Initiative Highlights Notable Bostonians Revealing Their Own Personal Collections; Invites Public to Share Their Important Objects and Stories

Although many of us may not define ourselves as “collectors,” we all value and accumulate something. From ticket stubs and bottle caps to love letters, teacups, or records, many of us have a favorite object or things, something we hold dear. To celebrate this uniquely human behavior of collecting and connecting, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) launches The Object Project, a community-wide initiative designed to encourage Bostonians to reflect on an object or objects of significance in their life and share them with the ICA and others through a photograph or video.
“Art is all around us, is an important part of our everyday lives, and The Object Project aims to showcase that,” said Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss Director. “We want to hear from the community, we want to incorporate your voices: what you collect and why these collections are important to you.”
The Object Project kicks off with interesting insights into the personal collections of a diverse array of Bostonians including: Chef Jeremy Sewall of Island Creek Oyster Bar; Marcyliena Morgan, Executive Director of the Hiphop Archive at Harvard; Joyce Linehan, Chief of Policy for Mayor Marty Walsh; artists Rachel Perry and Caleb Cole; ICA teen and designer/editor Sienna Kwami; comedian and musician Angela Sawyer; gallery owner Camilo Alvarez; and musician Danny Mekonnen. These stories will be available at

Those wanting to participate in The Object Project can:
  • Take a photo of their special object and post it with their story on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with the hashtag #ICAobjectproject; or
  • Use a smartphone or the video function on a computer to create a video of 90 seconds or less and email it to The ICA will post a selection of video submissions on its website and at the museum in the Poss Family Mediatheque.
The Object Project was developed to complement two ICA exhibitions focused on collections:

First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA (August 17, 2016 – January 16, 2017) – Coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the ICA/Boston’s move to its iconic waterfront building, this exhibition celebrates the museum’s first decade of collecting, is drawn entirely from the ICA’s collection, and features significant new acquisitions. Conceived as a series of interrelated and rotating stand-alone exhibitions, First Light highlights major singular works from the collection, including a monumental cut-paper silhouette tableau by Kara Walker, work from the Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women, groupings of work by artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Nan Goldin, and thematic and art-historical groupings featuring the work of artists as diverse as Paul Chan, Sharon Hayes, Sherrie Levine, and Cornelia Parker. A new multi-media web platform with artist interviews and commentary from current and former curators was created to mark the occasion.
The Artist’s Museum
(November 16, 2016 – March 26, 2017) – This exhibition departs from the impulse to collect and connect, bringing together photography, film, video, installation, sculpture, and sound works that use artworks, images, and history as material for new works. These multilayered projects reimagine the lives of other artworks, demonstrating how social history, personal connections, and ideology shape our relationships to objects, images, and the cultures they produce. Among the artists featured in The Artist’s Museum are: Rosa Barba, Carol Bove, Anna Craycroft, Christian Marclay, Xaviera Simmons, Rosemarie Trockel, and Sara VanDerBeek. Engaging the realms of dance, music, popular culture, natural history, image archives, and design–as well as art history–the twelve artists address a constellation of issues such as gender, sexuality, technology, and digital culture, charting forms and themes across cultures and through time.

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

Christie's logo

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.

NEA logo

Fidicuciary Trust Logo

Major support for The Artist’s Museum is provided by Barbara Horwich Lloyd, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Additional support is generously provided by Steve Corkin and Dan Maddalena, Tristin and Martin Mannion, Ellen Poss, Charlotte and Herbert S. Wagner III, Anonymous, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.