Institute of Contemporary Art Boston

Exhibits at the ICA in Boston move from the disorder of daily life, to the artificial ordering of scientific collections, to the stark and heart-breaking beauty of a simple, tragic  life-story.

Dana Schutz’s big paintings show jumbles of objects out of order, and depictions of circumstances out of sequence: life, emotionally colorful and out of control.

Mark Dion’s Misadventures of a 20th Century Naturalist display some of the things that science finds and preserves and categorizes and organizes in hierarchies and groupings that make sense, until sense fails and nonsense or art take over.

Grenadian Steve McQueen’s film shows two films on either side of a free-standing screen. One side shows a young Grenadian, Ashes, on his boat on the open ocean, under a bright sun. He balances, riding the waves, happy to be seen and filmed in his strength and health. On the other side,  monument masons work silently, creating a stone marker for Ashes’ body as the story of the young man’s killing by drug dealers is narrated. The wet slap of cement trowels smoothing the tomb, and the sweep of brushes whitewashing the finish coat, recall the lap of the waves under Ashes’ boat.

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