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    Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of the Infinite

    Presented by at Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

    June 22 - September 23, 2012


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    Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of the Infinite

    Josiah McElheny uses the ancient and labor intensive medium of glass to create objects of exceptional beauty and formal sophistication. An artist of diverse interests, McElheny draws on art history, politics, and cosmology to encode his glassworks with information, turning these exquisite objects into repositories of meaning. A mid-career survey of the artist’s work, Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of Infinity traces the...

    Josiah McElheny uses the ancient and labor intensive medium of glass to create objects of exceptional beauty and formal sophistication. An artist of diverse interests, McElheny draws on art history, politics, and cosmology to encode his glassworks with information, turning these exquisite objects into repositories of meaning. A mid-career survey of the artist’s work, Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of Infinity traces the artist’s investigations into the representation of time and space, and in particular, the concept of infinity. Infinity is a spatial conundrum that quickly turns into a philosophical problem: how does one represent the unrepresentable? What images have humans used over time to connote the mathematical realities of the boundlessness of space and time? And how might those images and ideas reflect psychological states or perceptions of history?

    McElheny explores this constellation of ideas via his re-creation of the earliest extant glass fragments in an investigation of archeological time, the use of mise en abmye as a means of visualizing infinity, and through recent works that aestheticize the Big Bang and recall mid-century design objects. A highlight of the exhibition is Island Universe (2008), an installation of five, large-scale, chrome and glass sculptures that look to have exploded mid-air. Scientifically accurate models of Big Bang theory, the sculptures in Island Universe represent the apotheosis of McElheny's effort to picture infinity and give an abstract concept materiality and visual form. The questions of infinity, utopia, and modernism that McElheny examines through this and his other works are not the kind one typically associates with craft production, and yet it is through the history of glass that McElheny has traced this historical line of inquiry.


    Organized by ICA Chief Curator Helen Molesworth, Josiah McElheny: Some Pictures of Infinity features approximately 14 works, including sculpture, installation, film, photography and performance.


    Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

    100 Northern Avenue
    Boston, MA 02210

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    Admission Info:

    $15 general admission

    $13 seniors

    $10 students

    FREE members and youth 17 and under

    FREE for all from 5 to 9 pm every Thursday for ICA Free Thursday Nights

    FREE for families (up to 2 adults accompanied by children 12 and under) on the last Saturday of each month with the exception of December.


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    Thursday and Friday, 10 am–9 pm

    Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm


    phone: 617-478-3100

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    The ICA does not have a parking garage, however there is affordable paid parking available in lots near the ICA.



    Accessibility Information: Currently, no accessibility information is available for this event.



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