• Peter Burr and Porpentine Charity Heartscape, Dirtscraper, 2018, three-channel interactive digital video, color, sound, indefinite duration. From “Declaration.”


    Visual Arts Center of Richmond
    1812 West Main Street
    April 21–September 9, 2018

    Curated by Stephanie Smith and Lisa Freiman with Amber Esseiva, Johanna Plummer, and Lauren Ross

    The new ICA is about two miles from the onetime residence of Jefferson Davis in one direction, and one and a half miles from Monument Avenue in the other, where a number of statues honor traitors Robert E. Lee, J. E. B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, and other sons of the Confederacy. (Richmond is blacker than the rest of Virginia, so space was also made in 1994 for a statue memorializing Arthur Ashe Jr.) The ICA aspires to be Richmond’s leading noncollecting venue, so the question of how a forward-looking institution might best take permanent root in such ground is not an idle concern. Its inaugural exhibition proposes an answer while speaking to “pressing social issues” with works by more than thirty artists, from Tania Bruguera and Titus Kaphar to Richmond locals Andrea Donnelly and Gwar. “Declaration” could easily have been named “Listening.” While there’s much in America to tear down and replace, there’s also something to be said for strategies like those of the Virginia creeper. None dare call this vine, native to the Southeast, invasive, even as it slowly but surely transforms everything it touches. It’s simply at home.