Making Sense of Contemporary Art: Words and Pictures
Making Sense of Contemporary Art is the ICA’s ongoing series of introductions to the art of our times. In this all new second season, we will look at how the work of many artists has evolved, not from painting and sculpture primarily, but from filmmaking, performance, and publishing. Contemporary art institutions are a home for artistic experiments that have been exiled from the movie theater, the television, the concert hall, the nightclub, the magazine and the book. These classes offer a new, broader set of perspectives on contemporary art. We will make the familiar seem strange, and the strange, familiar.
Contemporary art can be the most understandable era in art history. That is because it has to do with sharing an art experience, here and now, and connecting it to the world we inhabit. Making sense of contemporary art is not so much about looking at art, but looking at the world through art. In these classes, we’ll learn to see our world differently, and maybe uncover a new part of ourselves along the way.
Making Sense of Contemporary Art is led by ICA Director Dominic A. Willsdon. Please join us for one, two or all three of the sessions. Each class is designed to make sense by itself.
Each of the classes will cover aspects of the ICA’s fall exhibitions:
Paul Chan: Breathers
Morgan Bassichis: More Little Ditties
Moving Images – September 27, 2023
Cinema and television have long been the most wide-reaching forms of storytelling in our society. Nothing else comes close. Yet beyond the productions of the movie and TV industry, artists have experimented with moving images in alternative ways, often these are personal, informal, poetic, skeptical ways. This class looks at how and why film, video and animation are so much part of contemporary art.
Live Art – October 25, 2023
The field of live art or performance art embraces many different modes of art practice. There are living sculptures and action paintings, and many more works of performance art (as distinct from the performing arts) that draw on opera and dance, cabaret and club culture, popular music and stand-up comedy. This class looks at the rise and recognition of performance art since 2000.
Words and Pictures – November 28, 2023
Many contemporary artworks are texts, or texts with images, or images of texts, or texts about images. Some of these artworks exist in multiple copies and circulate in the form of postcards, posters, zines, books, pamphlets, emails, and newspapers. This class looks at how the forms and strategies of publishing have been adopted by contemporary artists.
This lecture series is made possible in part by kind support from the Robert Lehman Foundation.