THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON

Portrait of a Museum

 Established in 1936, the ICA had a long history of exhibiting, but not collecting, the work of notable artists working to push the boundaries of contemporary art.  Now looking ahead, the museum has begun to acquire works by select artists who have participated in our exhibitions since 2000.  These are culled from our major solo and thematic exhibitions, as well as from our Momentum series and the James and Audrey Foster Prize. In this way, we will eventually form a significant 21st-century collection that will be unique to the ICA.  Even at this early stage, our collection includes a robust selection of works by national and international artists in a range of styles and media.

Many of the artists who have exhibited at the museum are compelled by the major global and environmental shifts that mark our century, and their human impact.  This third presentation of the collection includes a mix of works in sculpture, video, photography, painting, and drawing that reflect our rapidly evolving world.  Many of these use fresh approaches to portraiture and depictions of the figure, offering brief but riveting personal narratives.  Some evoke cataclysmic events and devastation, while others explore our unfolding and complex relationship with the natural world.  These thematic threads are intermingled and juxtaposed throughout the galleries, sometimes weaving seamlessly within a single work.

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