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The Boston Globe

Arts

ICA hosts mid-career show of street artist and graffitist Barry McGee

On a recent night at the Institute of Contemporary Art, a security guard ventured into an upstairs showroom only to find someone positioned on the upper rungs of a ladder. At first the guard panicked, thinking the shadowy figure might be an intruder, before realizing that it was an automaton — a prop in an exhibition opening to the public Saturday.

The artist who designed the prop is Barry McGee. An integral member of the Mission School of San Francisco during the early ’90s — an urban movement led by so-called street artists — McGee began his career as a graffitist and has made it a point to subvert artistic expectations ever since.

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