 – Dec. 30, 2012
Swoon will transform the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall with a new installation that extends throughout the ICA lobby and ceiling. Swoon is a Brooklyn-based street artist known for her intricately cut, life-size paper portraits. Her works can be found wheatpasted onto the walls of abandoned buildings, rundown warehouses, and more recently, the interiors of galleries and museums. Inspired by the urban environment, her work is a unique fusion of figurative and architectural elements.

Oct. 7, 2011 – Jan. 16, 2012
From painting and drawing to performance and installation art, today's artists express their ideas in a variety of mediums, yet the line has remained a fundamental building block of the visual experience. On the occasion of its 75th anniversary, the ICA presents Dance/Draw, an ambitious thematic show tracing the journey of the line from changes in drawing in the 1960s to its explosion off the page and into three-dimensional space—ultimately finding itself in the realm of dance. In particular, this exhibition investigates the connections between visual art and dance over the past fifty years, culminating in the exploration of a new generation of artists deeply interested in dance. Organized by ICA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth, Dance/Draw features approximately 80 works—including video, photography, drawings and sculptural objects as well as a series of live performances.

Isaac Julien: Ten Thousand Waves
Oct. 28, 2011-March 4, 2012
Isaac Julien’s Ten Thousand Waves is an immersive, nine-screen installation that poetically weaves together stories linking China's ancient past and present. The original inspiration for the work was the Morecambe Bay tragedy of 2004, in which 23 Chinese cockle-pickers drowned. In response to this event, Julien commissioned the poet Wang Ping to come to England and write Small Boats, a poem that is recited in the work. Through an architectural installation, Ten Thousand Waves explores the movement of people across countries and continents and meditates on unfinished journeys. Shot on location in China, Ten Thousand Waves sees Julien collaborating with some of China’s leading artistic voices, including actresses Maggie Cheung and Zhao Tao; poet Wang Ping; master calligrapher Gong Fagen; artist Yang Fudong; and cinematographer Zhao Xiaoshi.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins
Oct. 28, 2011-March 4, 2012
Jessica Jackson Hutchins conjures her work from the leftovers and cast-offs of the everyday—sculptures and collages are created from the family kitchen table, sofas, favorite clothing and books; Darryl Strawberry is immortalized as a glass bust; flower catalogues become lush collages. Worn by the rituals of daily use, these objects infuse her work with sentiment, history, birth and death—in short, the stuff of life. For her exhibition at the ICA/Boston, Hutchins will show several new works including Symposion (2011), a large-scale sculpture in which a sensuous form of ceramic and papier-mâché reclines atop a shabby sofa, marrying the monstrous and the sublime. This exhibition will be Hutchins’ first solo museum presentation.

Liz Collins: Knitting Nation
Oct. 16 and Nov. 25, 2011
Liz Collins brings her “army” of volunteers to the ICA for two live performances of Knitting Nation, Phase 7: Darkness Descends and Phase 8: Under Construction. In these performances, groups of knitters wearing costumes designed by Collins use manually operated knitting machines to create a site–specific installation. By situating her work at the crossroads of clothing and installation, Collins exploits the material properties of yarn, transforming it from yarn to line, from thread to material, from both line and material into planes of color. Her use of live performance means that these transformations happen in real time and are seen to be the result of laboring human bodies. Her performances intimate that creativity in art and fashion share many of the same principles, prime among them a reliance on the body as a site of both labor and display, and the use of the line to delimit and explore the boundaries of both the body and performance.

Cédric Andrieux by Jérôme Bel
Nov. 4-6, 2011
French choreographer Jérôme Bel offers us a behind-the-scenes look at the world of dance through the eyes of one of contemporary dance’s most celebrated artists, Cédric Andrieux. Integrating spoken English and performance, Andrieux relates his career from his training in France to his time with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the Lyon Opera Ballet. Between the stories, Andrieux recreates elements of the dances he has performed by renowned choreographers like Cunningham and Trisha Brown. Together, Bel and Andrieux create a vivid portrait of what it means to be a dancer today.

Note: A film of Jérôme Bel’s performance Véronique Doisneau will be on view in Dance/Draw.

Trisha Brown Dance Company
Nov. 11-13, 2011
In conjunction with the exhibition Dance/Draw, the Trisha Brown Dance Company performs a survey of works spanning their 40-year history including Watermotor (1978), Opal Loop (1978), Foray Forêt (1990) and Les Yeux et l’âme (2011).

Trajal Harrell and Sarah Sze: The Untitled Still Life Collection
Nov. 18-20, 2011
The ICA presents the world premiere of The Untitled Still Life Collection, a collaborative performance by the choreographer/performer Trajal Harrell and the sculptor Sarah Sze. Harrell and Sze began the project one year ago during a residency at the ICA. The new performance promises a one-of-a-kind integration between object and body, space and movement, time and timelessness. Commissioned and presented as part of Co Lab: Process and Performance, an ongoing joint project of the ICA and Summer Stages Dance at Concord Academy.

Figuring Color: Kathy Butterly, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roy McMakin, Sue Williams
Feb.17 – May 20, 2012
Color is a daily experience, from the colors we wear, to the subway lines we ride, to the food we eat, to the flags we fly. We use colors to describe our emotions: we feel green with envy, red with anger, or on a sad day, blue. The paintings and sculptures in Figuring Color are works that, when we stand before them, compel us to consider our own body in space, its shape, and emotion. The body is rendered as vessel, as pure color, as abstraction, as line, as field, as allegorical, as exceedingly tactile, and as surface. In Roy McMakin's sculpture a chair is at once a body and an implication of an absent body, while two tables intertwined become an evocation of bodies nestled together. Kathy Butterly's evocative use of glaze transforms her ceramic sculptures into miniature bodies, or portraits, going beyond mere explorations of clay's potential for delightful form. In Felix Gonzalez-Torres's sculptures, piles of wrapped candy and plastic-bead curtains are experienced through a literal touch, privileging a sensory experience of a physical body acting upon a metaphorical body: one that can be passed through and even literally ingested. Sue Williams' riotously colorful paintings explore an abstracted body, one composed of many surfaces-both interior and exterior - represented entirely through color. Figuring Color is a sensuous exploration of color that is experienced visually, tactilely, and internally.


ICA 75th Birthday Gala
Oct. 28, 2011
To commemorate its 75th anniversary, the ICA will host a celebratory gala on Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. The fundraiser will commemorate the ICA’s history – and capture the leading edge creativity for which the ICA is known.

Community Day
Dec. 10, 2011
The celebrations will end with a free public birthday party on Dec. 10, which also marks the ICA’s fifth anniversary in its breathtaking waterfront building. Special programs include art and movement activities in relation to Dance/Draw, musical performances, and gallery and architecture talks.

About the ICA
An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 75 years. Like its iconic building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am - 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm. Admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors and students, and free for members and children 17 and under. ICA Free Admission for Youth is sponsored by State Street Foundation. The ICA is free each Thursday night, 5 - 9 pm and there is free admission for families at ICA Play Dates (2 adults + children 12 and under) on the last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our website at

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