This September, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) launches the tour of interdisciplinary artist Jason Moran’s first museum exhibition. Moran’s work is grounded in musical composition, yet bridges the visual and performing arts through stagecraft. Moran, who has taught at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston since 2010, is known for using personal experience to create dynamic musical compositions that challenge the conventional form of the medium. His experimental approach to artmaking embraces the intersection of objects and sound, pushing beyond the traditional staged concert or sculpture and drawing to amplify ways that both are inherently theatrical. This exhibition features the range of work Moran has explored, from his own sculptural pieces and collaborations with visual artists to performances. On view from Sept. 19, 2018 through Jan. 21, 2019, Jason Moran is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and curated by Adrienne Edwards with Danielle Jackson. The Boston presentation is coordinated by Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator.
In all aspects of his work, Moran’s creative process is informed by one of the essential tenets of jazz music: the “set” in which musicians come together to engage in a collaborative process of improvisation, riffing off of one another to create the musical experience. The exhibition will highlight Moran’s mixed-media “set” installations STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 and STAGED: Three Deuces (both 2015), sculptural vignettes based on storied music venues from past eras that were his acclaimed contributions to the 2015 Venice Biennale. The presentation includes the premiere of a new sculptural commission from this series that takes inspiration from the celebrated New York jazz venue Slugs’ Saloon, which was open from 1964 to the early 1970s. Also featured will be a selection of Moran’s most recent charcoal drawings and time-based media works from his long-standing collaborations, or sets, with visual artists including Joan Jonas, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu and Theaster Gates.
In-gallery musical performances, activating the sculptures, will be orchestrated during the run of the show to complement the gallery presentation.

Exhibition-Related Programming

Fri, Oct 12, 8 PM
Jason Moran and the Bandwagon
$50 ICA members + students / $60 nonmembers

Hailed as one of contemporary jazz’s most inventive and innovative performers, pianist and composer Jason Moran’s musical influences range from historical jazz giants like Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk to contemporary visual artists like Kara Walker and Glenn Ligon. At the ICA, Moran’s abundant talents will be on full display. The evening opens with a solo piano set, followed by a performance with his trio The Bandwagon, celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.

Thu, Nov 15, 7 PM
The Artist’s Voice: Jason Moran with Glenn Ligon

Ten years ago, Jason Moran created the soundtrack for Glenn Ligon’s The Death of Tom, an abstractionist recreation of the final scene of the 1903 silent film Uncle Tom’s Cabin, based on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Join the artists in revisiting this important collaboration with a screening and live performance, and hear more about Moran’s expansive creative practice and his first touring exhibition in a conversation led by Ligon. Free with museum admission.

About the Artist

Jazz pianist, composer, and visual artist Jason Moran (b. 1975, Houston) earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He was named Ford Foundation The Art of Change Fellow in 2017 with his wife and collaborator Alicia Hall Moran, a MacArthur Fellow in 2010, and is the Artistic Director for Jazz at The Kennedy Center. Moran currently teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. Moran has produced 11 albums and six film soundtracks, including scores for Ava DuVernay’s films Selma and 13th. He has collaborated with visual artists, including Joan Jonas, Adam Pendleton, Glenn Ligon, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Stan Douglas, Theaster Gates, among others. His work was featured in the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Tour Schedule

After the ICA, the exhibition will travel to stops in the Midwest and East Coat, including the Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University (June 1 – August 11, 2019).


Jason Moran is made possible with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund. Additional support provided by Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney. Piano by Steinway & Sons.

About the ICA

An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 80 years. Like its iconic building on Boston’s waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and 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. The ICA, located at 25 Harbor Shore Drive, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 AM–5 PM; Thursday and Friday, 10 AM–9 PM (1st Friday of every month, 10 AM–5 PM); and Saturday and Sunday, 10 AM–5 PM. Admission is $15 adults, $13 seniors and $10 students, and free for members and children 17 and under. Free admission for families at ICA Play Dates (2 adults + children 12 and under) on last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our website at Follow the ICA at FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.