Themes include the use of language as material, the vulnerability of the human body, and the ability of artworks to shape-shift.


Though founded in 1936, the ICA formed its permanent collection just ten years ago. After the expansive presentation in First Light: A Decade of Collecting at the ICA, New Acquisitions continues to focus on the incredible growth of the collection in recent years. Taking an approach common in larger museums, the exhibition showcases works in a range of mediums acquired in the past three years. Dating from the 1970s to the present, the works on view focus on the use of language as a material in art, the vulnerability of the human body, and the ability of artworks to shape-shift, taking on the character of architecture, décor, or found objects.  

Among the new acquisitions is Sarah Sze’s Hidden Relief (2001), a major sculptural work by the Boston native that transforms a corner of the gallery into a mesmerizing network of shapes, lines, lights, and rulers. Mika Rottenberg’s 2015 video NoNoseKnows (50 Kilos Variant) brings the New York–based artist’s penchant for the visceral and the absurd to bear on China’s cultured pearl industry. Henry Taylor’s family portrait i’m yours (2015), a powerful and memorable contribution to one of art’s oldest genres, presents a trio of figures characterized by determination and resolve.

New Acquisitions also features works by Sadie Benning, Sophie CalleJimmy DeSana, Shannon Ebner, Jenny HolzerRee Morton, William Pope.LKeith Sonnier, and Haegue Yang, among others.