Wish Lists and Wrong Numbers

Focused on works by artists who have exhibited at the ICA in the past decade, the ICA Collection acts as a visual archive of our 21st-century exhibition history. On the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall, we present a temporary installation of two engaging collection works: Rachel Perry Welty’s Karaoke Wrong Number and Kelly Sherman’s Wish Lists.

Both works were included in the 2006 James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition, which featured the four finalists for this biennial award given to a Boston-area artist of exceptional promise. Sherman and Welty both use the detritus of our digital age to create thoughtful, funny, and surprisingly elegant commentaries on contemporary culture.

Kelly Sherman
Selections from Wish Lists, 2006
Portfolio of forty inkjet prints on paper of found lists
Edition 1 of 10
Gift of James and Audrey Foster 2007.3



Kelly Sherman creates poignant conceptual statements out of the infinite, mundane online postings. With lists she found searching the Internet, Sherman assembles spare yet evocative “portraits” of individual and collective desire. Their ranging requests—from the nondescript to the minutely specific, from the prosaic to the poetic—hint at the identity, age, and social circumstance of each author. By presenting the lists in a uniform, simple fashion, Sherman highlights the emotive potential of these anonymous wants and needs.

Rachel Perry Welty

Karaoke Wrong Number, 2001-2004
Single-channel video
6:52 minutes, color with sound
Edition 1 of 25
Gift of Sheryl Marshall and Howard Salwen 2007.4

Rachel Perry Welty builds lyrical sculpture, video, and installations out of material we usually discard or delete. In Karaoke Wrong Number, she lip-synchs phone messages mistakenly left by strangers with perfect timing and facial expressions that effectively animate their misdirected expectations. Her blank stare between messages suggests how technology blindly records volumes of information. Layered with empathy and wit, Welty’s video exposes our often overlooked trust in these everyday vehicles of communication and connection.



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