Modern times

By GREG COOK  |  January 6, 2010

"I think that Jen's coming here is a tremendous compliment to the ICA," says Rogers. "And I think everything that's happening in Boston is a great tribute to the efforts of certain key individuals — [ICA director] Jill Medvedow being one of them — to create a new climate."

The departures of Mergel and Baume from the ICA mean that that institution's curatorial staff has completely turned over since it moved into its new building in 2006. Some have suggested that Medvedow is an ambitious but difficult boss. But Paul Bessire, the ICA's deputy director for external relations, asserts that he's not found her difficult to work for in his nine years at the ICA. He adds, "I think this is part of the normal ebb and flow of any institution." Of Mergel's appointment, he says, "We're really happy for her." And what does it mean for the ICA? "This is a fantastic thing for Boston to have so much opportunity for contemporary art. With the MFA's new wing opening up, it only makes a good contemporary-art town a better contemporary-art town. We're excited also because it gives us a chance to bring in a new curatorial team that will have a fresh vision."

The departures leave the ICA with just one staff curator — assistant curator and former Phoenix writer Randi Hopkins, who joined the ICA in 2008 — plus curatorial associate Bridget Hanson. The ICA also continues to work with two outside adjunct curators: Pedro Alonzo of Boston and Jessica Morgan, a former ICA curator who is now curator of contemporary art at London's Tate Modern. Regarding Baume's successor, Bessire says, "We are hoping to make an announcement very soon."

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