Miranda’s Birthday

When I started working at ICA in 2009, everyone agreed the museum needed a blog but no one wanted to write it. Poke around the web and you’ll find that almost every museum, large or small, has a blog these days, but for the most part reading them makes you think that the people who write them aren’t having much fun. You can find information in those pixels, but not a lot of inspiration or delight. As a former columnist, and also a novelist, I thought it would be nice to write a kind of online ICA column, made up of little essays and stories that not only described the cool stuff going on at ICA but also seriously explored the work of museums: what curators do, how art is moved around, even how money is raised. I also wanted it to be fun to read.

Luckily for me, ICA liked the idea. In a fit of inspiration, our director Claudia Gould named the blog after my recently deceased corn snake, Miranda. It seemed like a fine choice. The name is derived from the Latin word “mirare”—to admire—and can mean something worth looking at or deserving of admiration. It’s also a nice way to remember my snake.
Miranda snake in pocket

Miranda snake in pocket

This month, we are celebrating Miranda’s first birthday!

Please send her your birthday wishes. You can use the comments field below for congratulations, compliments, and also suggestions for the coming year. You can post haiku, prose poems, anagrams, koans. Even better, send birthday flowers—or birthday mice!—by attaching images to an email care of me. If we get enough, we’ll post these in a special Miranda at the end of the month, with a free ICA catalog for the sender of the most inventive gift.

As an even better birthday tribute, email me to sign up for our Miranda mailing list, so we can let you know when there’s a new post.
Miranda: Foil snake by Adam_5.13.10

Foil snake by Adam Blumberg. Photo: Robert Chaney

A year ago we published the first blog posts, about me trying to count the people coming in the door for the Queer Voice opening, why public programs are important, and what Chuck Close said in his roast of Lisa Yuskavage at our annual benefit. May is also the month of my own birth. There has been some confusion between me and Miranda, and for the most part that’s okay, as we do largely share one another’s opinions. Miranda is perhaps a little jauntier than I am, and occasionally more sentimental. Looking back over the year’s work, I see that I no longer manage to post twice a week (though only twice have I ever missed a week’s posting). On the other hand, my use of photographs is much improved. These days I try to make them part of the narrative, not just incidental decoration.
Snake drawing on wood

Cobra on Wood by Nick Payne. Photo: Carina Romano

I’ve been looking back over some of my favorite posts. I still really like the first one, which talks about my aspirations and gives a sense of daily ICA life:


I’m fond of this one, that connects architect Anne Tyng to Odysseus’s Penelope:


and this one about the mystery of art crates:


People really enjoyed these two, about departing staff members, Head Preparator Shannon Bowser and Curator Jenelle Porter:



This one, about the de-installation of Virgil Marti’s exhibition, Set Pieces, is the silliest and most poetic:


I hope you have enjoyed Miranda so far, and that you’ll continue to follow her.

Virtual coils

slithering through the white cube:

throw the doors open!
Snake collage Miranda

Snake collage Miranda

Snake images above (except the real Miranda) by members of ICA’s fabulous installation crew.