Visitors of all ages can create their own art inspired by Nance’s wearable sculptures and have the opportunity for their creation to become the artist’s next sculpture

(Boston, MA—October 4, 2018) The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) has invited artist Dennis Nance to create an interactive art installation in the museum’s Bank of America Art Lab with the debut of Character Study, opening October 13. Nance, who has been described as a “wizard of word, wardrobe, and wonder,” makes wearable sculptures that bring a sense of humor and play to our everyday surroundings. Popsicles, cacti, gingerbread men, turkeys, and patched quilts have been among the focus of Nance’s character studies over the years. For the artist, there are many reasons to add laughter and play into our daily lives. His wearable sculptures show us new ways to enjoy our everyday surroundings just by using our imagination and creativity. Nance seeks to find the moment when a costume transforms not only the person wearing it, but the environment it inhabits and the audience it interacts with.

In Character Study, visitors of all ages are invited to explore pattern, texture, materials, and develop their own unique character ideas. These ideas will be displayed as ‘character study’ cards in the Bank of America Art Lab and Nance will choose one completed card to create his next wearable sculpture. Check back with us on February 1, 2019 to see what he creates!

Character Study will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12–4 PM, from October 13, 2018 through March 17, 2019. The activity is free for all visitors with museum admission.

Meet the Artist on Saturday, October 20 from 12–4 PM
Visitors are invited to meet Dennis Nance, who will be wearing one of his sculptures, and learn more about his creative process. More information at

ICA Play Date on October 27 from 10 AM–4 PM

Visitors can tour the galleries and then stop by the Bank of America Art Lab at a forthcoming ICA Play Date with the theme “Spooky (but not scary!) Contemporary Escapades.” Families can also attend hip-hop and freestyle dance and movement workshops in our Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater. For ICA Play Dates, 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 welcome; programs best-suited for ages 6 and older. 

Also on View
Character Study will be open during the ICA’s collection exhibition Entangled in the Everyday, on view through April 7, 2019. Eliciting the wondrous from the mundane, this exhibition presents major works that showcase artists’ engagement and entanglement with the everyday. It includes works by Tara Donovan, Nari Ward, Lynda Benglis, Sheila Hicks, Anthony Hernandez, Sanya Kantarovsky, Robert Pruitt, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and others from the ICA’s permanent collection. All of these artists have creatively engaged with their daily worlds, inviting others to partake in the beauty, dignity, and reality of the everyday.

About the Artist
Dennis Nance is an artist and curator from Houston, Texas. He was appointed as Curator for the Galveston Arts Center in 2016. From 2007 to 2016, Nance was Exhibitions & Programming Director for Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Texas, where he worked extensively with local and regional artists through over 20 exhibitions annually and the Lawndale Artist Studio Program. He currently serves on the Artist Advisory Board for DiverseWorks, Houston, TX. Nance is a practicing artist and was awarded an Individual Artist Grant from the Houston Arts Alliance and an Idea Fund Award, administered through Aurora Picture Show, DiverseWorks Artspace and Project Row Houses and funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, in 2015. He has exhibited his work at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, The Brandon, BOX13 ArtSpace and the Menil Collection bookstore. He received his BA from Austin College in Sherman, TX with a concentration in Fine Arts and French.

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 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Play Dates are sponsored by Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld and the Hassenfeld Family Foundation.