ICA Black Mountain School

Before heading to the MFA to get annoyed by the crowds at the Dutch show last weekend, Slava & I bicycled over to Boston’s urban design failure of a waterfront to see the Institute of Contemporary Arts’ show about North Carolina’s Black Mountain School.

The galleries were well-attended, but it wasn’t the insanity of our later visit to the MFA.  The crowd was more predictably arty and museum-ey, and the wall text was surprisingly informative and not patronizing; thought-provoking, even! (take THAT, MFA!).

So many big names associated with Black Mountain School and so much great art! We had a lovely time looking through everything, and much of it was quite inspiring. The older I get, the more I like textile work, but I’m still not sold on dance, not even Merce Cunningham.

IMG_5116I love these necklaces by Anni Albers.  I swear I’ve seen this one before, the one with the washers.IMG_5118Slava is a Willem de Kooning fan, so he was excited to see a bunch of his work.  I found a Franz Kline I like – another acquired taste.

I had never seen Rauschenberg’s photographs, and liked this one quite a bit:

Untitled-self-portrait-Black-Mountain-1024x591.jpgWe walked down the glass hallway – what glass towered monstrosity will soon take the place of ye olde Anthony’s Pier 4 and ruin the view?


We rounded the corner, expecting to just skip the exhibit of the ICA’s embarrassing permanent collection, and I was happily surprised to walk into the wonderous installation The Birthday Party, named (like the band) after Pinter’s play.  It’s hilarious and creepy (cute stuffed toys with human teeth!), like an arty teenager’s bedroom or a more demented version of Pee Wee’s Playhouse.  I loved it, Slava did not.

We were grateful we’d ridden bikes, not that we would have chosen another method of transportation, but the Silver Line stop is kind of far, and parking around there is an Albtraum.  It is depressing going down to that neighborhood.  The city had a nearly blank slate with which to work, and they’re just selling the land to the highest bidder. There’s no aesthetic thought going into the layout or the architecture, and the result is a huge bummer.  At least the window wall in the ICA looks out over the water…

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