(Boston, MA—May 7, 2019) Experience the art of summer at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) this season with an exciting schedule of exhibitions, performances, and outdoor art events. Highlights include:

  • Less Is a Bore a sweeping exhibition featuring work by artists including Jasper Johns, Joyce Kozloff, Sol LeWitt, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Howardena Pindell, Frank Stella, Ettore Sottsass, and Kehinde Wiley that examines strategies of pattern and decoration in art and design
  • Season two at the ICA Watershed with the U.S. premiere of John Akomfrah’s majestic film installation Purple
  • A dynamic lineup of live music and DJ events outside on the Boston waterfront

Live music

Harborwalk Sounds

Thu, Jul 11–Aug 29, 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 of Music. 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. 

Waterfront music, art + fun

Visitors can kickstart 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 is rounded out with DJ nights and an expansion of the ICA’s multi-disciplinary performance series, Culture Club. 

ICA Harbor Market

Sun, Jun 9, 11 AM–4 PM
Free and open to the public
Stop by the ICA for our artisan takeover, brimming with local makers. Shop handmade goods, discover local artisans, sample bites, and enjoy live music!

ICA Harbor Market is sponsored by

Steve’s Ice Cream, acknowledged as a founder of the craft ice cream movement in the U.S., is partnering with acclaimed contemporary artist Dan Lam to unexpectedly take over the steps and façade of the ICA. While exploring and engaging with the artwork at the ICA Harbor Market, visitors can taste the flavors of Steve’s Ice Cream, including Brooklyn Blackout Cake and the new dairy-free Moroccan Mash Up.

First Fridays

Fri, Jun 7, Jul 5, Aug 2 + Sep 6, 5–9:30 PM
Join us the first Friday of every month from 5 to 9:30 PM for an evening of art, music, fun activities, specialty cocktails, and dancing. 21+  
FREE for members / $20 for nonmember advance purchases / $25 day-of

First Friday: Surfin’ USA, and First Friday: White Hot Vol. 6 are sponsored by

Steve’s Ice Cream and artist Dan Lam are giving visitors something they normally don’t expect from a traditional museum experience: encouragement to touch and taste art. Several of Lam’s new, giant drip and blob sculptures will create an immersive environment at the ICA at the July 5 and August 2 First Fridays. Lam was inspired by the artistry of Steve’s one-of-a-kind ice cream flavor combinations, which will also be available for visitors to sample. 

Lord Hobo Lunch Break

Fri, Jul 12, 12–2 PM
Lord Hobo kicks off your summer weekend with a special pop-up at the ICA. Elevate your long lunch by feeding your soul through art, music, and beer.

DJ Nights

Fri, Jul 12, Jul 19, Aug 9 + Aug 23, 6:30–10 PM
DJ dance parties, vibrant art, and the perfect waterfront setting.
$5 ICA members/$15 general admission unless otherwise noted

Soulelujah at the ICA
Fri, Jul 12, 6:30–10 PM

Since 2003, the residents DJs behind Soulelujah have brought Boston their weekly dose of soul, funk, and R&B. For the first time, they’ll spin their all-vinyl sets overlooking the harbor. 

Discwoman featuring Shyboi, Bearcat, & br0nz3_g0dd3ss
Fri, Jul 19, 6:30–10 PM

Discwoman is a New York-based DJ collective aimed at reclaiming club dancefloors and decks for women and gender-non-conforming producers. The group brings three artists from their incredible roster to the ICA: Philadelphia-via-London producer BEARCAT, who makes potent, therapeutic soundscapes; Jamaican born, New York-based SHYBOI, who uses sound to interrogate ideas of identity, notions of power, and perceived histories; and br0nz3_g0dd3ss, an artist whose work aims to highlight the beauty-in-between that trans and non-binary folks represent in the hopes of emphasizing that which connects us all. The group’s ethos: “Amplify each other.” This summer, the group brings their inclusive environment to the ICA.

Ariel Pink DJ Set
Fri, Aug 9, 6:30–10 PM

$10 ICA members / $20 general admission
Ariel Pink started out as a visual artist before becoming a recording artist in the late ‘90s while attending Cal Arts. Starting in 2000, he began to make a name for himself as a pop-surrealist, eccentric, and worthy of a cult following. His music embraces the dark edges of human folly, which make their brighter counterparts all the more transcendent, striking deep chords of emotion with fans. In his frenzied portrayals of humanity’s baseness and beauty, he spins pathos into paradise. Called one of the most influential musicians of the last fifteen years by FACT Magazine, Ariel Pink will mix a motley blend that only the “king of LA’s freak scene” could. 

Nancy Whang (LCD Soundsystem) DJ Set
Fri, Aug 23, 6:30–10 PM

Nancy Whang is among the few who can lay claim to being a key figure in the heady early days of the rise of DFA Records, and was instrumental in establishing LCD Soundsystem as one of the decade’s most exciting live bands. Like James Murphy, Juan MacLean, Holy Ghost, and other members of the DFA collective, Nancy has honed her skills as a DJ at various afterparties and special events. While many of her peers at DFA ventured out into the world of late night club-friendly DJ’ing, Nancy has stayed firmly rooted in the eclecticism of what could now be considered the defining style of DFA. Her sets have an emphasis on fun, an echoing of the glory days of the NYC scene of the 80’s in which disco, proto-house, postpunk, noise, electro, and Latin influences all conspire to keep things interesting.

Culture Club

Fri, Jul 26 + Aug 16 6:30–10 PM
$5 ICA members/$15 general admission
This ongoing series pairs DJ sets and live performances with otherworldly visual art installations by Boston-area artists. For 2019’s iterations, the ICA partners with two local groups who produce full-sensory art experiences on the museum’s outdoor space. Visit icaboston.org for full audio + visual lineups.

Culture Club (Part 5): A Night at the Beach with SPACEUS
Fri, Jul 26, 6:30–10 PM

SPACEUS empowers creative communities in cities by transforming vacant and underutilized buildings into collective and collaborative artist studios and gallery space. For their Culture Club takeover, the museum’s outdoor space will be transformed into a sunset boardwalk, complete with artist vendors and beachy activities.

Culture Club (Part 6): Block Party with Bodega
Aug 16 6:30–10 PM

Bodega is a legendary, and famously secretive, clothing and sneaker shop in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. For their night at the ICA, the group brings their signature style to recreate the Bodega experience in the Seaport.

Lord Hobo is the Official Craft Beer Partner of DJ Nights and Culture Club

Dance: Summer Stages Dance @ the ICA

Liz Gerring Sneak Peek

Sun, Jul 14, 3 PM
Free with museum admission
For 20 years, choreographer Liz Gerring has explored the abstract possibilities of pure movement through intensely physical and deeply intricate choreography. At the ICA, the Liz Gerring Dance Company will begin work on a new performance that explores connections among music, choreography, and the natural world. Gerring and her company will present their early investigations in a work-in-progress showing followed by a conversation with the audience.

Maya Beiser + Wendy Whelan + Lucinda Childs + David Lang
THE DAY: Work-in-progress showing

Sun, Jul 21, 3 PM
Free with museum admission
THE DAY is new music/dance work by cellist Maya Beiser, dancer Wendy Whelan, and choreographer Lucinda Childs, with music by David Lang. A collaboration among legends, THE DAY is a sensory exploration of two journeys—life and the eternal, post-mortal voyage of the soul. This bold work explores universal themes through the shared language of music and dance. Following a weeklong residency at the ICA, the company will present a work-in-progress showing featuring excerpts of the piece followed by a conversation with the audience.

ICA Kids

Art Lab: Shapes + Patterns

May 18–Dec 29
Open Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays Experiment with the possibilities of shapes and patterns using our interactive magnet wall installation and create your own multimedia collages in the ICA’s Bank of America Art Lab.

Free Fun Friday

Fri, Aug 23, 10 AM–9 PM
For the 11th year running, the ICA opens its doors at no cost to visitors all day long thanks to the Free Fun Fridays program sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation. Activities for the whole family will take place throughout the day. See icaboston.org for details and highlandstreet.org for a full list of participating institutions.

Play Dates

Kids rule the ICA the last Saturday of every month, when the museum’s Seaport location fills up with fun, creative, and even zany activities for kids and adults to do together. Check icaboston.org for programming details and schedules as program dates approach. For more fun, take the Water Shuttle to the ICA Watershed. 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. All ages are welcome; programs are best suited for ages 6 and older.

Contemporary Explorations​
Sat, Jun 29, 10 AM–4PM
Discover ways the ICA museum building is unique. Listen to stories about contemporary architecture and design, then create small-scale 3D buildings with your family. Don’t miss a related adventure for all ages in our Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater.

Pattern Play
Sat, Jul 27, 10 AM–4PM
Enjoy family time together in our exhibition Less Is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design. Stop by the Bank of America Art Lab to create your own patterns and designs with our visiting artist or step outside to create sketches from the view or your imagination en plein air. For more fun, don’t miss a kid-friendly performance in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater at 1:30 PM.

Seaside Horizons
Sat, Aug 31, 10 AM–4PM

Join a family tour of the exhibitions, create art together, or enjoy a selection of short films in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater. Take in the view and ocean breezes as you relax and sketch from the ICA Grandstand—or from the Water Shuttle on your way to the ICA Watershed!

ICA Teens

August Teen Night

Wed, Aug 7, 6–9 PM
Free for teens
Join the ICA Teen Arts Council—15 students from Boston-area high schools—for an unforgettable Teen Night! Organized by teens for teens, this evening features teen-led art tours, art-making activities, and youth performances. See icateens.org for details.

National Teen Convening for Teens in the Arts: Public Day

Wed, Aug 7, 10:30 AM–4:30 PM
Ten years ago, the ICA galvanized a movement for teen arts education with the first-ever national Teen Convening, an annual conference bringing together teen arts leaders and museum educators from around the country. This year’s convening will delve into Museums and Social Justice. Join us for a free public day on Wed, Aug 7. Visit icateens.org for details and to register.


John Akomfrah: Purple

May 26, 2019 – Sep 2, 2019
At the ICA Watershed
Co-commissioned by the ICA and making its U.S. premiere at the ICA Watershed, Purple is an immersive six-channel video installation by the acclaimed artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. Akomfrah draws from hundreds of hours of archival footage, combining it with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to address themes related to the implications of climate change across the planet and its effects on human communities, biodiversity, and the wilderness. Sited in the Watershed’s industrial building, Purple resonates deeply with the Watershed’s harbor location and its proximity to the current and historical maritime industries of the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina.

Less Is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design

Jun 26, 2019 – Sep 22, 2019
A sweeping, multigenerational survey examining strategies of patter and decoration in art and design, and how artists pushed back against minimalism and societal norms. From furniture, textile, and wallpaper to painting, video, and sculpture, the exhibition features a range of objects by artists including Jasper Johns, Joyce Kozloff, Sol LeWitt, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Howardena Pindell, Frank Stella, Ettore Sottsass, and Kehinde Wiley.

2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize

Aug 21, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
The 2019 installment of the ICA’s biannual James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition highlighting the work of Boston-area artists will feature four individuals: Rashin Fahandej, Josephine Halvorson, Lavaughan Jenkins, and Helga Roht Poznanski. First established in 1999, the James and Audrey Foster Prize (formerly the ICA Artist Prize) is central to the ICA’s efforts to nurture and recognize local artists, showcase exceptional artwork, and support a thriving local arts scene.

Vivian Suter

Aug 21, 2019 – Jan 5, 2020
Vivian Suter works in close partnership with the natural environment surrounding her home and studio in Panajachel, Guatemala. The artist’s first Boston exhibition will feature a single installation filling the galleries with a canopy of color and shapes evocative of the lush setting. Her installation of layered and suspended canvases invites visitors to discover her unique dialogue with the imagined and natural worlds. 


Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors

Through Jul 28, 2019
A sentimental portrayal of friendship, love, and loss and one of the best-loved works in the ICA’s permanent collection, Ragnar Kjartansson’s masterwork The Visitors (2012) is a monumental nine-channel sound and moving-image installation of a performance staged at Rokeby Farm, a historical forty-three-room estate in upstate New York. 

About the ICA

Since its founding in 1936, the ICA has shared the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, imagination, and provocation that contemporary art offers with its audiences. A museum at the intersection of contemporary art and civic life, the ICA has advanced a bold vision for amplifying the artist’s voice and augmenting art’s role as educator, incubator, and convener for social engagement. Its innovative exhibitions, performances, and educational 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. Spanning two locations across Boston Harbor, the ICA offers year-round programming at its iconic building in Boston’s Seaport and seasonal programming (May-September) at the Watershed in an East Boston shipyard.

The ICA is located at 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA, 02210. The Watershed is located at 256 Marginal Street, East Boston, MA 02128. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our website at icaboston.org. Follow the ICA at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

ICA Summer is presented in partnership with Converse.
ICA + Converse
Waterfront music, art + fun

ICA Harbor Market, First Friday: Surfin’ USA, and First Friday: White Hot Vol. 6 are sponsored by

Lord Hobo is the Official Craft Beer Partner of DJ Nights and Culture Club


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, and Stephanie and Leander McCormick-Goodhart. 

ICA Kids

Free Fun Friday is sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation.

ICA Teens

Lead support for Teen Programs provided by Wagner Foundation.

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

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.

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



John Akomfrah: Purple has been commissioned by the Barbican, London and co-commissioned by Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden, TBA21-Academy, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow.

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

The Boston Foundation welcomes you to the ICA Watershed.

The ICA Watershed is supported by Fund for the Arts, a public art program of the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Support for Less Is a Bore: Maximalist Art & Design is generously provided by Kate and Charles Brizius, Karen and Brian Conway, Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, Alan and Vivien Hassenfeld, Jodi and Hal Hess, Tristin and Martin Mannion, and Cynthia and John Reed.

Support for the Less Is a Bore publication provided by Peggy J Koenig and Dell and Tim Mitchell.

The 2019 James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition and prize are generously endowed by James and Audrey Foster.

Support for Vivian Suter is generously provided by Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté and Alan and Vivien Hassenfeld.

Support for this presentation of Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors is generously provided by Kate and Charles Brizius, James and Audrey Foster, Jodi and Hal Hess, Kristen and Kent Lucken, and Tristin and Martin Mannion.