The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) announces its events and programs for Summer 2018. With the opening of the Watershed, a new seasonal art space unlike any in Boston, as well as a schedule of free programs that engage new communities and exhibitions that speak to the issues of our time, this is truly a watershed summer for the institution.


July 5–August 30 | 6-8:30 PM
On ICA Free Thursday nights, visitors can enjoy outdoor concerts on the waterfront as part of Harborwalk Sounds, a collaboration between the ICA and Berklee College. These popular evenings include free admission to the galleries, free concerts by up-and-coming musicians from around the globe, and summer-inspired food and drink. This summer will also include occasional dance performances by Berklee students. 

July 5 | Spencer Nicholson
July 12 | Mirella Costa
July 19 | 7th Degree
July 26 | Niu Raza with dance performance by Avery Gerhardt
August 2 | AJNA + Triple Tea
August 9 | Nicole Zignago and Nani with Dance Performance by Christine Morrison
August 16 | Common ₵ents
August 23 | One Drop: A Bob Marley Tribute
August 30 | Martin Tamisier with dance performance by John Chin

Visitors can kick start their weekend at the ICA every Friday evening in July and August with waterfront music, dancing, and the best vibes in the city. The museum’s popular First Fridays program (June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7) is rounded out with DJ nights, and an expansion of the ICA’s multi-disciplinary performance series, Culture Club.

The first Friday of every month from 5 to 10 PM is an evening of art, music, fun activities, specialty cocktails, and dancing all night. FREE for members. $15 for nonmember advance purchases/$20 day-of.

July 6 | Set Sail
August 3 | White Hot Volume V
September 7 | Summer Nights

Fridays July 13–August 24* | 6:30–10 PM
DJ dance parties, vibrant art, and the perfect waterfront setting.
$5 ICA members/$15 general admission unless otherwise noted
*except August 3, a First Friday

July 13 | DJ Jazzy Jeff $10 ICA Members/$20 general admission
July 27 |  Helado Negro
August 10 | Tim Hoey of Cut Copy DJ Set
August 24 | Madame Gandhi

6:30–10 PM
This ongoing series pairs DJ sets and live performances with vibrant art installations by Boston-area artists for energetic and exploratory nights on the harbor.
$5 ICA members/$15 general admission

Culture Club (Part 3)
Friday, July 20
Live performance by Vintage Lee, DJ sets by NomaNomz, Wex, Flee + Dreaveli; visual installations by Furen Dai, Derek Hoffend, and Julia Emiliani.  

Artist Furen Dai presents a large-scale installation using mylar balloons and handmade lanterns to address the immigrant experience in Boston and modern-day censorship in China. Derek Hoffend explores sound as a medium intersecting with physical forms, bodies, light, and spaces to create an immersive and participatory experience. Acclaimed local illustrator Julia Emiliani adds playful animations. Featuring a live performance by Roxbury-based Vintage Lee, a “rising rap force to be reckoned with.” (FACT Magazine)

Culture Club (part 4)
Friday, August 17
DJ sets by East Meets beats (Rilla Force, Deha + Ra Lo); visual installations by Sabato Visconti, Rudolf Lingens, and the Safarani Sisters.

Brazilian multimedia artist Sabato Visconti experiments with glitch processes to create a highly unique interactive video booth experience. In the ICA Common Room, Rudolf Lingens brings us an uncanny sculptural installation with interactive role-play. And Iranian identical twins the Safarani Sisters will debut a durational live performance installation on the Harborwalk. DJ lineup curated by East Meets Beats, an electronic music showcase dedicated to cultivating the community of underground producers, DJs, and musicians in Boston and beyond.


Will Rawls Open Rehearsal
Sunday, July 22 | 2–4 PM
Free with museum admission

Boston-born choreographer Will Rawls returns to his hometown for a weeklong Summer Stages Dance @ ICA residency. While at the ICA, Rawls and his collaborators will investigate cultural violence and disappearance through movement, language, installation, and projection for his upcoming performance What Remains. Created with writer Claudia Rankine and filmmaker John Lucas, What Remains explores the erasure and exposure that drives the historical disturbance of black citizens.    


Fri, August 10 | 10 AM–9 PM
The ICA opens its doors at no cost to visitors all day long thanks to the tenth annual Free Fun Fridays program sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation. Activities for the whole family will take place throughout the day. For a complete schedule of participating institutions, visit

Family Play Dates are the last Saturday of every month from 10 AM–4 PM with themes and activities varying each month.
Admission is FREE for up to 2 adults per family when accompanied by children ages 12 and under. Youth 17 and under are always admitted free to the ICA.

Changing the Rules
Saturday, June 30
Families are invited to take inspiration from contemporary artists including works created with hopes of inspiring new rules for society and are create their own artworks portraying  ‘new rules’ to mix into their everyday life. Local musician Alastair Moock will play song songs to encourage change in the theater at 2 PM.

Creating Hope Together
Saturday, July 28
Families take in view at the ICA (and the Watershed) while enjoying kids’ gallery games, staff-led book readings, art-making projects, and harborside family yoga. Visitors are invited to participate in a dance and work together to create a large-scale sculptural collage sharing messages of hope.

Seaport Adventure
Saturday, August 25
Families are invited to explore the galleries, try a family pop-up talk, sketch the view, and take in a performance or film in the theater, and create artwork together in our Bank of America Art Lab installation.


Summer Teen Night
Wednesday, August 1 | 6–9 PM
Free for teens
Teens take over the museum with art-making, youth performances, a photo booth, an open mic and an epic dance party.

The Current
Saturday, August 25 | 2–4 PM
Free for teens
The Current is an ICA Teen drop-in program created, implemented, and hosted by ICA teens as an ongoing series of gatherings for youth dialogue and engagement around social issues through the arts. For the summer installment, we’re focusing on the exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85. Teen artists from Boston are also invited to submit original artwork to be displayed and engaged with at the event.



We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85
June 27–September 30
Focusing on the work of black women artists, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. It is the first exhibition to highlight the voices and experiences of women of color in order to reorient conversations around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history in this significant historical period. 

Arthur Jafa: Love is the Message, The Message is Death
June 27–September 30
A single-channel video installation set to Kanye West’s stirring, gospel-inspired song “Ultralight Beam,” Love is the Message, The Message is Death comprises original and found footage from concerts, marches, music videos, news reports, police cameras, and YouTube videos. Amplified by the musical track, Love is the Message, The Message is Death presents glimpses of the joys and traumas of black life—nuanced, complex, and multifaceted—in the United States.


Kevin Beasley
May 9–August 26
One of the most exciting artists to emerge in recent years, New York–based Kevin Beasley uniquely combines sound and clothing—his core artistic materials—in stunning, densely packed sculptures and immersive acoustic experiences. Clothing, often the artist’s own, is central in Beasley’s diverse sculptural work, ranging from compositions of shredded t-shirts and hoodies to fitted hats, do-rags, and basketball jerseys.

Caitlin Keogh: Blank Melody
May 9–August 26
New York–based Caitlin Keogh’s vivid, seductive paintings combine the graphic lines of hand-drawn commercial illustration with the bold matte colors of the applied arts to reimagine fragments of female bodies, natural motifs, pattern, and ornamentation to explore questions of gender and representation, and the construction of artistic identity


The ICA will open its new Watershed to the public on July 4, expanding artistic and educational programming on both sides of Boston Harbor—the Seaport and East Boston—and connecting two historically isolated neighborhoods. Admission to the ICA Watershed will be free. Access to the Watershed is available by boat, car, and public transportation. The museum is contracting water taxis through Boston Harbor Cruises for the six-minute boat ride from the ICA to the Watershed, which will be free to ICA members, included with regular museum admission, and free to visitors age 17 and under.

Diana Thater
July 4–October 8
Diana Thater is renowned for immersive, atmospheric spatial transformations using moving images of the natural world and vividly colored light washes. In the inaugural Watershed exhibition, Thater transforms the Watershed through light and moving-image projections, Thater’s installation for the ICA reflects on the fragility of the natural world. The exhibition will center on Thater’s artwork Delphine, reconfigured in response to the Watershed’s raw, industrial space and coastal location. In this monumental work, underwater film and video footage of swimming dolphins spills across the floor, ceiling, and walls in several large-scale voluminous projections. Upon entering the gallery, visitors will be immersed in an otherworldly underwater environment while remaining firmly connected to the waterfront landscape just outside. As viewers interact with Delphine, they become performers within the artwork, their shadowy silhouettes moving and spinning alongside the dolphins, across the gallery walls. 


ICA Summer is presented in partnership with Converse

Support for ICA First Fridays is provided by

Summer Stages Dance @ the ICA/Boston is made possible, in part, with the support of Jane Karol and Howard Cooper, David Parker, The Aliad Fund, George and Ann Colony, and Stephanie and Leander McCormick-Goodhart. Additional support for Will Rawls’s residency comes from American Repertory Theater.

Play Dates are sponsored by Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation. 

Lead support for Teen Programs provided by Wagner Foundation.

The ICA’s Teen Arts Council and Teen Nights are generously sponsored by Vertex and MFS Investment Management and are made possible, in part, through the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, funded by the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Teen Programs are made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Award Number MA-10-17-0447-17.

Additional support is provided by the Surdna Foundation; the Rowland Foundation, Inc.; The Corkin Family; the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation; the William E. Schrafft and Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust; the Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Jean Gaulin Foundation; the Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation, Inc.; and The Willow Tree Fund.

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 is organized by the Brooklyn Museum. 

Support for the Boston presentation is provided by The Robert E. Davoli and Eileen L. McDonagh Charitable Foundation, Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, Allison and Edward Johnson, Barbara Lee, David and Leslie Puth, and Charles and Fran Rodgers.

Support for Arthur Jafa: Love is the Message, The Message is Death is generously provided by Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté and Bridgitt and Bruce Evans.

Support for Kevin Beasley is generously provided by Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, The Coby Foundation, Ltd., Bernard Lumpkin and Carmine Boccuzzi, and Miko McGinty.

Free Admission to the ICA Watershed is made possible by the generosity of Alan and Vivien Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation.