There are tens of thousands of the same building in Russia, each containing eighty apartments. They were designed by consensus – a committee of architects determined a standard of living and trimmed it down to its most essential pillars. These structures were referred to as K-7s or Khruchevki, after Nikita Khrushchev, who hastily commissioned them in response to a severe housing shortage. Built cheaply and quickly throughout Russia from pre-fabricated panels of cast concrete, they thrust their occupants, both physically and mentally, into an endlessly replicable, uniform space.
The thirteenth installment of the ICA’s annual collection exhibition presents major works that showcase artists’ engagement and entanglement with the everyday. Interest in common materials and quotidian subjects has been a defining theme of artistic practice in the 20th century, inspiring Cubist collage, found sculpture, and the widespread embrace of photography. By observing and being in the world, artists elevate and make significant ordinary textures and experiences.
Rooms dedicated to materials and process celebrate artists’ capacity to elicit the wondrous from the mundane. Works from Tara Donovan’s tape installation Nebulous to Damián Ortega’s explosion of a 35mm camera to Nari Ward’s wrapped and adorned shopping cart Savior highlight the transformative use of common and found materials. Others incorporate everyday actions such as knotting, wrapping, or tying into their artistic practice, as in Lynda Benglis’s knot sculpture Sierra and Sheila Hicks’s stacked bundles of thread in Banisteriopsis II. Finally, portraiture—a noted strength in the ICA’s collection—forms a third means of exploring the everyday within the exhibition, in recently acquired works by Anthony Hernandez, Sanya Kantarovsky, Robert Pruitt, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. All of these artists have creatively engaged with their daily worlds, inviting others to partake in the beauty, dignity, and reality of the everyday.
Organized by Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Curator, with Jessica Hong, Assistant Curator.