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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Exploring Boston: Fan Pier and vicinity

It's a rainy Saturday here in Boston; a good chance to catch up.

On Thursday evening, I walked to the Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA); a small but gorgeous museum built across the Fort Point Channel next to Boston’s historic Fan Pier, which was built in the mid-1800’s to support a then state-of-the-art  seafood-handling transportation facility. Today, the Fan Pier is a public park with fantastic city views, plus numerous high-end  condos, restaurants, and whatnot.

I'll explain this later, but this is a view from the Fan Pier.

It was a longish walk --- about 7 miles (11km) round trip. I crossed the Fort Point Channel around 6PM. (Click the thumbnails for larger views.)

Along the way, I passed the Tea Party museum:

This, of course, refers to the real, original Tea Party, of the “No taxation without representation” sort. That’s a bit different from the 2008's Tea Party Movement (“No taxation”), or the current Tea Party (“No.”) Sigh.

I arrived at the ICA in short order. It’s an interesting building.
The current main exhibit features work by Charline Von Heyl. My favorite piece was one called Yellow Guitar. The following web image doesn’t do the piece justice --- the real painting is very large, and with startlingly vibrant colors:

Multilayering is common in her works, and I especially liked the stippled darkening of the intersections of the gridwork. In person, it’s more subtle than it appears in the above image, and looked to me as if the artist was trying to add this kind of optical illusion to her work:

Again, seen on the wall, properly lit, it was a very nice piece of art.
A different piece by Cornelia Parker, called Hanging Fire, also was very nice. It’s a 3D sculpture/mobile installation created from charred wood collected from an arson site.

From the ICA site:
Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson), 1999
Wire mesh, charcoal, wire, pins, nails
144 x 60 x 72 in. (365.8 x 152.4 x 182.9 cm)
Gift of Barbara Lee

An impressive example of Cornelia Parker's signature suspended sculptures, Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson) is a major installation piece constructed from found materials-the charred remains of an alleged arson incident. Hung by wires to create a forest of charcoal fragments, the work features a spectacular explosion of form in space and captures Parker's forensic fascination. Parker's 2000 show at the ICA, her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, was a turning point in her career.

Again, the web image doesn’t do it justice.

The ICA is quite small, and it didn’t take long to see all that was on display. But what a location! Here’s the sweeping, almost 180-degree view from its cantilevered balcony; stitched together from about half a dozen separate wide-angle shots:

The view is northerly. Everett, and Logan Airport, are in the distance to the right. (You can see the twin-legged control tower in the distance.) Anthony’s Pier 4, a well-known and rather spendy restaurant, is the building in the right foreground. The Fan Pier and Boston proper is to the far left.

I left the ICA and started the walk back. The light was changing fast, and made for some nice viewing.

This is the ICA’s exterior reflected in the rather calm waters of Boston Harbor.

Zooming in on the Tobin/Fore River bridge:

The distant Logan control tower, with a small sailboat regatta or race in the midground.

This beauty was barely making way in the light air; a gorgeous way to see the sunset.

Powerboat, sailboat, commuter ferry, and Logan:

Fan Pier 180-degree panorama (my favorite shot of the evening):

Explaining the Fan Pier:

Charlestown church:

Getting closer to the city:

I think a CD cover photo was being shot here. She was just playing scales, but with lots of flair, for visual interest:

The US Courthouse, built on the Fan Pier, opens its curved glassy façade towards the city:

The sunset-cruise party boats were making ready to depart:

This one’s a catamaran:

Looking back across the channel:

Cityscape detail:

As I hoofed back home, I ran into a live, free concert in Downtown Crossing. There’s one every Thursday; I’ll be back, now that I know about them.

Boston Common looked great in the slanting sunset light:

In all, a great way to spend an evening!
Thanks for coming along!

(Full-res photos: http://photobucket.com/ica_harborwalk )