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Boston arts groups team up for sprawling look at art, technology

Jon Rafman’s “View of Harbor, 2017” will be part of “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today” at the Institute of Contemporary Art.Matthew Monteith/Jon Rafman

This February, 12 Boston-area arts organizations will band together to present a sprawling series of exhibitions exploring the symbiotic relationship between art and technology — a rare cross-institutional collaboration that includes painting, film, and Web-based art, among others.

The largest show is “Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, which will feature work by some 60 artists and explore the Internet’s influence on artistic production.

Eva Respini, chief curator at the ICA, said she’d been thinking about the show for years when she started discussing the idea of a collaborative effort with other curators.


“It wasn’t about me putting an idea on other organizations, but rather asking them what they’d been thinking along the same lines,” said Respini, who organized the ICA exhibit. “In most cases the shows are based on things that were already percolating at the other institutions.”

Participating Boston-area organizations include the Harvard Art Museums, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Museum of Fine Arts, Berklee College of Music, Boston Cyberarts, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, Tufts University Art Galleries, Rose Art Museum, Harvard Film Archive, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

The MIT List Visual Arts Center will open “Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974-1995.

“It’s been on the back, back burner,” said List director Paul Ha. “Wer’e always looking at timing, and when it became possible there could be a city-wide rollout about art of the Internet it seemed perfect.”

ICA director Jill Medvedow said she had high hopes for the collaboration. “The organizations saw that they had something very specific to their area of expertise to contribute in a robust way,” said Medvedow. “Bostonians young and old are going to have an opportunity to think about the ways in which technology has changed the way contemporary art looks, but also what’s possible to see.”


Medvedow said the ICA show, which opens Feb. 7, would have a dedicated Web platform,, and other institutions’ exhibits would overlap during the ICA show’s run.

“I’d like to think this project is non-hierarchal, like the Internet,” said Respini. “So we can all talk about the intersection in a more sophisticated and nuanced way than I’m able to do in just one exhibition.”

Malcolm Gay can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @malcolmgay.