“Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.”

Institute of Contemporary Arts

Named after the legendary magazine published through most of the 1960s by the late Ian Hamilton Finlay, “Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.” was a game attempt to trace, in the confines of the ICA’s four petite spaces (and one passageway), five decades of the interplay between poetry and what is still unfortunately often called “visual art.” What emerged was a loose and necessarily spotty history of fifty years of text in art, minus Conceptualism: Instead, the show took concrete poetry as its starting point.

The exhibition was articulated in four distinct parts. The first room was devoted to Finlay, the outstanding figure in British concrete poetry, here presented in his role as editor/publisher as well as poet/artist. Publications from the Wild Hawthorn Press, which he cofounded in 1964, were on view, with works by a number of Finlay’s colleagues including the Swiss and Brazilian originators of the

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