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MIT student blogger Yuliya K. '18

Institute of Contemporary Art College Night by Yuliya K. '18

#2 of 3 Boston Adventures

(See the #1 Boston Adventure at the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair here)

My 20th birthday was pretty perfect.

It started an hour before midnight with one of my friends encouraging me to get pumped about the event. Several commented on the fact that I have (almost) successfully evaded teenage pregnancy. Apparently, 20 = adult. In exciting developments, I will soon gain access to the front of my cerebral cortex, where “the wisdom resides” (from this awesome source about the teen brain).

Then there was midnight. Three of my friends and hall neighbors, M., T., and Th., ‘19, emerged in a grand procession. The leader, in a furry cap reminiscent of Russian monarch fashion, carried a golden cardboard crown on a velvet pillow. The trio proceeded to crown me as tsar. The witnesses cheered. Hugs followed. Solar Car Captain P. ‘17 presented me with a very special solar car t-shirt.

The day continued to be delightful. I got more birthday wishes in class. One of my neighbors, F. ‘17, resolved to congratulate me every time I passed, which was often.

In the evening, my friend M. ‘18 and I went to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) College Night. Our Silver Line bus sped through the tunnel to the regal World Trade Center T station, which opened onto a muddy construction site. We walked in the rain past tall buildings with green and purple light strips running down the side (which looked classy, according to my companion).

Our soggy wooden path opened up to the ocean, a lone dock, and the museum over the night waters (also illuminated with classy lights).

Inside, DJ Knife was “breaking it down with genre-mixing beats” (quoting the event flyer from here on). And not just genre-mixing, but also loud. Walking to the rhythm, we got our hands stamped with the museum logo and continued up and away from the DJ and the one awkward pair dancing in the open space in front of him.

Upstairs was the Game Room with “larger-than-life versions of [our] childhood favorites!” We walked past students playing with giant Jenga and checkers. Many of them dressed in little black dresses or suits.

Not particularly interested in huge games at the time, we headed straight for free “Thirsty? Need a Snack?” section of the room. Got drinks in thin glass bottles. Munched on restaurant-made deviled eggs. Chef’s special. Company sponsored. It felt really fancy. Like in one of those TV commercials with cool young people and drinks, music and lights. Fun.

M. and I didn’t linger in the Game Room for long. Even on the second floor, DJ Knife’s beats seeped through. In a final attempt to capitalize on the “free stuff” portion of the event, we stopped by the prize “wheel”. Three out of five of its slots said “Water Bottle,” “Sunglasses,” and “Backpack,” the three prize options. The other two said, “Try Again.” It was a lottery we couldn’t lose. We “tried again” twice and won.

On the 4th floor, M. and I wandered through the “blockbuster fall exhibition Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957,” a collection of art from “a small school in North Carolina where the course of art history changed forever” (more here). The odd pieces of art on display reminded us of the lounges back at the MIT home.

Here are some examples of the awesome Black Mountain College art:





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In the Transcending Material: ICA Collection room, we passed a cube of pins by Tara Donovan and a rug of pins by Mona Hatoum. In the next room was an example of political satire in art by Rachel Harrison, entitled Jack Lemmon (explanation here). Josiah McElheny explored the infinite in his collection, Some Pictures of the Infinite, which included the piece entitled Czech Modernism Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely.


We then wandered into a room of photogravures with etching by Tacita Dean, collectively entitled The Russian Ending, of which my favorite the image of Donesk (my hometown), The Tragedy of the Hughesovka Bridge (from a time when Donetsk wasn’t called by its current name). A glimpse of home.


Two more cool pieces from the ICA collection:

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Beyond the rooms of art, the transparent front of the ICA offered a panorama of the night ocean. We pressed our faces against the glass to better see the silent waves and city lights.

And that was our trip. Down in the spacious glass elevator and quickly past the awkward DJ we went. Outside, past an alley of trees. Music started playing around us as we passed. A perfect chance to dance in the rain.

At home on 1E, we made pink pound cake with a chocolate Illuminati symbol on top. I made my birthday wish at midnight as my hallmates hollered the birthday song magnificently out of tune.

A perfect day.

Visit the awesome ICA exhibitions yourself! Or see some gorgeous pieces online here.