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Charline von Heyl presents a survey of work by this compelling and important artist. Known for her vibrant, insistent, enigmatic paintings and works on paper, von Heyl demonstrates that painting is still intensely relevant in contemporary art.

Von Heyl’s canvases are not abstractions of objects or figures; instead, she is interested in inventing a new image that has not yet been seen and that “stands for itself as a fact.” With their intentional confusion of foreground and background, their dynamic energy, and their contradictions and reversals, these paintings require (and desire) careful looking, but refuse to yield to the impulse to name, identify, or define. This is the artist’s first U.S. museum survey.

Dana Schutz is among the foremost painters of her generation and is part of a group of artists leading a revival of painting today.


Dana Schutz is a concise exhibition of the artist’s recent work. One of the most prominent painters of her generation, the New York–based Schutz (b. 1976, Livonia, Michigan) is known for her distinctive visual style characterized by vibrant color and tactile brushwork. Her large-scale paintings capture imaginary stories, hypothetical situations, and impossible physical feats, such as swimming while smoking and crying. Schutz’s paintings combine abstraction and figuration with expressive imagination, fragmented bodies, banal objects, and quotidian scenes to create oddly compelling and intriguing pictures.

Over the last decade, she has honed her approach to painting, creating tightly structured scenarios and compressed interiors. Her works capture subjects who seem to be actively managing, even fighting, the limitations of their depicted environments—boundaries set by the canvases’ actual borders. Many of her paintings, such as Getting Dressed All at Once (2012) and Shaving (2010), depict distorted bodies, revealing a nuanced exploration of the female body engaged in life’s everyday rituals.

Drawing on the legacies of both figurative and abstract painting, with nods to touchstone figures such as George Grosz and Max Beckmann, Schutz’s unique voice in painting exemplifies the expansive possibilities of the medium today. In her work, the artist explores what can occur within parameters of space and time and how finite zones can unfold into curious and evocative narratives.

Over the course of her twenty-year career, Dana Schutz’s work has been the subject of multiple museum exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including most recently a survey at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Canada, and an exhibition of new works at the Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, Germany. This year she was included in the Whitney Biennial, where one of her paintings ignited a vigorous debate around the role of art, artists, and institutions in the representation of race, a conversation that resonates with larger issues in our current political and cultural landscape. The ICA believes that art has the potential to illuminate aspects of our humanity, expose fault lines in the culture, engage experiences both personal and universal, and inspire inquiry and understanding. We invite you to explore Dana Schutz in the galleries and to learn more about the artist’s work and process.

Read a statement on Dana Schutz by Director Jill Medvedow

The ICA’s biennial showcase of exceptional Boston-area artists.

The James and Audrey Foster Prize is key to the ICA’s efforts to nurture and recognize Boston-area artists of exceptional promise. First established in 1999, the James and Audrey Foster Prize (formerly the ICA Artist Prize) expanded its format when the museum opened its new facility in 2006. James and Audrey Foster, passionate collectors and supporters of contemporary art, endowed the prize, ensuring the ICA’s ability to sustain and grow the program for years to come. 

The 2017 prize and exhibition will feature the work of Sonia Almeida, Jennifer Bornstein, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, and Lucy Kim—artists working at a national and international level whose work has received limited exposure here in Boston. In media including painting, sculpture, printmaking, film, and video, and exploring a range of themes and subjects, each of the artists engage the human body with a tactile approach to its cultural, psychological, and historical resonances. Each of the artists will present a major work, or group of works, on view for the first time in Boston. 

Central to the exhibition, this iteration of the James and Audrey Foster Prize features a new program, The Foster Talks, enabling audiences to engage more deeply in the work and practice of the Prize winners. Over the course of the exhibition, each artist will present their work and invite an important writer, artist, performer, researcher, or other cultural producer who has influenced their artwork, or whose own work resonates with the artist’s. The conversations will be followed by a free reception, open to the public. The Foster Talks will connect questions around contemporary art to a broad range of cultural, intellectual, and political issues, creating relationships between art and different fields. 

“There is a definite poetry and magic to Mr. Farmer’s work.” – New York Times

“Farmer’s dizzying display is more than a bit marvelous…” – Boston Globe


Geoffrey Farmer (b. 1967, Vancouver) is best known for his installations and large-scale, sculptural photo collages. This immersive survey of the artist’s recent major “paper works” presents room-sized installations composed of hundreds of small sculptures made of cutout photographs, fabric, and various supports. In these recent works, processions of figures assembled from fragments of book and magazine photography and illustration manifest the artist’s interest in the cross-pollination of historical and vernacular imagery. Each spectacular composition begins to chart the historical contours of our image-saturated contemporary culture, and suggest the recurring cultural themes and formal patterns. Farmer uses movement, sound, animation, puppet characters, and a panoply of highly choreographed bodies and characters to investigate world history from the different angles of its photographic and sculptural accounts.

A sentimental portrayal of friendship, love, and loss and one of the best-loved works in the ICA’s permanent collection, Ragnar Kjartansson’s (b. 1976, Reykjavik, Iceland) masterwork The Visitors (2012) is a monumental nine-channel sound and moving-image installation of a performance staged at Rokeby Farm, a historic 43-room estate in upstate New York. Each of the individual audio/video channels features musicians—including Kristín Anna and Gyða Valtýsdóttir, founding sisters of the Icelandic band Mùm; Kjartan Sveinsson, former member of Sigur Rós; and Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kjartansson’s longtime collaborator and co-composer of the musical arrangement—playing instruments either alone or in groups, separately but simultaneously, occupying different rooms of the romantically dilapidated estate. The lyrics are taken from the poem “Feminine Ways,” written by Kjartansson’s former wife and fellow artist Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir. The title alludes to the 1981 album of the same name from Swedish pop band ABBA, the group’s last record to date, as divorce and internal strife ended their professional and personal relationships. 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.

Jazz meets visual art. See installations based on storied jazz venues and catch a series of live gallery performances.

Interdisciplinary artist Jason Moran (b. 1975, Houston) grounds his practice in musical composition and bridges the visual and performing arts through stagecraft. Moran draws from his personal experience to create dynamic compositions that challenge conventional forms. His experimental works embrace the intersection of objects and sound, pushing beyond the traditional staged concert or sculpture to amplify ways that both are inherently theatrical. This exhibition, the artist’s first museum show, features the full range of Moran’s work, from performance and collaborations with visual artists to his own sculptural works.

In all aspects of his work, Moran’s creative process is informed by one of the essential tenets of jazz: 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 his mixed-media set installations based on storied jazz venues from past eras, including STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 and STAGED: Three Deuces (both 2015), sculptural vignettes 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 several projected media works from his long-standing collaborations, or sets, with artists including Stan Douglas, Joan Jonas, and Glenn Ligon. In-gallery performances will also be orchestrated during the run of the show.

In-Gallery Performances:

All at 2 PM and 3:30 PM, 30 minutes each.
October 20: Terri Lyne Carrington
November 17: Ran Blake
December 15: George Garzone and Bob Gullotti (The Fringe)
January 19: Jason Moran’s NEC Slugs Ensemble

Please note: Jason Moran contains three large screens featuring video works by artists with whom Moran has collaborated, including Joan Jonas, Julie Mehretu, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker, and Carrie Mae Weems. Included in the program is Walker’s 13-minute film Six Miles from Springfield on the Franklin Road, 2009, which developed out of her research into the U.S. Department of War’s Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands. Established in 1865 to aid former slaves in the transition to freedom, the Freedmen’s Bureau kept detailed records of the brutal violence inflicted on African Americans during the Reconstruction era. In this work, Walker depicts one example of such violence as recounted in interviews with a family who was attacked and whose home was burned by a mob of angry white men. This film contains mature content and includes a 30-second depiction of sexual violence. For further information, please consult the video guide or speak with a trained Visitor Assistant in the gallery.

“The best art of the 21st century.” 

The Guardian

NOTE: Due to limited space and distancing protocols, visitors may need to wait in line to gain access. We recommend weekday visits to avoid wait times. The Visitors is included with museum admission. Get tickets

The first newly installed exhibition at the museum following months of closure during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ragnar Kjartansson’s (b. 1976, Reykjavik, Iceland) The Visitors is a truly beloved artwork in the ICA’s permanent collection, one that continually inspires and moves our community. A sentimental 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 43-room estate in upstate New York. Each of the individual audio and video channels features musicians playing instruments either alone or in 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, that it might offer comfort or healing, and knowing that our experience of it at this time will be different.

Educational materials

Intro wall text

Dear Visitors,  

This presentation of Ragnar Kjartansson’s (b. 1976, Reykjavik, Iceland) The Visitors is dedicated to you. The first newly installed exhibition at the museum following months of closure during the global COVID-19 pandemic, The Visitors is a truly beloved artwork in the ICA’s permanent collection, one that continually inspires and moves our community. A sentimental 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 43-room estate in upstate New York. Each of the individual audio and video channels features musicians playing instruments either alone or in groups, isolated yet in unison, occupying different rooms of the romantically dilapidated house. The musical composition coheres in the work’s installation, presenting an emotionally 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 complicated our relationships to one another. Now, we turn to this familiar work for its range of resonant themes, that it might offer comfort or healing, and knowing that our experience of it at this moment will be different.     

The ICA 

Featuring: Ragnar Kjartansson, Shahzad Ismaily, Davíð Þór Jónsson, Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, Kjartan Sveinsson, Þorvaldur Gröndal, Ólafur Jónsson, and Gyða Valtýsdóttir


Wu Tsang (born 1982 in Worcester, Massachusetts) is a cross-disciplinary artist who makes narrative and documentary film, live performance, and video installations. The immersive installation Of Whales forms part of her filmic trilogy inspired by Herman Melville’s classic 1851 American novel Moby Dick. Of Whales offers a poetic meditation on the perspective of a sperm whale, who plunges to the depths of the ocean for an hour at a time, surfacing occasionally for a breath of air. Created on the Unity gaming platform with XR (extended reality) technologies, the dynamically generated real-time video and sound installation immerses viewers in a lush, dreamy oceanscape for imagination, contemplation, and provocation. First presented at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, the work features a musical score composed by Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda, with Tapiwa Svosve, Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson, Miao Zhao, and Ahya Simone. The score blends horns, saxophone, clarinet, and contrabass, in a multi-layered soundscape that fills the entire gallery space.  At the ICA, Of Whales is presented in a gallery adjacent to the Boston Harbor, connecting audiences to the ICA’s waterside location and referencing New England’s whaling history.


This exhibition is organized by Ruth Erickson, Barbara Lee Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, and Tessa Bachi Haas, Curatorial Assistant.

With warmest thanks, we gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the ICA’s Avant Guardian Society in making this exhibition possible.

Production Credits
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin

Composers: Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda

Horns: Tapiwa Svosve, Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson, and Miao Zhao
Harp and vocals: Ahya Simone
Creative technologist: Ferdinand Dervieux

3D artist: Aby Batti
Sky Box: Daniel Balage
Lead VFX artist and additional modeling: Alexandra Radulescu
VFX artist: Camille Petit

Cosmos sequence directing and animation: Abel Kohen

Sound design: Nicolas Bredin
Music spatialization: Dave Rife and Gabe Liberti

Additional integration: Small Creative—Vincent Guttmann, Marine Le Borgne, and Florient Salabert

Produced by ATLAS V—Arnaud Colinart
Virtual production by ALBYON

With support from VIVE Arts; VIA Art Fund; Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; Antenna Space, Shanghai; Cabinet, London; and LUMA Foundation