This fall I had the pleasure of visiting the Institute of Contemporary Art. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, and when I arrived I certainly was not fully prepared for what I was about to experience, which was one of the best museum visits I have ever made. Now, I may be only sixteen, but I have had my fair share of visits to museums, and I know when something is truly unique.
The first exhibit I encountered was called "Dance with Camera." It consisted of film, video and still photography of different dances. Dance, in video and film, is a more regular occurrence, but still photography is not. Dance focuses on timing, and changing the timing of similar movements of the same dance, can completely change the mood the dance creates. In still photography, those motions are shown without any timing at all. The dances are permanently held in place and it makes you wonder what emotion you are "supposed" to get from the dance. It can be completely different experiencing a dance in person.would be overwhelming, but the elements seem to compliment each other even though each dance and soundtrack is vastly different. There is some nudity in this exhibit, and you may choose to accept that, or you can even ignore that part of the exhibit if you may feel offended by it. It is worthwhile to just ignore it and be able to appreciate the rest of the exhibits in the Institute.
To make your way to the next exhibit from "Dance with Camera," you must make your way up the ramp towards the second floor. But, it's not just an ordinary ramp. This ramp is the centerpiece of an ongoing exhibit at the Institute appropriately named the "Ramp Project." Each changing of the exhibits also includes a re-vamping of the ramp. As of now, its name is "Third Space" and is a collage of geometric patterns made of stiff lines and bold colors and worth taking the time to admire before continuing to the second floor.
After the video exhibit ("Video Art: Replay Part 1. Asking Not Telling"), you enter a white room filled with many paintings, drawings and "sculptures." It may seem unoriginal now, but upon closer examination, you'll realize that each of these works of art is created over top of a canvas layered with pages of a book, newspaper, comic, or music sheet. Some of these books you may know, and some you may not but you'll still discover that the tales depicted in those stories are enhanced by the artwork that uses each book as a base. Not just a theoretical base, but also a physical one. I'm sure you'll be amazed, just as I was by the astounding layers of meaning in each of these works of art.
As you (probably reluctantly) begin to exit this final exhibit, you'll see the information about it posted on the wall. This summary explains that everything in those two rooms you were just exploring was created by collaboration between a former art teacher in the Bronx named Tim Rollins and his former students, now called the K.O.S. (Kids of Survival). This group work has taken up a special place in my heart, and I really hope you'll take the chance to see if it can do the same for you.
I've come to realize that one of the hardest things to do is to explain visual art with mere words. You will never be able to truly do the piece justice. All I know is that there will never be enough positive adjectives in the dictionary for me to accurately describe my visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art, and especially The Tim Rollins and the K.O.S. exhibit.
To arrange a visit to the Institute of Contemporary Art contact the Programming Department of Art-Reach at 215-568-2115.
Mary is currently an Art-Reach Ambassador serving an Independent Study with Art-Reach via the ILP Program at Science Leadership Academy. All photos in this post were taken from the ICA website.