This week, Jared Bowen takes us through the reopened Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston and speaks with Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs about his new mural at Madison Park High School.

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston reopens with new safety guidelines for visitors

ICA reopens
Contactless ticketing is one of many new policies at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Mel Taing, courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

After four months of closure due to the coronavirus, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has reopened to the public under new guidelines. Following regulations and recommendations set by the City of Boston and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ICA has implemented a host of new safety measures. These include: limiting the number of visitors; contactless, timed ticket entry; and mandatory face masks for all visitors and staff. The ICA has also added new signage and sanitizing stations throughout the museum, and postponed all theater performances and public programming until further notice. However, visitors can still roam the galleries to explore exhibitions of artists, including Sterling Ruby and Tschabalala Self, at their leisure and with no time limit on their visit.

“We've really brought the capacity numbers down so people can stay as long as they like,” says ICA Deputy Director of Public Engagement and Planning Kelly Gifford. “So you can explore the galleries on your own. You can spend as much time as you want with one painting or one video piece … and really find a place to relax and enjoy the artwork at your own pace.”

“Breathe Life 2,” a new mural from Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts

Breathe Life 2
Rob "ProBlak" Gibbs working on "Breathe Life 2" at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School
G. Ortiz Photography, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury is now home to artist Rob “ProBlak” Gibbs’s latest mural. The work depicts a larger-than-life girl blowing bubbles, protected by a giant one and with hair ornamented with a galaxy of stars—a nod to the fact that the universe is always on her mind. Inspired by Gibbs’s own daughter, it’s the latest work in the artist’s “Breathe Life” series. The mural was commissioned as a partnership with the City of Boston and the Museum of Fine Arts in tandem with the museum’s upcoming Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition and in honor of its 150th anniversary. But in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the mural is especially resonant.

“In a state where we cannot breathe, I'm asking people to take the time to breathe and look at what's going on,” says Gibbs. “People are walking around with their head down. … And when you look at these murals, they're so large in size, it's [providing] a minute to take a breath and look up, and see what's promising.”

Have you visited any museums since they’ve reopened? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!