Press Release


Boston, Mass.—This February, the Institute of Contemporary Art will open The World as a Stage—a large-scale exhibition of international artists whose works explore ideas of theater, staging, and performance. Organized by Tate Modern, London, the show includes video, film, sculptural installation, and works that are highly interactive and kinetic. The World as a Stage, which travels only to Boston, will be on view at the ICA from February 1 through April 27, 2008.

"Interactive and interdisciplinary artistic approaches are central to the best work by leading artists today," says Jill Medvedow, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. "The World as a Stage brings together several international artists who are playing a major role in transforming the museum visitor's experience."
The World as a Stage—the title inspired by one of Shakespeare's best-known monologues, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" (from As You Like It )-is co-organized by the Tate Modern's Curator of Contemporary Art Jessica Morgan (former ICA Chief Curator) and Catherine Wood, Curator of Contemporary Art and Performance.

The exhibition examines how a sense of theater or spectacle has had an impact on the museum experience, redefining the roles of spectator and participant. "Many of these works rearrange the familiar relationship between static art object, clearly defined gallery space, and the museum visitor," says Carole Anne Meehan, the ICA's coordinating curator of the exhibition.  "By encouraging the visitor to be performer and viewer, these artists raise awareness of the theatricality of today's culture and our everyday lives, sometimes with works that invite, or even demand, viewer participation."

Some of the works included consider different elements of theater-stage, actors, props and audience-in the context of an art exhibition. The centerpiece of The World as a Stage is Rita McBride's Arena (1997), an immense sculpture that resembles stadium seating. With Sweeney Tate (2006) Mario Ybarra, Jr. recreates a L.A. Chinatown barbershop in the ICA galleries. This work reflects on barbershop culture and its social and cultural associations, including masculinity and urban Mexican American and African-American cultures. 

Geoffrey Farmer's Hunchback Kit (2000) presents a collection of props that can be used to re-stage one of literature's most well-known stories, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Jeremy Deller's installation and video, The Battle of Orgreave, Archive (An Injury to One is an Injury to All) (2004), tells the story of the 1984 conflict between Margaret Thatcher's government and the British National Union of Mineworkers. Deller's work takes the form of an historical re-enactment, yet many of the performance's participants were involved in the original event.

Several pieces in the exhibition incorporate the viewer into the work-whether as willing participant or unwitting performer. Tino Sehgal's This is New (2003) consists of no actual object, but rather an active exchange between ICA admissions staff and visitors (visitors are greeted with a newspaper headline followed by the title of the work). Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster's atmospheric blue room installation Séance de Shadows II (1998) transforms the visitor into a performing ethereal shadow cast on the gallery wall.

The 16 artists featured in The World as a Stage include Pawel Althamer (Poland), Cezary Bodzianowsky (Poland), Ulla von Brandenberg (Germany), Jeremy Deller (UK), Trisha Donnelly (U.S.), Geoffrey Farmer (Canada), Andrea Fraser (U.S.), Dominique Gonzales-Foerster (France), Jeppe Hein (Germany), Renata Lucas (Brazil), Rita McBride (U.S./Germany), Roman Ondák (Slovakia), Markus Schinwald (Germany), Tino Sehgal (Germany), Catherine Sullivan (U.S./Germany), and Mario Ybarra, Jr. (U.S.).

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by curators Jessica Morgan and Catherine Wood.

Exhibition organized by Tate Modern, London in association with ICA Boston.

Located in London, Tate Modern is one of the family of four Tate galleries which display selections from the Tate Collection. Created in the year 2000 from a disused power station in the heart of London, Tate Modern displays the national collection of international modern art.

An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the ICA has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for seventy 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.  Located at 100 Northern Avenue in Boston, the ICA 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 $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, and free for members and children 17 and under. Free admission on Target Free Thursday Nights, 5 9 pm. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our Web site at



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