Os Gemeos at The ICA Boston

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Os Gemeos are twins from Sao Paulo, Brazil that do street art together. Over the last 20 years they have built themselves up from small seeds to some of the biggest fish in the street art sea. For example, this year in Los Angeles alone they were featured in the profoundly important “Art In The Streets” exhibit at MOCA as well as had a solo show at the elegant Prism Gallery on Sunset BlvdObviously with them being artists of great output, it’s not surprising then that they also have a retrospective of their work up at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston  known locally as the ICA.

I learned about the showing by pure chance while I was in Massachusetts last week. My friend Chloe Jankowitz of The Tish MacIntosh Show was taking me on an art adventure and we just so happened to drive by a mural Os Gemos painted on a massive building in the center of the city. After asking around and in no time at all, we learned about the details of their exhibit and I was able to check it out for a couple hours before rushing to the airport to get to on a flight to Dallas.

For a city so deeply routed in American history as Boston is, it’s pleasantly surprising to find such a cutting edge museum as the ICA in its midst. And while the works in this particular show span across the twin’s entire career, they were also still able to put together a new installation that resembled a paired down version of their interactive setup at the MOCA. However, instead of having a guitar, bass, and drum kit that anyone could play, they had an organ that was wired up to painted speakers across from it that was exclusively reserved for professional musicians. So, while the fun of being able to walk into a traditional white wall space and pick up an instrument that probably retails for at least 10’s of thousands of dollars wasn’t part of the deal, the new experience really brought true sonic justice to the work as a whole.

The show’s curator, Pedro Alonzo, was able to tap into some really heavy-hitting collections to lend works from, including Lance Armstrong’s and Geoffrey Deitch’s — both of whom had large paintings featuring themes of New York. Deitch has especially been a strong supporter of Os Gemeos and featured their work in multiple shows while Deitch Projects was still operational before he became the director of MOCA. However, a majority of the collectors preferred to be kept private from the public show information listed below each piece.

This ICA show was a very intimate way to experience Os Gemeos. I was able to actually get close to every painting in order to see all the inventive tricks that the artists’ use, like arranging sequins on the body of a fish and then painting over them to give the illusion of gills. The museum also released a 144-page catalogue for the exhibit, which is available in their online store.

The ICA Boston
100 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02210
August 1st – November 25th, 2012



A mural painted by Os Gemeos in the center of Boston





The Boston ICA building
















































1 Comment

  1. Megan Frances Abrahams
    December 2, 2012

    I saw the Os Gemeos exhibit at ICA during a visit to Boston in October. I love how the brothers combine elements of hip hop culture, Brazilian folklore and surrealism with a modern urban sensibility. There art is a visual thrill – so accessible, vibrant and fun.


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