Stop 2 on my self-guided tour of local museums: ICA
(Institute of Contemporary Art). More thoughts on the art, design, and the role of a museum today.
The first thing that became obvious as I walked through the galleries, was that contemporary art, is made ("designed") for the space and context of a gallery exhibit. In contrast to much of the work seen in the MFA
, I had a hard time imagining the workworkworkworkwork
exhibit of Charles LeDray anywhere but in this type of setting. This was also true of much of the work presented from the permanent collection. Finally, the detailed illustrations of Dr. Lakra
opened up another thought into the highly mobile world of body art. Well worth the trip.
My favorite spot in the ICA is the meditative glass hall way in the Founders Gallery
. I think it effectively does what it was designed to do: create a sense of calm and reflection. On the other hand, as cool as it may look, the Poss Family Mediatheque seems to deter people from using that space. Unfortunately, it is usually empty and reminds me more of a post I'd find on Unhappy Hipsters
. Please see photo
The ICA store
is a great collection of contemporary designed objects with neat bios about the design or designer and felt like a design museum and very touch friendly. [It also made me realize that one of my "museum" visits should be to a chain store like Target or IKEA.]
The museum engages with the community through the Play Date
program and the Art Lab. The Thursday evening programs also create new ways to engage with the public. I recently attended the AIGA
end of summer event and was pleased to find the back terrace still bustling at 9pm.
This is a slight tangent but: in thinking about that fine line between art and design...actually, design being presented as art, I was reminded of a recent experience in New York where I saw the same chair in my hotel room that I saw in the MoMa the next day. Not just any chair but a red Eero Saarinen Womb Chair and Ottoman
. The MoMa exhibit had a lovely description about why Saarinen had designed it for Florence Knoll
but it was my experience of sitting in the chair the day before that made me truly resonate with the design. It's great that MoMa has noted this piece as an important part of visual history, but with design, you miss out on most of the story without the critical tactile aspects of it.
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