Highlights include programs by Bill T. Jones, Meredith Monk, Kara Walker

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) presents ambitious performances and dynamic artist talks as part of the 2016-2017 season. Highlights include the return of legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones to the ICA stage, a singular evening of music and poetry by Meredith Monk and Anne Waldman, and a free talk by renowned artist Kara Walker.

All events take place in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater at the ICA, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston. Ticketed programs go on sale to ICA members on July 27 and to the general public on July 29. Tickets can be purchased at www.icaboston.org or by calling 617-478-3103.


Oct 27 | 8 PM
$20 general admission / $17 ICA members + students

Australian singer/songwriter RY X creates songs that are intimate, intuitive, and devotional with lush melodies and raw, emotional lyrics. At the ICA, he will perform in support of his full-length debut Dawn, released earlier this year. RY X is part of the electronic/house-influenced Howling along with musician Frank Wiedemann, and is a member of the band The Acid with DJ Adam Freeland and composer Steve Nalepa.

Meredith Monk and Anne Waldman
Feb 24 + 25, 8 PM
$35 general admission / $25 ICA members + students

Two iconic women known for their mesmerizing stage presences join forces for a singular evening of music, movement and poetry. “One of contemporary music’s great innovators” (The Classical Review), Meredith Monk is renowned for her extraordinary vocal technique and her pioneering compositions, solidifying her reputation as a startling original and intrepid artist. In 1968, she founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance, and in 1978, she founded Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble to expand her musical forms. Anne Waldman is a prolific poet, playwright, activist, and author of more than 40 collections of poetry and poetics, including Fast Speaking Woman (1975) and Marriage: A Sentence (2000). She was a founder and director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York and co-founded with Allen Ginsberg the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Waldman begins the evening in three parts with a performative reading from her “Entanglement Variations,” with visuals of paintings by Pat Steir and sound composition by Ambrose Bye. Monk will then perform several selections of her work with members of her Vocal Ensemble. The evening culminates in an original collaborative duet between Monk and Waldman.


Big Dance Theater
Short Form
Oct 14 + 15 | 8 PM

$25 general admission / $15 ICA members + students
In celebration of Big Dance Theater’s 25th anniversary, artistic leaders Annie-B Parson—known for her work with David Bowie, David Byrne, and St. Vincent—and Paul Lazar theatrically re-imagine the conventions of a repertory program. Inspired by disciplines of the concise—novellas, folk tales, diary entries, pencil drawings, thumbnail sketches—Big Dance performs five distinct short works, each a Boston premiere, that embrace the brief, granular, close-range, anecdotal, and microscopic. Plus, discover Big Dance’s unique blend of dance theater on an intimate scale with a 15-minute onstage birthday party at the evening’s center. Hot dogs will be served.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
A Letter to My Nephew  — U.S. PREMIERE
Nov 11 + 12 | 8 PM
Nov. 13 | 2 PM
$40 general admission / $30 ICA members + students

A Letter to My Nephew, Bill T. Jones’s latest work, makes its U.S. premiere at the ICA. The work brings together two impulses: the social/political and the deeply personal. A Letter to My Nephew is a street scene or a still from the evening news that superimposes violent street battles in the U.S. and desperate immigrants rushing towards freedom in Europe over the image of a hospital bed untethered from reality.

Composer Nick Hallett, baritone Matthew Gamble, and DJ Tony Monkey accompany the accomplished dancers of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company with a delirious mixture of pop music, lullabies, house music, and more. Video design by Janet Wong turns the stage into a simulated battleground; through the fog, Jones’s words to his nephew come alive on stage.

Alessandro Sciarroni
FOLK-S, will you still love me tomorrow
Feb 17 + 18 | 8 PM
$25 general admission /$15 ICA members + students

Lauded Italian choreographer and theater director Alessandro Sciarroni is known for stagings that straddle dance, performance art, and ritual anthropology. In FOLK-S he refines the Schuhplatter, a Bavarian folk dance whose title translates to “shoe batter,” to its most essential form, invoking a sense of playful experimentation and ritualized trance. Starting from an unceasing repeated sequence, FOLK-S invites us to take part in an extreme, perception-based experience centering on the multiple variations that a form can take—and progressing to the point of exhaustion. Here the folk material finds its clearest revelation by being geographically and culturally decontextualized.

Alessandro Sciarroni is an Italian performing artist with an extensive background in visual art and theater. His works are featured in dance and theater festivals, museums, and unconventional spaces in more than 20 different countries.

Maria Hassabi
Mar 17 + 18 | 8 PM
$25 general admission / $15 ICA members + students

Maria Hassabi has honed a distinct practice involving the relation of the body to the still image and the sculptural object. Her mesmerizing work takes its time and asks its viewers to do the same, as it interrogates the separation between the spectacular and the mundane, between subject and object, between performer and audience. Produced for museums, galleries, theaters, and public spaces, her work has been seen worldwide, including recent lauded presentations at Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam) and Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). 

In Hassabi’s new theater work, STAGED, four of New York’s most captivating dancers—Simon Courchel, Hristoula Harakas, Molly Lieber, and Oisín Monaghan—perform individual solos, collectively forming an intricate live sculpture that is constantly shape-shifting, abstracting the human form and its capacities. STAGED was developed over a two-week Summer Stages Dance @ ICA residency this past summer.

Summer Stages Dance @ ICA is made possible, in part, with the support of Jane Karol and Howard Cooper, David Parker, George and Ann Colony, The Aliad Fund, and Stephanie McCormick-Goodhart.

Beth Gill
May 12 + 13 | 8 PM
$25 general admission / $15 ICA members + students

2015 Guggenheim Fellow and Doris Duke Impact Award winner Beth Gill makes her Boston debut with a new work premiering only a week earlier at the Walker Art Center in conjunction with the exhibition Merce Cunningham: Common Time. Gill, a three-time Bessie Award winner, is perhaps best known for her 2011 breakout work, Electric Midwife, about which the New York Times stated: “There aren’t many dance makers of Ms. Gill’s generation… working with the kind of clear, penetrating focus that made Midwife — a pair of perfectly symmetrical trios — such a transporting meditation on the body, its intricate physics and intrinsic poetry.”

Beth Gill’s minimalist works explore the tension between formalist structures and psychological themes, where layers of meaning unfold over a prolonged sense of time, while maintaining an extremely vivid sense of the simultaneous visual and visceral experiences of the viewer. The new work reflects on art historic values and aesthetics, and presents in its stead a dense, tangled, corporeal dance in which bodies are both disparately and desperately expressive.

This work is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund project created in partnership with the Walker Art Center, The Yard, American Dance Festival, and NPN.


The Artist’s Voice: Nicholas Nixon and Abelardo Morell
Sep 15 | 7 PM

Nationally recognized photographers Nicholas Nixon and Abelardo (Abe) Morell join Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator at the ICA, in a conversation about art, photography, and life in New England. This special event is organized to accompany the exhibition First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA, which includes photographic works by both artists. Free admission, first come, first served; tickets available two hours prior to start of program.

The Artist’s Voice: Liz Deschenes
Oct 16 |  2 PM

Artist Liz Deschenes guides visitors through her first mid-career survey, featuring 20 years of exploration of and experimentation with different photographic technologies, methods, and sculpture. Join Deschenes as she answers your questions regarding her creative process. Free with museum admission, first come, first served; tickets available two hours prior to start of program

The Artist’s Voice: Kara Walker
Nov 17 | 7 PM

Renowned contemporary artist Kara Walker has inspired a national conversation on some of the many tragedies and transgressions littering American history thanks to her unique and provocative artworks. Walker’s practice, which has included the construction of intricate cut-paper silhouettes and producing a 40-foot-high sphinx made with sugar, has influenced a new generation of artists and thinkers. Her innovative and poetic approach to making art, recognized by the MacArthur Foundation via a “Genius” grant when the artist was just 28, continue to be celebrated. In this special engagement, Walker will discuss her creative process and share the many inspirations for her cut-paper installation in the ICA’s collection galleries. Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, will join the artist. Free admission, first come, first served; tickets available two hours prior to start of program.


First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA
Aug. 17, 2016–Jan. 16, 2017

The ICA marks 10 years of collecting with the largest and most ambitious presentation of its collection to date, First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA. Occupying the entirety of the museum’s east galleries, this exhibition features more than 100 works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Nick Cave, Paul Chan, Marlene Dumas, Eva Hesse, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol. It brings together audience favorites as well as new acquisitions, many of which are on view at the ICA for the first time. A new, multimedia web platform, including texts by current and former ICA curators, accompanies the exhibition. This exhibition is organized by the ICA’s curatorial department under the leadership of Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator.

The Artist’s Museum
Nov. 16, 2016–March 26, 2017

The desire to collect objects and images of personal significance, and to make connections between them, is a nearly universal human experience. The Artist’s Museum begins with this impulse to collect and connect, bringing together large-scale installations, photography, film, and videos that employ artworks from the past as material in the present, animating existing artworks, images, and histories to reveal art’s unexpected relationships and affinities. Each of the artists in The Artist’s Museum reimagines the lives of artworks and charts recurring forms and themes across cultures and history. They tweak the language of museum display and organization to engage a variety of disciplines and subjects, from dance, music, and design to gender, sexuality, and technology. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication. The Artist’s Museum features works by Rosa Barba, Carol Bove, Anna Craycroft, Rachel Harrison, Louise Lawler, Mark Leckey, Pierre Leguillon, Goshka Macuga, Christian Marclay, Xaviera Simmons, Rosemarie Trockel, and Sara VanDerBeek. Organized by Dan Byers, Mannion Family Senior Curator, with Jeffrey De Blois, Curatorial Assistant.

First Republic Bank is proud to sponsor the ICA’s 2016–17 Performance Season.

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First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA is sponsored by

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This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Additional support is generously provided by Fiduciary Trust Company, Chuck and Kate Brizius, Katie and Paul Buttenwieser, Karen and Brian Conway, the Robert E. Davoli and Eileen L. McDonagh Charitable Foundation, Jean-François and Nathalie Ducrest, Cynthia and John Reed, and Charles and Fran Rodgers.

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