Vinyl Record Exhibit at the ICA, Boston

I’m almost embarrassed to say that in all the years I’ve lived in Boston, I’ve never once been to the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), until now that is.  When I heard about the Contemporary Art and Vinyl Exhibition, I had to go, and so my daughter and I headed out there late in the afternoon on a Sunday.  And it truly was a sun day – close to 100 degrees.  We arrived by 4:00, only to find out the museum closes at 5:00.  I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough time to see the exhibit, but as it turned out, we had plenty.

The record exhibit featured album sculptures, black and white photographs of folks from the 50’s grooving to records, sound exhibits and short films of people doing really strange things with turntables and records.  One of the most interesting exhibits was a listening installation of samples from Jack Goldstein’s Suite of Sound Effects, which included a tornado, a lost ocean liner, two wrestling cats and three felled trees.  The nine multi-colored original vinyl records were displayed alongside the listening station.

The museum is a boxy modern building which juts out into the Boston Harbor.  It reminds me very much of the Clinton Presidential Museum and Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. Upon entering, there is a large glass elevator with views of the harbor.   The exhibits are mostly on the 4th floor, with several lounging areas overlooking the harbor.  Upon approach, one sloped room equipped with computers and pillows gives the effect of walking into the harbor.

One of the most peculiar aspects of the ICA is the similarity of its logo to that of the IGA supermarket chain.


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