Last weekend I had an amazing weekend. I won’t go into details, it was sickeningly adorable, but suffice to say it was a great weekend. Thanks to my roommate I had two tickets to the ICA Boston that he got through work and gave to me and I finally found time to check it out again.
If you’re at all familiar with the blog, or with me, you’ll know I’m not usually impressed with the ICA. (You can read my rant about most museums here.) The building is architecturally fascinating, but the space usage leaves much to be desired. When you add in the super hipster and uppity staff (seriously, I get they love their jobs and more power to them, but you can love your job and interests without being obnoxious) and the over-staffing of the exhibits and the overpriced everything in their gift shop (really, who charges $2+ for postcards – no other museum I’ve ever been to). I even had a membership at one point, but after a couple of bad visits I cancelled it and I’m still glad I did, but this time I had a surprisingly pleasant visit.
It could’ve been who I was with, but I also REALLY enjoyed the exhibition. There’s nothing great than discovering an artist new to you and falling in love with some of their pieces. In this case it was Jim Hodges, a contemporary of Felix Gonzalez-Torres who you might remember from my last visit to the ICA in May of 2012.
What I found most beautiful about Hodges pieces were the various ways he used the same materials. By far my favorites were the mirror pieces. There was one I didn’t take a photo of but was made of plain mirror like the one to the left (On Earth, 1998), gray mirror and black mirror. And the layout made it look like a galaxy or a planet. My museum visiting partner for the day didn’t really like any of those pieces and called them flat disco-balls! For shame! Especially when the museum compared them to disco balls in a better light:
He compares these works to disco balls, which similarly elicit feelings of euphoria, physical dislocation, and fractured reality.
There were other pieces that incorporated mirrors I liked as well, but I wasn’t as enamored with them as I was with this piece. There was an amazing series of canvases, titled and still this (2005-2008), covered in gold leaf (24 and 23.8 karat – VERY specific) that you walked into and they formed around you, it was a stunning experience and the intricacies of the leafing were so beautiful (Google image search link).
The final piece that was a completely different experience was the dark gate, right. The experience was definitely marred by the neurotic docent/guard who did not SHUT UP the entire time we were in the exhibit. This is one of those exhibits where I would love to have had a few minutes to myself to just stand and contemplate it in absolute silence, or just quiet murmuring, but instead the guy was FREAKING out about numbers and constantly asking how many people are there and we can only allow four people inside. I get it’s all for safety and what not, but seriously come up with a better system or get someone less neurotic!
You experience it two ways, the first is you walk around the outside of the wooden box in a black room and you can look into the box (perspective of the picture) and the second is that you go into the box and look into the pitch dark room. When you’re inside the box the spikes almost look like an iris and it’s definitely a bit unnerving. It was also interesting to see how people reacted on either side, both times there was someone who was waving and talking to someone on the other side and that was interesting. I liked the brief moments of silence I got on both sides to really absorb the pitch-blackness of the exhibit.
Overall, I’m glad I went to the museum and found this exhibit, but once again my visit was marred by the ridiculous over-staffing of the ICA. (I didn’t even go into the radios constantly blaring throughout the exhibit on the staffers.) I really need to make some headway on my 30×30 MFA list item, so hopefully expect a recap of an MFA visit next month!