Press release

CONTACT: Joyce Linehan (617) 282-2510,

(BOSTON – Jan. 4, 2009) The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) presents a full schedule of ambitious performance and arts programming this spring, including cutting-edge music, dance, film, talks and more. Highlights include the Boston premiere of the Reggie Watts/Tommy Smith multimedia piece Disinformation, innovative puppet theater with Dan Hurlin’s Disfarmer, stimulating conversation between artistRoni Horn and filmmaker John Waters, a new season of New Music Now, and much more.
“The ICA offers a unique opportunity for people to experience the work of artists who are shaping the future of performance,” says David Henry, ICA Director of Public Programs. “This season’s line-up includes some of the best and most provocative new performances by American and international artists working today. People like Xavier Leroy and Dan Hurlin are taking dance and theater far beyond conventional boundaries, and it’s fascinating to watch where their creativity and ingenuity takes them.”  
Tickets for all programs will be available to ICA members at Associate Level and above on Jan. 5 and to the general public on Jan.19. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (617) 478-3103. For information about membership, visit the web site or call (617) 478-3102.
Reggie Watts/Tommy Smith
Saturday, Feb. 13, 7 and 9:30 p.m. 
Everyone seems to agree: Reggie Watts is virtually indescribable. His unique performance is “original, off-the-wall and entertaining bliss” (The Sunday Telegraph). Watts blends improvised comedy and music as he explores subjects ranging from ancient history and mythology to technology and pop culture. Mixing hilarious monologues with beat boxing, rhymes, and a cappella compositions, his stream-of-consciousness style keeps the audience on their toes. Disinformation, a collaboration with playwright and director Tommy Smith, examines humanity’s refusal to accept the end of the world. Combining absurdist storytelling, projected video imagery, and spontaneous musical compositions, it’s a feverish, comedic take on the human need to understand ourselves. Tickets: $16 members, students, and seniors; $20 general admission.
Christopher O’Riley
Saturday, February 27, 8 p.m.
Host of the popular NPR music program From the Top, Christopher O'Riley has stretched the piano beyond conventional boundaries. Touring in support of his latest release, Out Of My Hands, O’Riley tackles the music of R.E.M., Portishead, Cocteau Twins, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, the Bad Plus, the Smiths, Tears for Fears, Radiohead, and a newly-released song by Elliott Smith. Co-presented with World Music/CRASHarts. Tickets: $25 members; $28 non-members.
Xavier LeRoy
Considered an iconoclast in the dance world, this outstanding French choreographer draws on diverse influences from the worlds of science, performance art, and contemporary dance. We present two astonishing works from LeRoy’s repertoire, followed by post-performance discussions to learn more about the artist’s research and a new piece, Anthropomorphic, that he’s developing with MIT scientists and researchers. Presented in partnership with MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology.
Friday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.
Self-Unfinished presents Le Roy alone on stage as he morphs between human and machine, slowly contorting his body into a variety of surprising poses. The hour-long piece, performed in silence, suggests a world of multiple possibilities and reveals Le Roy’s ongoing interest in robotics.
Le Sacre du Printemps
Saturday, April 3, 7:30 p.m.
In his newest work, LeRoy is inspired by the idea of music-making as choreographed spectacle. Using a recording of Stravinsky’s score by the Berlin Philharmonic, he casts the audience in the role of orchestra and himself as conductor, performing his own gestural dance as a means of summoning the music.
Tickets for each performance: $16 members, students, and seniors; $20 general admission
Funded in part by FUSED: French U.S. Exchange in Dance, a program of the National Dance Project/New England Foundation for the Arts and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York.
New Music Now
The ICA explores musicians redefining “new.” This adventurous concerts series, organized with composer and saxophonist Ned Rothenberg, presents jazz musicians at the height of their creative powers. 
Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures
With special guest Hassan Hakmoun
Friday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.
Known as an early innovator of world music, Adam Rudolph is a composer and percussionist who has developed a unique approach to hand drums. His quintet’s members have performed with world music ensembles, 20th-century chamber groups, and leading artists in jazz and rhythm and blues. For the first time, Rudolph’s full ensemble will be joined by Hassan Hakmoun, a leader in Gnawa music (mixing African, Berber, and Arabic religious songs and rhythms) and master of a three-stringed, long-necked African bass lute called a sinter. Tickets: $16 members, students, and seniors; $20 general admission
The Swallow Quartet featuring Steve Swallow and Carla Bley
Saturday, April 17, 7:30 p.m.
In the 1960s bassist Steve Swallow, a favorite of many jazz critics, met composer Carla Bley, considered “in the same league…as legends like Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, [and] Charles Mingus” (The Guardian). They’ve been working together ever since, as a duo, part of a big band, and everything in between. The Swallow Quartet was born last fall as Swallow wrote new music for Bley, Berklee-trained saxophonist Chris Cheek, and guitarist Steve Cardenas, a fixture on the New York jazz scene.           Tickets: $16 members, students, and seniors; $20 general admission
Dan Hurlin
Friday and Saturday, May 14 and 15, 7:30 p.m.
This haunting and original work of puppet theater explores the world of Mike Disfarmer, an eccentric and reclusive Arkansas photographer who left behind a body of work now considered one of the most significant in the history of portraiture. Award-winning director Dan Hurlin takes puppetry to exquisite heights with the unique “tabletop” style: the handlers operate in full view of the audience, not just manipulating but interacting with the puppet hero. A script by Sally Oswald, a country-meets-avant-garde score by Dan Moses Schreier, and Disfarmer’s own photographs complete Hurlin’s portrait of this American original. Tickets: $20 members, students, and seniors; $25 non-members
Disfarmer is presented as part of Emerging America, a theater festival presented in cooperation with American Repertory Theater and the Huntington Theater. Visit our website for upcoming information on related events. 

Funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the six New England state arts agencies.
Mega-Watts: Occurrence
Friday, Feb. 12, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
ICA/Boston’s Experiment, an irresistible mix of art, drinks, beats and eats presents Reggie Watts. Known for mashing together comedy, rap, beatboxing, and anything else you can think of, New York performance artist Watts and collaborator/playwright Tommy Smith present Occurrence, a cabaret of alternative performers. Special guests will be invited to play short sets of energetic, offbeat material, culminating with Watts’s own incomparable, genre-warping implosion of music and comedy. “Expect your mind to be blown,” says Time Out New York. But that’s just the start— we’ve got local DJs BREK.ONE and The Bladerunners with 7L, Razor, and Beyonder, who collectively bring nearly five decades of live freestyle edits of hip hop, electro, house, and more. Tickets: In advance: $15 members and students; $20 general admission; Week of Feb. 8 : $20 members and students; $25 general admission
Roni Horn in Conversation with John Waters
Wednesday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.
The most comprehensive survey to date of the work of American artist Roni Horn opens at the ICA on Feb. 18. On the eve of this momentous occasion, find out what happens when the subtle beauty and intellectual power of Horn’s art meets the transgressive tackiness of John Waters. This artist talk is sure to entice, provoke, and entertain. A longtime friend of the artist, Waters directs cult films that connect popular culture with social change. He is also a visual artist and writer who contributed to Horn’s book Wonderwater (Alice Offshore). The conversation should be simply “divine.” Tickets: $20 members, students and seniors; $25 general admission.
Words from the Walk
Emily Dickinson: A Meditation
Thursday, February 18, 6:30 p.m.
Emily Dickinson is a major influence on Roni Horn—both poet and artist have used spare language to explore nature, identity, and cycles of life and death. Horn has also drawn directly from Dickinson’s poetry in her White Dickinson and Key and Cue series. It is fitting that the poem featured on the Hassenfeld Harborway this spring is Dickinson’s I’m Nobody! Who Are You?, the first line of which became Key and Cue No. 288. To mark the occasion, a group of today’s leading poets will gather to celebrate Dickinson’s work and share their own. Gail Mazur, Joyce Peseroff, David Rivard, and Rosanna Warren will join Lloyd Schwartz, Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at UMass Boston on the Words from the Walk Series, bringing poetry to Boston Harbor since 2006. Tickets: Free members, $5 general admission.
Wednesday, April 14, 6:30 p.m.
See the tattoo-inspired work of Dr. Lakra, the playful and provocative Oaxaca, Mexico-based artist, then hear from the artist and others whose work brings them in close contact with skin. They’ll discuss the challenges of creating the most personal and intimate of designs. Panelists include Dr. Lakra; Allen Zadeh, Director of Industrial Design at Smart Design, and others to be announced. The panel will be moderated by Stephanie Murg, New York-based editor of the influential design blog UnBeige. (Co-presented with AIGA). Tickets: $10 members, students, and seniors; $15 general admission
This program is made possible through the generosity of Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld.
On Pins & Needles: Tattooing in Massachusetts
Artist Talk
Thursday, April 15, 6 p.m.
Join Dr. Lakra and exhibition curator Pedro Alonzo in the galleries for a conversation about Lakra’s ICA exhibition and the role of tattooing in his art. Talk and museum admission are free on
Target Free Thursday Night 5-9 p.m.
Panel Discussion
Thursday, April 15, 7 p.m.
Although tattooing was first introduced to Bostonians in the 1840s, it was just 10 years ago that a Massachusetts ban on tattooing (except by medical physicians) was deemed unconstitutional by a Suffolk Superior Court judge. Helping to overthrow this ban was Sarah Wunsch, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. Join Wunsch and exhibition curator Pedro Alonzo for a look back at the commonwealth’s long and complicated history with this art form. Tickets: $8 members, students and seniors; $10 general admission.
Gallery Talks
Free with museum admission. We recommend viewing the exhibition before the program.
Krzysztof Wodiczko, …OUT OF HERE: The Veterans Project
Impacts of War
Sunday, February 28, 2 p.m.
How are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affecting children in the U.S.? Find out from Diane Levin, professor of Education at Wheelock College and author of numerous books on the impact of violence, media, and other societal issues on children, families, and schools.
Understanding War
Sunday, March 14, 2 p.m.
Kevin Bowen is a poet, Vietnam veteran, and Director of the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass, Boston. Learn about the Joiner Center’s many initiatives and the impact they have already had on our understanding of war and conflict.
Reporting War
Sunday, March 28, 2 p.m.
Dan Murphy was a reporter for the Bloomberg News Bureau in Jakarta and Far Eastern Economic Review, covering Indonesia/East Timor in the 1990s. In 2000, he joined The Christian Science Monitor as a staff writer, reporting from numerous continents and countries including Southeast Asia and Iraq. Hear about his experience reporting from nations in conflict and addresses the emotions he felt upon his return to the U.S.
Roni Horn AKA Roni Horn
Dickinson on Dickinson
Sunday, April 11, 2 p.m.
American poet Emily Dickinson has inspired artists across disciplines—Aaron Copland, Martha Graham, not to mention Roni Horn. Celebrate National Poetry Month with a conversation with Cindy Dickinson (no relation), Director of Interpretation and Programming at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass.
Bird is the Word
Sunday, May 9, 2 p.m.
The more we look at Roni Horn’s portraits of taxidermy birds, the more mysterious they seem. Get a fresh perspective from someone who looks closely at birds every day: Scott V. Edwards, whose study of avian DNA has led to insights into the behavior and ecology of birds. Edwards is Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.
The Art and Technique of the American Commercial
Thursday, Jan. 28, 7 p.m. Introduction by Matt Miller, President and CEO, Association of Independent Commercial Producers
Sunday, Jan. 31, 1:30 p.m.
Commercials are small films of persuasion, and informing, influencing, and selling can also be moving, surprising, and entertaining. This annual program celebrates the collaborative craft involved in making commercials, gathering the best ads from 2009 in 26 different categories. Digibeta, 61 min. Tickets: $8 members, students, and seniors; $10 general admission.
Award-Winning British Commercials 2009 - Boston Premiere
Saturday, Jan.30, 4 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 31, 3:30 p.m.
You’ll actually want to stay tuned for these messages. Screened for the first time at the ICA, this annual exhibition, now in its 31st year, presents approximately 100 British television, Internet, and cinema commercials selected by British advertising professionals for excellence in various product categories. Tickets: $8 members, students, and seniors; $10 general admission.
This program is presented in association with the British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA) office in London. Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film, Museum of Modern Art. Thanks to Peter Bigg, Administrator, BTAA.
The Best of Ottawa International Animation Festival - Boston Premiere
Friday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m.
The Ottawa International Animation Festival is the largest event of its kind in North America, a major film event attracting animators and attendees from around the world. The ICA will present a selection of the best films from the 2009 festival. Tickets: $8 members, students, and seniors; $10 general admission.
The Heretics- Boston Premiere
Thursday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. Q & A with the filmmaker
Sunday, Feb. 14, 3:30 p.m.
Joan Braderman’s film lifts the veil on the inner workings of the Second Wave of the Women’s Movement. Members of the Heresies Collective—accomplished artists, writers, architects, filmmakers, curators, and teachers now scattered around the globe—speak intimately about the extraordinary times they shared in 1970s Manhattan. See how this group reflects a larger movement that challenged the terms of gender and power, re-wring the lives of generations to follow. Tickets: (Digibeta, 85 min.) $8 members, students, and seniors; $10 general admission
The Ann Arbor Film Festival - Boston Premiere
Sunday, Feb.14, 1:30 p.m. Introduction by filmmaker Robert Todd
This original and longest-running independent film festival in the U.S. is a premier showcase for risk-taking and art-driven cinema. The program gathers short films by seven filmmakers who explore themes of life and death within the geography of our surroundings. (Digibeta, 91 min.)  Tickets: $8 members, students, and seniors; $10 general admission
The International Experimental Cinema Exposition (TIE) - Boston Premiere
Saturday, Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m.
Experimental film is undergoing a renaissance as a younger generation is defined by new cultural and geographical alliances, in contrast to predecessors like Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Andy Warhol. This two-part program curated specially for the ICA, illuminates the continuing vitality of experimental cinema with contemporary 16mm and 35mm films from international and Boston-based artists. Several Boston filmmakers will join TIE curator Christopher May to introduce the films and answer questions. Tickets: $8 members, students, and seniors; $10 general admission

Meredith Monk: Inner Voice by Babeth M. VanLoo
- Boston Premiere
Friday, Feb.19, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 21, 3:30 p.m.
A “musician of boundless imagination and vision,” (The Plain Dealer) Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music theater works, films, and installations. Inner Voice follows Monk as she creates her latest piece, Songs of Ascension, a major new work developed in collaboration with renowned artist Ann Hamilton. The film observes Monk's process from her initial, solitary work to the rehearsal process, seeking the motivation and source of her creative force. (Digibeta, 82 min, 2009) Tickets: $8 members, students, and seniors; $10 general admission.
2009 Academy Award-Nominated Short Films
February 19, 21, 25, March 5, 7, 9 and 10
See Oscar-nominated shorts in both animation and live action. Log onto for times and screening information.
The National Center For Jewish Film’s 13th Annual Film Festival
April 8, 7 p.m. and April 16, 7 p.m.
JEWISHFILM.2010, a vibrant program of new independent films and classic cinematic treasures from around the world, will present two Boston Premieres at the ICA. For more information visit,, or call 781-736-8600.
The Independent Film Festival Boston
Tuesday, April 27
The ICA partners with The Independent Film Festival Boston, which runs from April 22-28 and presents an amazing array of films, nightly parties, and panel discussion with filmmakers. For upcoming ICA screenings of festival films and ticket information, visit
World Music/CRASHarts Presents Dance and Music Programming at ICA/Boston
Alonzo King LINES Ballet - Boston Debut
Performing the Boston premieres of Signs and Wonders and Dust and Light
Friday, Jan. 22,7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 23, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 24, 3 p.m.
Described by The New Yorker as being “hyperkinetic” and “exceptional,” Alonzo King’s celebrated LINES Ballet of San Francisco performs exhilarating works that meld classical Western ballet with a diverse set of cultural traditions. Their Boston debut features Signs and Wonders, a work that examines the relationship between contemporary ballet and African musical traditions with indigenous drumming and vocals from a myriad of African tribes, and Dust and Light, an intimate piece setting off the rich variations of Arcangelo Corelli’s baroque music against Francis Poulenc’s otherworldly sacred choral odes. Free pre-performance talk with dance critic Debra Cash 45 minutes prior to each show. Free post-performance Q & A on Friday, Jan. 22.
Tickets: $36 members; $40 non-members.
Signs and Wonders was made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces: Dance initiative, administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Stephen Petronio Company
Performing the Boston premiere of I Drink the Air Before Me
Friday, March 19, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 20, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 21, 3 p.m.
Stephen Petronio is widely regarded as one of the leading dance-makers of his generation. Compelling music, visual art, and fashion collide in his adrenaline-powered choreography. Celebrating its 25th anniversary season, the company performs the Boston premiere of I Drink the Air Before Me. Free pre-performance talk with choreographer Stephen Petronio, moderated by dance critic Debra Cash, 45 minutes prior to each show. Free post-performance Q & A on Friday, March 19.Tickets: $36 members; $40 non-members.
Funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation.
Nora Chipaumire
With live music by Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited
Lions Will Roar, Swans Will Fly, Angels Will Wrestle Heaven, Rains Will Break: Gukurahundi
Friday, April 23, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 24, 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 25, 3 p.m.
Nora Chipaumire, featured dancer and former associate artistic director of Urban Bush Women, fuses her powerful movement with Thomas Mapfumo’s live music to create a performance that explores what it means to live as an exile from Zimbabwe in an increasingly borderless world.
Free pre-performance talk with dance critic Debra Cash 45 minutes prior to each show. Free post-performance Q & A on Friday, April 23.Tickets: $40 reserved seating.
Funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation.
Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith
Performing the Boston Premiere of Indian Jazz Suite: Kathak meets Tap
Friday, April 30, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 1, 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 2, 3 p.m.
India Jazz Suites is an explosive collaboration between Pandit Chitresh Das, one of India’s foremost Kathak masters, and Jason Samuels Smith, the Emmy-award winning tap dancer renowned for his amazing footwork in Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ’Da Funk. Indian classical musicians and a stellar jazz trio perform live to complete this powerful artistic exchange. The result is high entertainment which crosses all boundaries of age and culture—a blast of incredible speed and power, grace and beauty, epic storytelling, and the pure joy of dance. Tickets: $36 members; $40 non-members.
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 more than 70 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, $13 seniors and $10 students, and free for members and children 17 and under. ICA Free Admission for Youth is sponsored by State Street Foundation. Free admission on Target Free Thursday Nights, 5 - 9 pm. Free admission for families sponsored by Hood (2 adults + children 12 and under) on last Saturday of each month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our Web site at


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