The morning’s weather had varied between rain and clouds threatening rain, but the weather gods relented for the ICA@50 Closing Party. Beautifully organized by former Curatorial Administrative Assistant Dana Fedeli, the party started in high gear promptly at 2pm. On the Tuttleman Terrace, in bright sunshine, DJ LIGHT HEAT got things rolling with an eccentric post-punk mix. Next, Chief Curator Ingrid Schaffner presented a thorough synopsis of the ICA@50 project. Schaffner then introduced Philly artist Jeremiah Misfeldt, who promised to lift the curse he had placed on ICA a decade ago as part of a cabaret event held in conjunction with the 2004 exhibition The Big Nothing. Misfeldt engaged the crowd in collective action: a piece of paper was distributed to everyone; the group was led in several centering breaths, and then instructed to rip in half each sheet of paper. This led to both a collective sigh of relief and spontaneous applause. Misfeldt later reported that he hid a piece of paper inside the building to ensure that the curse remains forever lifted.
As the psychedelic music of ICA’s “house band,” Bardo Pond, washed over the beach party-like atmosphere, beer, San Pellegrino, snacks, and delicious Lil’ Pop Shop popsicles (featuring such mouth-watering flavors as Rosemary Peach, Earl Grey with Vanilla Bean & Black Pepper, and Lemon Poppy Seed) were heartily enjoyed. The mural Woe Be Gone, by Dan Murphy and Isaac Tin Wei Lin in honor of Margaret Kilgallen’s 2001 installation for East Meets West, formed a backdrop behind the band. Rich McIsaac’s META zine, a moving tribute to the late Kilgallen, was available on a nearby picnic table; not one of the 200 hand-sewn copies remained by the end of the festivities. Ciera Parish’s poster for ICA@50 also proved a popular memento with visitors.
Inside, the galleries were full. Some visitors had come for the close of Kara Walker’s exhibition; others had been drawn in by the music. Outside, DJ LIGHT HEAT’s second set moved from eccentric to groovy with some Kate Bush and Queen. At 5pm, the galleries closed and the party was over, yet many lingered on the terrace, eager to welcome in ICA’s next fifty years.
Cake: ICA Turns 50Trisha DonnellyRodney Graham: A Little ThoughtThe Big NothingEast Meets West: “Folk” and Fantasy from the CoastsICA@50: Pleasing Artists And Publics Since 1963ICA Birthday PartyICA@50