Jan 17–Apr 6, 2025

Carl Cheng: Nature Never Loses

Carl Cheng / John Doe Co., Alternative TV #4, 1974. Plastic chassis, acrylic water tank, air pump, LED lighting and controller, electrical cord, aquarium hardware, conglomerated rocks, plastic plant(s). 11 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 8 inches. Artwork © Carl Cheng. Courtesy the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles 

This exhibition is the first in-depth survey of Carl Cheng’s prescient, genre-defying work from the 1960s to the present that will transform both floors of the ICA. Cheng began his career in the experimental context of the Southern California art scene and the post-war aerospace industry, resulting in artworks that operate at the intersection of identity, technology, and ecology. Over the last six decades he has worked in a variety of media to reflect on environmental change, the relevance of art institutions to their publics, and the role of technology in society. Because the majority of Cheng’s oeuvre is still in his possession, the exhibition will be an exciting and rare opportunity to animate the arc of his career through a presentation of artworks that are multidisciplinary, ephemeral, material, process-based, and interactive. The exhibition will also be presented at The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center (September – December 2024), Bonnefanten (May – September 2025), and Museum Tinguely (December 2025 – May 2026).

Carl Cheng / John Doe Co., Early Warning System, 1967. Fabricated plastic, electronics, projector mechanism, wheat, wooden base, and radio. 77 x 35 x 34 7/8 inches. Artwork © Carl Cheng. Courtesy the artist and Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo by Jeff McLane.