First Friday at the ICA

As the sun set on Friday, July 6th and a warm breeze blew in off Boston harbour the first, First Friday at the Institute of Contemporary Art, got underway.   Art, music and people came together as one of the cities coolest places opened for a First Friday, event titled, “Art Stars,” which featured DJ’s, drinks, gallery talks and star gazing, and attracted a mixed group of young, cool looking, professionals and art enthusiasts.

As the guests slowly rolled in, people relaxed in little groups across the deck and enjoyed their complimentary drinks while alternating between people watching and gazing out across Boston Harbour.   By 7pm the deck was packed and the crowd was hopping fueled by specialty cocktails and the cool beats.

Despite some initial confusion, people trickled up to the fourth floor of the museum, to wander through the exhibits, particularly, “Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of the Infinite“.  The exhibit spans several rooms and includes handblown glass installations, video art and a room sized constellation like piece titled, “Island Universe,” which was the subject of a brief gallery talk, and inspired the theme of the evening.   An elegant, and airy, room sized installation of molded glass, mirrors, and electric lights, McElheny’s, “Island Universe,” explores the ideas of space, time and the infinite, and was a highlight of the event.  Guests walked through the installation space in silent awe, examining the details and thinking out loud about what the pieces mean.   The speaker during the talk explained patiently to an inquisitive and attentive audience, that McElheny’s work is a fusion of art and science and is the result of a collaboration between him and a scientist, that he worked with.   “His work,” she said, “is not scientific models, but based on scientific inquiry.”

It was quite the scene throughout the evening, and although there was a lot of down time, and  it lacked some of the nuance of other events I’ve been to,  it did not seem to hamper the festive mood at all.  I think the ICA’s first, First Friday had a promising start, and look forward to seeing what their August event has to offer.