Until now, the ICA Boston’s Foster Prize has been relatively traditional. It begins with the museum’s announcement of a short list of artists who participate in its biennial. From there, an independent panel of judges selects one winner, who walks away with a cash prize. This year’s Foster Prize is different. The ICA’s Associate Director of Performing Arts, John Andress, and Senior Curator, Jenelle Porter, have chosen four artists and collaborative organizers as the winners of the Foster Prize, lending the institution’s weight to help execute their artistic objectives. The winners of the 2015 Foster Prize are Sandrine Schaefer, Vela Phelan, kijidome (Sean Downey, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, Lucy Kim, and Susan Metrican), and Ricardo De Lima (Another Spectacle).
The 2015 Foster Prize is not about latent potential, but about creating an actualized reticulation. In this curatorial framework, individual artists aren’t grouped and isolated, or begging to be anatomized. The resulting “exhibition” can be transplanted anywhere and bears fruit: It is a rhizomatic schedule of events that assembles à la carte meals instead of a tasting menu. For art critics, reviewing the exhibition after its preview would’ve been much like reviewing a book after reading one sentence, as almost nothing had happened at that point. All four artists’ projects are ongoing and contradictory at times. The reciprocating schedule is dictated by the terms of the audience. If you’re running late because of family schedule, the pokey slow train, or any other dog-ate-my-homework excuse, you simply miss the exhibition’s event that night. As no one individual could be at all the events, each moment reflects on what was and will be, as an unfolding, multimodal semiotic chain.