Shepard Fairey at the ICA

The ICA’s new soloist is Shepard Fairey, who did the famous Obama “Hope” print.I was lucky to take some photos of Fairey’s posters in Harvard Square a couple months ago. At the time, I had no idea it was Shepard Fairey, because they were like propaganda-style posters plastered on a cork construction wall, and thought it was some local artist. (More pictures here)


Despite a poor financial state, the ICA has had a lot of great “timely” soloists this past year- Kapoor, Donavan… The biggest problem about the ICA is not its somewhat remote location (hey, think of Mass Moca!) but that it doesn’t offer much for your money. The actual gallery space is very small, despite the fact that the museum is an independent building. The theater takes up two floors and should be utilized more, but unless it comes up with some more design space, people aren’t going to go there to spend 30 minutes.

If some serious interior re-design is impossible, may I suggest that the cafe be upgraded? The Neue Gallerie, for instance, is a popular destination because of its famous Cafe Sabarsky.


4 responses to “Shepard Fairey at the ICA

  1. I think you’re being too defensive and you should honor other people’s opinions, even if they don’t agree with yours. Obviously, I am not in the museum industry but I’ve been to quite a few museums around the world and am entitled to an opinion. Besides, anyone who read “poor financial state” would think of the poor economy and not the museum’s finances unless it were someone feeling sensitive about it.

  2. I know that journalistic standards are somewhat relaxed on blogs, but you should probably not report rumors as facts (and considering the information came last year from a “friend of a friend,” I’m being charitable in the use of the term “rumor”). As far as I know — and more important, as far as you know — the ICA is doing okay.

    As I wrote earlier, small is a matter of opinion. It should be noted, however, that the galleries are large enough to host two significant shows at the same time (for example, Anish Kapoor and Street Level) as well as a small individual show (Momentum) and a fair sampling of the new permanent collection. I agree that the space could be better utilized — we could be showing temporary work in the Founder’s Gallery, for example, and there’s definitely room to have art in surprising places throughout the building.) But there’s enough there (at least when all the galleries are open) to make the visit a worthwhile experience — particularly if combined with an event at the theater.

    By the way, I just checked out the Shepard Fairey show-in-development, and it’s going to be pretty amazing.

  3. I heard the financial thing last year from a friend of a friend who was doing some kind of work with the ICA, though I don’t know the details. I think the ICA’s exhibition space is “small” what with the potential exhibition space it had in the building and the fact that it is in Boston, not some small gallery in a mid-sized town, and should live up to that.

  4. Just wondering where you got the information that the ICA is in “poor financial state” — can’t seem to find anything online about it. Also, I guess that size is a matter of opinion, but I think it’s a stretch to call 17,000 sq. ft. of space “small.” In any event, the ICA’s own surveys suggest that most people disagree with the notion that it does not “offer much for your money,” though, of course, value is also a matter of opinion.

    I do agree about the cafe, though the problem is really not the interior design but the hit-and-miss quality of the food…

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