previews

Boston

Kevin Beasley

ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
25 Harbor Shore Drive
May 9 - August 26

Curated by Ruth Erickson and Jeffrey De Blois

I met Kevin Beasley in 2011; he was a graduate student at Yale University and I was a visiting critic. In his studio I remember amorphous objects and pieces of clothing subsumed in foam and resin, scattered about the floor and mounted to the walls. Tucked into one corner on a cluttered plywood table were two Technics SL-1200 turntables. I asked about them. He played a file called “I Want My Spot Back”—a haunting composition sampling a cappella recordings from late hip-hop artists such as Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Big L, and Guru. “A DJ studying sculpture,” I thought. I invited him to be part of a series of performances I was organizing at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2012. Performed in the museum’s atrium, “I Want My Spot Back” shook the building. I thought for a moment that MoMA would fall apart. This exhibition presents new sculptures that incorporate clothing and sound, exemplifying why Kevin has become one of my favorite young artists: his multivalent sway, his ability to organically fuse disparate media in his brashly liminal work.