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Visiting The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)/Boston

Updated on September 18, 2015

Walking from Government Center

Boston is a beautiful city at any time of the year, but it is clear that during the autumn-winter season when temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or less, people tend to stay indoors for obvious reasons, and when they go outside is covered by several layers of dark colored clothing. Whether there is snow or not the city in any way acquire during these periods a calm, quiet and sometimes melancholic environment.

But all that changes radically in summer!. Temperature increases up to above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and everything becomes noise, color and movement. The streets are much more lively than ever and generally look as if the mood of everybody improved dramatically. During the weekends the parks and public squares and shopping centers, entertainment centers, restaurants, etc., are crowded with people and everywhere you can see children running and even swimming in some public fountains.

Besides that enough reason to go for a walk through the streets of Boston, a summer program sponsored by Highland Street Foundation invited to attend for free every Friday at five different cultural and / or entertainment sites every time. Last Friday between the options open to visit was the Institute of Contemporary Art Museum

Wagons of T (short for MBTA as usually is called the public transportation system in Boston) have had ads for several months on the various exhibits at the ICA with a picture very suggestive of the work of Josiah McElheny. I also had the opportunity to visit the port of Boston on the occasion of the exhibition of the tall ships that came to visit from all over the world for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. This time I walked near the ICA so I stuck with the intention to visit it later.

So the desire to visit the ICA and the option to do it for free was the perfect excuse to take a walk in the afternoon on Friday after a week of strenuous activities.

Free Fun Fridays

Various points along the route on the map

  1. Cambridge St & New Sudbury St
  2. Government Center
  3. Hanover St
  4. Hanover St & Blackstone St
  5. Blackstone St & North St
  6. North St & Clinton St
  7. Faneuil Hall - Quincey Market
  8. John F Fitzgerald Surface Road
  9. JFK Rd & State St
  10. State St & Atlantic Ave
  11. Atlantic Ave & Milk St
  12. Atlantic Ave & E India Row
  13. Atlantic Ave & High St (Boston Harbor Hotel)
  14. Rowes Wharf
  15. Northern Ave Bridge at Rowes Wharf
  16. Northern Ave bridge at South Boston
  17. Northern Ave close to ICA
  18. ICA/Boston
  19. Northern Ave
  20. Northern Ave & Sleeper St
  21. Sleeper St & Seaport Blvd (Barking Crab)
  22. Seaport Blvd & Atlantic Ave
  23. Atlantic Ave & Congress St
  24. Atlantic Ave & Summer St (South Station)

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Government Center

It's the location of Boston City Hall at Downtown

Government Center, Downtown, Boston MA

Government Center, Downtown, Boston MA
Government Center, Downtown, Boston MA

Since I work in the West End, I walked along Cambridge St and reaching New Sudbury St I took the first images of this route (# 1 on map) and decided to start the tour at Government Center (# 2) which is the place where the Boston City Hall is located, and some courts of Suffolk County and the green line T station: Government Center. This Friday I went there, there was as usual in summer several tents with diverse objects for sale, as well as show and music, but did not know the topic or the reason for the event.

Government Center

Government Center
Government Center

Haymarket square

Haymarket square
Haymarket square

Cambridge Street becomes State Street where I could have gone to Atlantic Ave toward South Boston, however I decided to deviate from this route to go to Haymarket on Hanover Street (# 3) in the Downtown because that market is placed only on Friday and Saturday and I was passing through. Prices here can be sometimes half or even up to a quarter of what is found in the supermarket of the same quality in fruits and vegetables.

After buying bananas, oranges and avocados and put them in my bagpack, continue my walk turning up at the corner of Blackstone (# 4) then at corner of North St (# 5) and then to a small stretch up to Clinton St (# 6) to cross to the square of Faneuil Hall and Quincey Market (# 7). This square is particularly colorful, lively and cheerful in the summer, the colors are everywhere, music, people in light clothing, tourists, moms with strollers, bustling shops, abundant vegetation and damp heat. (I put the photographs followed by a few seconds of video to give the impression to be making the trip, the move is magic, Don't you think so? Do you remember the pictures of Harry Potter?).

S Market St

S Market St
S Market St

S Market St

S Market St
S Market St

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Walking through S Market St I arrived at John F Fitzgerald Surface Road (# 8) a road that is part of the Big Dig (Central Artery/Tunnel Project). I walked on this road to State St (# 9) which as I said is the continuation of Cambridge St coming from West End.

At State St I crossed to Atlantic Ave (# 10) (which run parallel the waterfront) and here from the Financial District I kept walking on Atlantic Ave passing by the Custom House Tower (now the Marriott's Custom House Hotel) and Rings Fountain at the corner of Atlantic Ave & Milk St (# 11), which is known for its 64 nozzles that shoot jets of water into the air creating various whimsical figures and where I caught some kids cooling off in this hot afternoon in these parks oh Wharf district. At that point I captured the image of a vehicle of Ducktour, an amphibian that makes a land tour attractions of the city and then goes to take a dip into the water of the Charles River to a point near the Museum of Science.

Atlantic Ave

Atlantic Ave
Atlantic Ave

Custom Tower

Custom Tower
Custom Tower

Atlantic Ave & Milk St

Atlantic Ave & Milk St
Atlantic Ave & Milk St

Atlantic Ave & Milk St... and Ducktour!

Atlantic Ave & Milk St... and Ducktour!
Atlantic Ave & Milk St... and Ducktour!

Rings Fountain at Atlantic Ave

Rings Fountain at Atlantic Ave
Rings Fountain at Atlantic Ave

Rings Fountain at Atlantic Ave

Rings Fountain at Atlantic Ave
Rings Fountain at Atlantic Ave

Atlantic Ave & High St

Atlantic Ave & High St
Atlantic Ave & High St

At the corner of Atlantic Ave & High St (# 13) can be seen on the west side a beautiful set of skyscrapers and the east side the Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf (# 14) and the port of Boston. Through the great arch formed amid the whole hotel I passed to the port area, the marine, restaurant and the water terminal towards Northern Avenue Bridge (# 15), a rare double truss bridge spanning over the Fort Point Channel from downtown to the coastline of South Boston (# 16), where the first one is found is the John Joseph Moakey United States Courthouse, and then about three more blocks of the same Northern Ave keep the ICA/Boston (# 17, # 18).

Boston Harbor Hotel exterior at Rowes Wharf

Boston Harbor Hotel exterior at Rowes Wharf
Boston Harbor Hotel exterior at Rowes Wharf

Boston Harbor Hotel's Arch

Boston Harbor Hotel's Arch
Boston Harbor Hotel's Arch

Boston Harbor Hotel's Arch

Boston Harbor Hotel's Arch
Boston Harbor Hotel's Arch

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Water transportation terminal at Rowes Wharf

Water transportation terminal at Rowes Wharf
Water transportation terminal at Rowes Wharf

Restaurant at Rowes Wharf

Restaurant at Rowes Wharf
Restaurant at Rowes Wharf

Boston Harbor Hotel view from marina

Boston Harbor Hotel view from marina
Boston Harbor Hotel view from marina

Fort Point Channel

Fort Point Channel
Fort Point Channel

Northern Ave bridge

Northern Ave bridge
Northern Ave bridge

Northern Ave bridge

Northern Ave bridge
Northern Ave bridge

John Joseph Moakey United States Courthouse

John Joseph Moakey United States Courthouse
John Joseph Moakey United States Courthouse

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ICA Museum

ICA Museum
ICA Museum

ICA is on the shoreline of the South Harbor Trail. Beside the pleasant house of Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant. The entrance to the building has a large lobby with access to the box office, the store and a restaurant, the area of the elevators that are very wide and scenic features a sculpture what I did not understand but I liked it. Although the ICA has 4 floors, the latter is what serves as a museum and has access to the public.

South Harbor Trail

South Harbor Trail
South Harbor Trail

ICA Museum and Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant

ICA Museum and Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant
ICA Museum and Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant

Inside ICA, elevators area

Inside ICA, elevators area
Inside ICA, elevators area
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Josiah McElheny Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - The Theory of Tears, 1995Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Collection of Glass Concerning the Search for Infinity, 1998-2011Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Czech Modernism Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely, 2005Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Scale Model for a Totally Reflective Landscape (Industry), 2007Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - The Center Is Everywhere, 2012
Josiah McElheny Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah McElheny Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - The Theory of Tears, 1995
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - The Theory of Tears, 1995
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Collection of Glass Concerning the Search for Infinity, 1998-2011
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Collection of Glass Concerning the Search for Infinity, 1998-2011
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Czech Modernism Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely, 2005
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Czech Modernism Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely, 2005
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Scale Model for a Totally Reflective Landscape (Industry), 2007
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Scale Model for a Totally Reflective Landscape (Industry), 2007
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite"
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - The Center Is Everywhere, 2012
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - The Center Is Everywhere, 2012

The first exhbición I visited was that of Josiah McElheny "Some Pictures of the Infinite". A set of textures inducing lines and shapes to reflect on the different aspects of infinity its representation, interpretation and the roles that can mean in our thinking, way of organizing and living in general.

Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Island Universe, 2008

Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Island Universe, 2008
Josiah Mcelheny - Exhibition "Some Pictures of the Infinite" - Island Universe, 2008

When I was writing this lens I remembered some of the associations that appeared particularly in "Island Universe" in which bodies looking like galaxies may seem celestial bodies but also much more abstract things like ideas, some big some small, some with branches and others end soon, some that coalesce and other solitary but overall always with the possibility of expanding in all dimensions. It was very interesting visiting this exhibition.

View of Boston Bay and Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant from 4th floor of ICA Museum

View of Boston Bay and Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant from 4th floor of ICA Museum
View of Boston Bay and Anthony's Pier 4 restaurant from 4th floor of ICA Museum

... and then suddenly out of the room where they exhibited "Island Universe", you pass to a grand hallway with the outer wall made of glass from floor to ceiling as well as great part of the building, that offer a great view of Boston Harbor.

The previous aisle lead to a room where Doris Salcedo exhibited some of her interesting works. Common objects converted into abstract ideas with different interpretations such as representing the presence of someone who is not physically there but who has used these objects. Then works that adopt geometric forms from relatively simple and common objects like pieces of coal (Cornelia Parker) or pins (Tara Donovan).

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Doris SalcedoDoris Salcedo exhibitionDoris Salcedo exhibitionDoris Salcedo exhibitionDoris Salcedo exhibitionCornelia Parker - Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson)Tara Donovan - Untitled (Pins)
Doris Salcedo
Doris Salcedo
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Doris Salcedo exhibition
Cornelia Parker - Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson)
Cornelia Parker - Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson)
Tara Donovan - Untitled (Pins)
Tara Donovan - Untitled (Pins)

Os Gemeos exhibition

Click thumbnail to view full-size

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Also on display was the work of graffiti brazilian artists Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, identical twins called "Os Gemeos" (The Twins in portuguese), a series of surreal figures, sometimes challenging but very attractive especially for the eyes and for the interpretation. The museum also features the works of many other artists exhibiting their works permanently.

At the end of my visit I walked off the fourth floor to the attractive scenic elevator that allows to see the Boston Harbor from inside.

Leaving the ICA I took again for Northern Ave (# 19) to Sleeper St (# 20), where I turned to reach through Seaport Blvd passing in fronto of "Barking Crab" (# 21) a restaurant that served as location for the movie "The Game Plan" starring Dwayne Johnson and Kyra Sedgwick and where you can eat various seafood specialties including of course the famous "clam chowder". By Seaport Blvd toward the west I came back to Atlantic Ave (# 22) and then took it south to the Congress St (# 23) where I met the now famous Federal Reserve Square building housing the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Finally in front of this building on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Summer St, South Station where leave trains and buses to various parts of the country as well as the T silver line that goes to Boston's Logan Airport or the red line that eventually led me to my house (# 24). I hope you enjoyed the ride. Goodbye!

The Barking Crab restaurant

The Barking Crab restaurant
The Barking Crab restaurant

Barking Crab - The Game Plan location

Seaport Blvd

Seaport Blvd
Seaport Blvd

Seaport Blvd

Seaport Blvd
Seaport Blvd

Seaport Blvd & Atlantic Ave

Seaport Blvd & Atlantic Ave
Seaport Blvd & Atlantic Ave

Atlantic Ave

Atlantic Ave
Atlantic Ave

Atlantic Ave & Congres St

Atlantic Ave & Congres St
Atlantic Ave & Congres St

Federal Reserve Plaza

Federal Reserve Plaza
Federal Reserve Plaza

Federal Reserve Plaza

Federal Reserve Plaza
Federal Reserve Plaza

South Station

South Station
South Station

South Station (MBTA)

South Station (MBTA)
South Station (MBTA)

Please leave your comments about Boston, ICA, this lens... - ...or just say hello!

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    • TommyPotter profile image
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      TommyPotter 5 years ago

      @getmoreinfo: Thank you very much for your visit!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I liked reading about The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)/Boston. Very nice.