press release

For her forthcoming installation on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade, American-born artist Judith Barry explored hundreds of drone images circulating the internet that depict people fleeing their homes and seeking a new life elsewhere. Her installation, untitled: (Global Displacement: nearly 1 in 100 people worldwide are displaced from their homes. Source:, is a collage of asylum seekers from around the world in an inflatable boat and will be on view beginning January 17.

“These images shot by drones are poignant reminders of the trust and hope that, even in the most dire circumstances, abiding human qualities remain,” says Barry. “Looking up, these asylum seekers greet the effortlessly hovering drone with a mixture of relief and elation—even though the drone is unmanned and not human, and even though the resulting encounter is no guarantee of a rescue or of entry into another country.”

“There are hundreds of these images circulating on-line,” says Pieranna Cavalchini, Curator of Contemporary Art. “The refugee crisis is on-going and shows no sign of abating. For so many of these people, there is still no place that will welcome them. The crisis exists in this country, as well, as we witness the countless natural disasters displacing residents from their homes.”

In thinking about a façade project for the Gardner Museum, the artist was struck by its shape. The rectangular outdoor work acts like a beacon, drawing your eyes upward as you approach the Museum from a distance, especially at night when it’s illuminated.

Barry, an artist and writer, works across multiple mediums. She utilizes a research-based methodology to explore wide range of topics. Both the form and the content of her work evolve as the research proceeds. She often makes use of installation, in various forms, as a way to combine many of her disparate interests. These immersive environments are based on experiments incorporating architecture, sculpture, performance, theatre, film/video/new media, graphics, and interactivity.

Barry’s art encompasses film, performance, installation, sculpture, architecture, photography, and new media, and has been featured internationally at venues such as the Berlin Biennale, Venice Biennale, Sydney Biennale, and Documenta. She received the Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts in 2000, was honored with “Best Pavilion” at the Cairo Biennale in 2001, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2011. Barry has held full-time teaching positions at numerous institutions, including Merz Akademie, Stuttgart, Germany, and has been until recently Professor/Director of the MFA Visual Arts Program at LUCAD in Cambridge, Mass. Currently, Barry is Professor/Director in the ACT Program at MIT, Cambridge, MA.

Untitled (Global Displacement: Nearly 1 in 100 people…) is presented as part of a citywide partnership of arts and educational institutions organized to recognize the outsized role greater Boston has played in the history and development of technology. The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has initiated this partnership to link concurrent exhibitions and programs related to the themes of the exhibition Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, on view at the ICA from February 7–May 20, 2018. Information on all the exhibitions and programs can be found at

The Gardner public art facade installations rotate every six months. Previous facades have been by Artists-in-residence Stefano Arienti, Adam Pendleton, Hamra Abbas, Luisa Rabbia, Nari Ward, Bharti Kher, Rachel Perry, Maurizio Cannavacciuolo, Ambreen Butt, and Elaine Reichek.

The Artist-in-Residence Program is directed by Pieranna Cavalchini, the Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art, and is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Barbara Lee Program Fund. Funding is also provided for site-specific installations of new work on the Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade on Evans Way. This project is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Media Sponsor: Boston Magazine