Reopening begins with member appreciation days July 14–15; free admission for all July 16–19

(Boston, MA—July 8, 2020) Jill Medvedow, the Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA), announced today that the museum will reopen to the public on Thursday,July 16 with new health and safety protocols in place for the safety of both visitors and staff. The ICA will host member appreciation days on July 14 and& 15, and members will be able to bring an additional guest for free through September 7, 2020 (Labor Day). The museum will also offer free admission to the public from July 16 through July 19. Advance timed tickets required at

“I am very eager to welcome people back to the ICA, to share the extraordinary craft and insights of amazing artists, and to put exhibitions, educational materials, outdoor space, and more in service to communities. I’m equally eager to simply see our audiences—to be alone together at the museum—as we navigate our way together, invest in the common good, and recognize the power of the arts to help us understand the promise and the pain of our moment,” said Medvedow.

The museum will open with exhibitions of work by Sterling Ruby, Tschabalala Self, Carolina Caycedo, Nina Chanel Abney, and our collection show Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art After Kusama. These exhibitions were on view when the museum closed in March, and have now been extended. In the fall, the ICA will open several new exhibitions, including a major collection show titled i’m yours: Encounters with Art in Our Times featuring works by Kader Attia, Firelei Báez, Louise Bourgeois, Ndijeka Akuniyli Crosby, Nan Goldin, Simone Leigh, Doris Salcedo, Henry Taylor, and more; the U.S. museum premiere of William Kentridge’s KABOOM! (2018), a recent major acquisition and room-filling multimedia installation; and Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors (2012). Yayoi Kusama: LOVE IS CALLING will remain closed for further safety assessments. Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” slated to open this July, will now open in July 2021. An updated exhibition schedule can be viewed at

Advance timed tickets are required to allow for contactless entry, and we ask that visitors arrive to the museum no more than five minutes ahead of their designated time slot. Timed tickets can be reserved online starting July 8 for ICA members and July 15 for general admission at

When the ICA reopens, the museum will implement new procedures and policies for the safety of visitors and staff, following the health and safety requirements and recommendations of the City of Boston, State of Massachusetts, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These procedures and policies include:

  • Online ticketing and contactless entry.
  • Limited visitor capacity.
  • Face covering required for all staff and visitors.
  • Increased safety measures and equipment available to visitors, including hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the museum. 
  • New signage outlining safety protocols and delineating physical distance.
  • New cleaning protocols.
  • Contactless, digital resources available for visitors via URL/QR code.
  • Reconfiguration of and capacity limits in spaces throughout the museum to ensure physical distancing.
  • Implementation of new procedures and safety guidelines for ICA staff, including the requirement to wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing at all times on site, and a daily health self-assessment. 

In addition to the changes outlined above, the ICA has postponed all theater productions and performances until 2021. Public programming and events are also currently postponed. On-site group tours have been suspended and the ICA will provide additional options for self-guided visits. The ICA plans to continue many different kinds of virtual programs during the first phase of reopening, including family programs, teen programs, virtual tours, and social programs like First Fridays.

Leading up to the November 2020 election, the ICA will offer voter registration and census surveys on site from 5–9 PM on Thursday evenings and 11–3 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Voter registration forms will be available through October 13 and census surveys will be available through October 31.

Opening schedule

The Watershed

The ICA will continue to work collaboratively and use the Watershed as a food distribution site through September 3, 2020. In partnership with East Boston community organizations and the museum’s caterer, The Catered Affair, over 2,000 boxes of much-needed fresh produce and dairy will be delivered to East Boston families by the end of the summer. The Watershed’s previously scheduled programming, including a new site-specific installation by artist Firelei Báez, is postponed until 2021. 

Exhibition schedule

Sterling Ruby
Through October 12, 2020

The ICA presents the first comprehensive museum survey of artist Sterling Ruby. The exhibition features more than 70 works and features an array of works 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, with 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. 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 in the context of contemporary art production and visual culture of the last 30 years. Organized by Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, ICA/Boston, and Alex Gartenfeld, Artistic Director, ICA, Miami, with Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator and Publications Manager, ICA/Boston.

Tschabalala Self: Out of Body
Through September 7, 2020

Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Tschabalala Self (b. 1990, Harlem, NY) was raised in Harlem as the youngest of five. She grew up observing the textures and pace of metropolitan life, with a keen attention to the surfaces that surround and clothe our bodies—whether carpet or curtains, fashion, or salvaged textiles that contain the spirit of use. The creative repurposing of material, along with the self-expression and self-possession of Black women—including her mother’s innovative transformation of fabrics into dresses—inspire her work. The large-scale figurative paintings and sculptures on view, dating from 2015 to the present, convey a multidimensional humanity, from strength and vulnerability to sexuality and boredom, shaped by methods of abstraction. Organized by Ellen Tani and Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Curator.

Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarrayas
Through September 7, 2020

The interdisciplinary practice of Los Angeles–based artist Carolina Caycedo (b. 1978, London) is grounded in vital questions related to asymmetrical power relations, dispossession, extraction of resources, and environmental justice. Since 2012, Caycedo has conducted an ongoing project, Be Dammed, examining the wide-reaching impacts of dams built along waterways by transnational corporations, including the displacement and dispossession of peoples, particularly in Latin American countries such as Brazil or Colombia (where she was raised and frequently returns). At the ICA, Caycedo will present the culmination of one component of the project, a series of hanging sculptures called Cosmotarrayas that are assembled with handmade fishing nets and other objects collected during field research in river communities affected by the privatization of waterways. These objects, many of which were entrusted to her by individuals no longer able to use them, demonstrate the meaningful connectivity and exchange at the heart of Caycedo’s practice. At the same time, they also represent the dispossession of these individuals and their continued resistance to corporations and governments seeking to control the flow of water and thus their way of life. Organized by Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator and Publications Manager.

Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art After Kusama
Through July 18, 2021

Drawn primarily from the ICA’s permanent collection, this exhibition presents artworks that engage with the pioneering ideas of Yayoi Kusama. Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art after Kusama celebrates Kusama’s prescient artistic vision, which since the 1950s has merged techniques of repetition, obsessional patterns, and the activation of the body in search of a path to liberation from psychological and societal constraints. Through her paintings, sculptures, and environments, as well as body art, film, and performance, Kusama channeled the attitudes and realities of the moment but avoided such labels as pop, minimalism, postminimalism, and performance art. Kusama’s peers shared her interest in timeless concepts that pushed the limits of possibility and of imagination: the idea of the infinite; the experience of rapture; the representational power of illusion; and the threshold between life and death. Here, Kusama’s work is presented alongside that of her contemporaries, such as Louise Bourgeois and Ana Mendieta, and other artists whose work builds on her lasting impact on contemporary art through dizzying arrays of forms and colors, infinite reflection, and the evocative vocabulary of the body. Organized by Ellen Tani.

Nina Chanel Abney
Through January 3, 2021

Deeply invested in creating imagery that is legible and accessible, Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982, Chicago) is known for weaving colorful geometric shapes, cartoons, language, and symbols into patterned and energetic compositions. At the ICA, she created a mural that speaks to social conflict in the digital age, including the constant stream of true and false information, the history of liberal racism and capitalism, and abuses of power that lead to violence and structural inequality. Organized by Ellen Tani.

Ragnar Kjartansson: The Visitors
September 30, 2020–August 15, 2021

The first newly installed exhibition at the museum following months of closure during the global COVID-19 pandemic, The Visitors is a beloved artwork in the ICA’s permanent collection, one that continually inspires and moves our visitors. A portrayal of friendship, love, and loss, The Visitors is a monumental, nine-channel sound and video installation of a performance staged at Rokeby Farm, a historic forty-three-room estate in upstate New York. Each of the individual audio and video channels features musicians playing instruments either alone or in small groups, isolated yet in unison, occupying different rooms of the romantically dilapidated estate. The musical composition coheres in the work’s installation, presenting a dynamic and moving ensemble performance Kjartansson refers to as a “feminine nihilistic gospel song.” Through its unique arrangement of music in space, The Visitors creates a layered portrait of the house and its musical inhabitants. For some, the prolonged experience of sheltering-in-place—characterized at times as being “alone together”—has dramatically changed our conception of home and our relationships to one another. As the museum reopens, we turn to this familiar work for its range of resonant themes, its capacity to comfort and heal, and with the knowledge that our experience of it at this time will be different. Organized by Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator and Publications Manager.

i’m yours: Encounters with Art in Our Times
November 18, 2020–May 23, 2021

Events of this year have brought the world to a halt, affecting global commerce and security, putting our own mortality in sharp focus, and heightening existing inequities, injustices, and political tensions. In this time, we ask: What is the role of art and museums? i’m yours: Encounters with Art in Our Times celebrates that art belongs to everyone. This exhibition, which takes its title from a Henry Taylor painting in the ICA collection, underscores that without visitors, museums—and the works they house—are incomplete. Collaboratively and virtually organized in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest against racial injustices, i’m yours offers a non-hierarchical presentation of art works in an unfinished architectural environment to emphasize that the stories museums may tell through art are never fixed but always in process. Comprising unique encounters with new and iconic works from the ICA’s collection, the exhibition’s groupings, or vignettes, address a range of topics, including ideas of home and history, social and material transformation, and frames of identity in portraiture and sculpture. As an invitation to be present with works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Kader Attia, Firelei Báez, Louise Bourgeois, Nan Goldin, Simone Leigh, Doris Salcedo, and others, i’m yours sparks wonder, encourages questions, challenges assumptions, and provides a space for reflection. Organized by Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator and Publications Manager; Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Curator; Anni Pullagura, Curatorial Assistant; and Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator.

William Kentridge: KABOOM!
November 18, 2020–May 23, 2021

The wide-ranging, interdisciplinary work of William Kentridge (b. 1955, Johannesburg, South Africa) examines the prolonged effects of settler colonialism and the apartheid system in South Africa. Through drawing, performance, film, and opera, Kentridge recomposes historical narratives and proposes new understandings of the past, emphasizing, as he says, “what we’ve chosen not to remember.” The ICA presents the U.S. museum premiere of KABOOM! (2018), a recent major acquisition and room-filling multimedia installation. KABOOM! tells the little-known story of the two million Black African porters conscripted into service for German, British, and French colonial powers during World War I in Africa. Set to a rousing, orchestral score co-composed by Philip Miller and Thuthuka Sibisi, KABOOM! employs collage, drawing, and animation on repurposed archival documents to embody at gallery scale the theatrical intensity of the artist’s full-scale production of The Head & the Load (2018), a work whose title references the Ghanaian proverb, “The head and the load are the troubles of the neck.” A way of speaking back to the incomplete story of colonialism and exploitative labor systems, KABOOM! envelops the gallery in a visual landscape that traverses memory and narrative, revealing history to be a fragmented and authorless relationship to the past. Organized by Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator and Publications Manager, with Anni Pullagura, Curatorial Assistant.

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 expanding the museum’s role as educator, incubator, and convener. Its exhibitions, performances, and educational programs provide access to the breadth and diversity of 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 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.

The ICA is committed to maintaining a respectful and safe environment for all at the museum.


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

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.


Tschabalala Self: Out of Body
Tschabalala Self: Out of Body is presented by Max Mara.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.   


Additional support is generously provided by Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, Ted Pappendick and Erica Gervais Pappendick, The Coby Foundation, Ltd, and the Jennifer Epstein Fund for Women Artists.


Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarraya
Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarrayas is presented by Max Mara. 


Nina Chanel Abney
Support provided, in part, by Jean-François and Nathalie Ducrest.

i’m yours: Encounters with Contemporary Art
Support for i’m yours: Encounters with Contemporary Art is provided by First Republic Bank.


William Kentridge: KABOOM! 
was acquired through the generosity of Amy and David Abrams, James and Audrey Foster, Charlotte Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III, Jeanne L. Wasserman Art Acquisition Fund, and Fotene and Tom Coté Art Acquisition Fund.

LOVE IS CALLING was acquired through the generosity of Barbara Lee/The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women, Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, Hilary and Geoffrey Grove, Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld, Jodi and Hal Hess, Barbara H. Lloyd, and an anonymous donor.

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

Neiman Marcus is the Lead Education Partner of Teen Programs associated with Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech.”