Artist’s Voice talk with artists on April 18, 2020 

(Boston, MA—November 25, 2019) The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) will host its annual Gala on Friday, April 17, 2020 honoring artists and designers Sterling Ruby and Virgil Abloh and their upcoming exhibitions at the ICA. Sterling Ruby (American/Dutch, b. 1972) is a leading contemporary artist whose work has been presented in solo exhibitions throughout the globe. In 2019, he launched his first ready-to-wear fashion line, S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA. His first comprehensive American museum survey will be on view at the ICA from February 26 through May 26. Virgil Abloh (American, b. 1980) is a genre-bending artist and designer who founded fashion brand Off-White™ in 2013 and became creative director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear line in 2018. His first museum exhibition Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” will be on view at the ICA from July 4 through October 18.

“Working at the intersection of art, design, fashion, and popular culture, Virgil Abloh and Sterling Ruby both bring a broad and innovative approach to creativity,” said Jill Medvedow, the ICA’s Ellen Matilda Poss Director. “We are delighted to celebrate these two forward-thinking artists at our Gala and to invite audiences to experience their work through our Artist’s Voice and exhibition program.”

“I am thrilled to participate in the Gala and public talk at the ICA, a museum with a long history of supporting artists who are pushing boundaries and creating work that pushes culture forward. To be there alongside Sterling, whose work I deeply admire, is a big honor,” said Abloh.

“I am incredibly excited to share the stage with an innovator like Virgil, and I am grateful to the ICA for the opportunity to share my work with Boston audiences at the Artist’s Voice talk and Gala,” said Ruby.

Abloh and Ruby will return to the ICA on Saturday, April 18 for the Artist’s Voice, a free, public conversation offering insight into their work and practice. Details about the talk will be available at  

For information about the Gala, including sponsorship and ticketing, please contact Deputy Director for Development Katie Mayshak at or 617-478-3198.

About the exhibitions

Sterling Ruby
Feb 26, 2020–May 26, 2020
ICA/Boston presents the first comprehensive museum survey for American/Dutch artist Sterling Ruby. The exhibition features more than 70 works that demonstrate the relationship between material transformation in Ruby’s practice and the rapid evolution of contemporary culture, institutions, and labor. Spanning more than two decades of the artist’s career, the exhibition features an array of works created in various mediums, from his renowned ceramics and paintings to lesser-known drawings and sculptures. Since his earliest works, Ruby has investigated the role of the artist as an outsider. Critiquing the structures of modernism and traditional institutions, Ruby addresses the repressed underpinnings of U.S. culture and the coding of power and violence, employing a range of imagery from the American flag to prison architecture and graffiti. Craft is central to his inquiry, informed by his upbringing in Pennsylvania Dutch country and working in Los Angeles, as he explores hand-based processes from Amish quilt-making to California’s radical ceramics tradition. Organized loosely by chronology and medium, Sterling Ruby considers the artist’s explorations of these themes across the many materials and forms he has utilized throughout his practice, including many innovations. Sterling Ruby is co-presented with Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, and is accompanied by an illustrated scholarly catalogue edited by Alex Gartenfeld and Eva Respini, featuring a conversation between Ruby and Isabelle Graw, and essays that consider Ruby’s work amidst the contemporary art production and visual culture of the last 30 years.

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”
Jul 4, 2020–Oct 18, 2020

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of the genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh (b. 1980, Rockford, IL). Abloh pioneers a practice that cuts across media and connects visual artists, musicians, graphic designers, fashion designers, and architects. Abloh cultivated an interest in design and music at an early age, finding inspiration in the urban culture of Chicago. While pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, he had worked on album covers, concert designs, and merchandising. In 2013, Abloh founded his stand-alone fashion brand Off-White™ in Milan, Italy, and, in 2018, assumed the position of artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and set in an immersive space designed by Rem Koolhaas’s renowned architecture firm OMA*AMO, the exhibition will offer an in-depth look at defining highlights of Abloh’s career, including signature clothing collections, video documentation of iconic fashion shows, distinctive furniture and graphic design work, and collaborative projects with contemporary artists. A program of cross-disciplinary offerings will mirror the artist’s range of interests across music and design.

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 Follow the ICA at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Sterling Ruby is organized by Alex Gartenfeld, Artistic Director, ICA, Miami, and Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, ICA/Boston, with Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator and Publications Manager, ICA/Boston.

Sterling Ruby is on view at ICA, Miami November 7, 2019 – February 2, 2020.

Major support for Sterling Ruby is provided by Sprüth Magers, Gagosian, and Philanthropic Action Xavier Hufkens.

SPONSORS_Spruth Magers Gagosian Xavier Hufkens combined Sterling Ruby

Additional support for the Boston presentation is generously provided by Stephanie Formica Connaughton and John Connaughton, Jean-François and Nathalie Ducrest, Bridgitt and Bruce Evans, James and Audrey Foster, Ted Pappendick and Erica Gervais Pappendick, David and Leslie Puth, and Charlotte and Herbert S. Wagner III.

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator of the MCA Chicago. The exhibition is designed by Samir Bantal, Director of AMO, the research and design studio of OMA. The ICA’s presentation is coordinated by Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Curator.

The exhibition tour is made possible by Kenneth C. Griffin.

Support for Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is provided by Northern Trust. 

The Artist’s Voice: Virgil Abloh and Sterling Ruby is made possible, in part, by