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New installation of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) Collection highlights contemporary photography

Works by Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin, Rineke Dijkstra and Catherine Opie explore concepts of portraiture in photography and other mediums

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) unveils the seventh installation of its permanent collection galleries, featuring the museum’s new acquisitions as well as works on extended loan to the ICA. Since its establishment in 2006, the ICA Collection has developed a particular strength in the area of photography, a reflection of the museum’s strong history of exhibitions by leading artists in this field. The new collection exhibition places particular focus on portrait-related imagery, as seen in work by Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Nan Goldin, Rineke Dijkstra, Roe Ethridge, and Lorna Simpson, as well as new acquisitions of work by Catherine Opie, Anne Collier, and Ray Navarro with Zoe Leonard. The exhibition is organized by ICA Senior Curator Jenelle Porter, and will be on view at the ICA from March 21, 2012, through March 2013.

Traditionally, portraits document people, often paying tribute to or memorializing them. Portraits might convey information about the subjects’ personalities or social standing through pose, jewelry, clothing, and surroundings. Portraits also image mood, with the figure often looking directly at the artist, and by extension, the viewer. The artworks included in this collection exhibition move this most traditional of genres in unexpected directions: the elevation of the everyday, the documenting of subcultures, and the depiction of places and events. They expand the tradition of portraiture not only through conceptual modes, but also through medium, taking the notion of the portrait past painting and photography to include a video (Rachel Perry Welty’s Karaoke Wrong Number), a bronze sculpture (Anne Chu’s El Primo II), an open book (Anne Collier’s Open Book #3) favorite records (Dave Muller’s Tristin’s Top 20), or even a verdant landscape (Catherine Opie’s photograph of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival).

Separate from the works exploring the portrait genre, the new installation also features a selection of sculpture including Cornelia Parker’s Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson), Tara Donovan’s Untitled (Pins), and a small-scale marble footstool by Jenny Holzer, SELECTIONS FROM SURVIVAL: PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT.

About the ICA
An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 75 years. Like its iconic building on Boston’s waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am – 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am – 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm. Admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors and students, and free for members and children 17 and under. ICA Free Admission for Youth is sponsored by State Street Foundation. Free admission on ICA Free Thursday Nights, 5 – 9 pm. Free admission for families (2 adults + children 12 and under) on last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our Web site at

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