Entering the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) on Boston's waterfront, visitors are greeted by an enormous mural called The Divine Gas by Japanese artist Chiho Aoshima, a piece that manages to set the tone for the entire museum. Central to the painting is a young Anime-style girl depicted with many contrasting and thought provoking elements, while remaining whimsical, complex and aesthetically captivating. Qualities like this are part of what make the ICA a staple among Boston's gallery of museums. The ICA has actually been around for a while, founded in 1936 as the Boston Museum of Modern Art, and has introduced to the U.S. such artists as Georges Braque and Edvard Munch, best known for his painting The Scream. It has also showcased Andy Warhol, considered, by some, the king of pop art.
For such an influential and venerable institution, the ICA doesn't seem to attract as much attention as some other Boston landmarks, but everything from the architecture of the building itself to the art inside makes it worth a visit. The exhibits are strange, stunning, thought provoking, and sometimes disturbing; one installation has visitors enter a small, dark, round room to watch a video taken by an artist who had a camera inserted into her body.
Many exhibits explore film as an art medium; one exhibit features several Israeli and Pakistani teenagers, all strangers, dancing over an eight-hour period. At first the teens are awkward and stiff, but over time, they start to laugh, goof off, and grow exhausted together. By the end, they are leaning on each other with comradery.
- Tuesday and Wednesday: 10am to 5pm
- Thursday and Friday: 10am to 9pm
- Saturday and Sunday: 10am to 5pm
- Closed Mondays
- General admission: $15
- Seniors: $13
- Students: $10
- Members, youth 17 and under: Free
- Free on Thursday nights from 5pm to 9pm
- Metro Stop:
- South Station on the Red, Silver and Commuter rails; taking the subway is recommended to avoid driving and paying for parking.
- Location: 100 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA
- Phone: 617-478-3100
- Website: www.icaboston.org