To launch the ICA’s annual commission series, Provocations, artist Rashid Johnson (b. 1977) will create a new, large-scale work that responds to the soaring, light-filled expanse of the ICA’s top-floor exhibition space, the True Farr Luck Gallery.
Known for conceptual multimedia work that re-envisions African American intellectual and cultural history, Johnson’s site-specific installation for the ICA will center on a pyramid-like tower. Continuing motifs from recent projects, Johnson will fill a custom-built steel structure with a selection of plants, artifacts, shea-butter sculptures, books, textiles, and video. The work will encourage both exploration and contemplation—visitors will be able to walk through the piece, immersing themselves in details or lingering within seating areas designed as part of the work. Zones within the sculpture will be activated by the ICA through a regular series of intimate, live performances in which musicians, poets, and others will respond to Johnson’s work.
The Provocations series takes its name from Steven Holl’s design intention for the ICA’s top-floor gallery space, which he calls “a provocation for artists to engage.” The True Farr Luck Gallery features a sculptural ceiling, cathedral-like acoustics, and ample natural light that filters through opaque glass.
Curated by ICA Chief Curator Stephanie Smith.