When the Institute of Contemporary Art was preparing to display its Art in the Age of the Internet exhibit (Feb. 7-May 20), the museum wanted to highlight Boston’s technological history. And the exhibit’s connection to the city now runs even deeper, with a dozen cultural institutions from the Harvard Art Museums to Boston Cyberarts joining in with their own digitally leaning shows in the first half of 2018. Even with the partners’ programming, ICA curatorial associate Jeffrey De Blois believes it’s important for the message to not feel too vast.

“We think of this exhibition as an iteration, not something that was ever imagined to be comprehensive. There were of course so many more works that we could have included,” De Blois says. “Organizing the exhibition thematically allowed us to hone in on these different subjects that speak to the larger concerns of the show. In fact, each of the thematic sections could have been ambitious exhibitions unto themselves.”

Frank Benson’s Juliana (left), Cao Fei’s RMB City: A Second Life City Planning (right)

Curator Eva Respini and De Blois started working on the project by choosing a few anchor pieces that best reflected the exhibit’s title. That led to sections and themes built around those pieces, which showcase a variety of artists, mediums, times and places.

“Each of the sections asks specific questions that everyone can relate to, about how we are all producing and circulating images at a rapid pace, about how we view our bodies today, about how there is an increasing elision between life online and ‘real life,’ about surveillance, and about how we perform our identities online,” De Blois says. “I think what is most striking about the works in Art in the Age of the Internet is that they often magnify idiosyncratic aspects of everyday life, asking us to be more aware of changes to our way of life.”

Shows and events in early 2018

Screens: Virtual Material at the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum (Through March 18)

Screens: Virtual Material at the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum (Through March 18)

This exhibit taps the work of six contemporary artists to display objects ranging from metal fences to TV monitors. The multimedia installation explores how screens, which are a major part of our daily lives, can shape behaviors and beliefs.

Cool Medium: Art, Television & Psychedelia, 1960-1980 at deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum (Through March 11)

Displaying paintings, sculptures and prints, this exhibit shows how both color TV and psychedelic experiences grew during this time period.

Artificial Creativity: Neural Network and Augmented Intelligence Art at Boston Cyberarts (Jan. 12-Feb. 18)

This exhibit looks at the creation of neural network art and features works by artists such as Mario Klingemann and Jessica Brillhart.

New Media Artist Talks at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts (Feb. 8-March 29)

New media artists Lynn Hershman Leeson (Feb. 8) and Dara Birnbaum (March 29) chat about their work. Feb. 8, 6 pm (Leeson) and March 29, 6 pm (Birnbaum) at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts.

A New Installation from JODI at the Harvard Art Museums (Feb. 7-April 23)

A New Installation from JODI – The Lightbox Gallery will display a new interactive installation by JODI, a decades-old artist collective, that will look at the histories of games and collections.

Caught in the Net at the Harvard Film Archive (March 9-18) 

Harvard Film Archive shows a series of films that explore society’s fears about the internet, including War Games, Strange Days and Pulse.

Judith Barry Façade at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Jan. 17-June 27)

Judith Barry Façade at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Jan. 17-June 27)

This new outdoor installation from Barry will showcase the nearly 1 percent of the world’s population that has been displaced from their homes. Shot using a drone, the collage shows asylum seekers crowding onto an inflatable boat with a mixture of relief and elation.

Binge Watch at the MFA (May 10, 6 pm) 

Berklee College of Music students stage this public performance, interpreting the ICA’s digital exhibit.

Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974-1995 at MIT List Visual Arts Center (Feb. 8–April 15)

Featuring artists such as Maria Vedder and Ernst Caramelle, this exhibit re-evaluates monitor-based sculpture since the 1970s.

Blueprint for Counter Education at Rose Art Museum (March 2 – July 8) 

This exhibit showcases a boxed set of posters and texts that included charts and diagrams and predated the internet’s search engines, social media and hyperlinks.

Slumpies at Tufts University (Jan. 16-April 15)

Slumpies at Tufts University (Jan. 16-April 15)

Jillian Mayer’s sculptures are designed to hold people as they’re using their device. The artist’s works usually explore technology’s effects on our lives, but this particular installation aims to affect your life—and posture—for the better.


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