February 2019 Happenings at ICA

written by Amelia Dogan

The Institute of Contemporary Art in University City just opened up three new exhibits this February. The ICA is free for all (even for you non-STAMP friends and family!) and often has thought-provoking exhibits with modern art.

Tony Conrad in front of Yellow Movie 2/2/73(1973) and two Yellow Movie—35mm Format canvases (1973), in his retrospective exhibition, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, New York, December 1977. Photo: Kevin Noble. Yellow Movie 2/2/73. Courtesy The Estate of Tony Conrad and Greene Naftali, New York. Image courtesy Tony Conrad Archives Work© The Estate of Tony Conrad.

The first exhibit is a retrospective of Tony Conrad, a primarily video artist who was most active in the second half of the twentieth century and recently passed away. One of the pieces that made me think the most was “Yellow Room,” a video installation in a room with yellow stripes. Conrad also had structural sculptures like a series called “Invented Acoustical Tools.” These tools are combinations of unlikely tools and everyday objects that make sound. One interactive example is a swinging bench that a person can sit on and pluck the cello-like strings holding the bench up to create sounds.

Kevin Jerome Everson,IFO, 201716mm film projected, sound10 minutes

The next exhibit is “Mundane Futures,” the first chapter of Colored People Time (CPT). The series CPT is a trilogy of exhibits exploring blackness and the future throughout 2019. This first chapter looks at how the idea of colored people time bucks the tradition of punctuality being key to capitalism. Mundane Futures includes work from Afro-Futurist manifestos, Black Panther newspapers, and academic lectures. There are also video installations and modern art. Be on the lookout for a couple goodies though, including a novel from 1899 and a poster.

Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, 2017. Installation view, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. Photo: Alex Marks

The last exhibit is a bunch of work by Cecilia Vicuña, a Chilean artist. The first piece that caught my attention was a 3D collage that emphasized lines with different textures and rhythms. The other large instillation in the exhibit is comprised of yarn and sticks. Vicuña also draws from indigenous traditions like the quipu, an Inca way of keep track of numbers and harvests through knots. Vicuña, in addition to being an artist, is a poet and the wall has some of her poetry in Spanish and English.

Overall, the ICA has an exciting 2019 year ahead of it. The ICA’s season has started with a big bang, and I hope you check it out!

Amelia Dogan is a senior at Penn Charter and a member of the STAMP Teen Council.