The Secret ark of icon park
Revolving Museum Director Jerry Beck was commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), in partnership with the National Park Service, to create a temporary work of public art. The fifth project presented by a joint initiative of the ICA and Boston National Historical Park, Beck’s resulting work was called “The Secret Ark of Icon Park,” an ambitious, large-scale tableau for the Charlestown Navy Yard, visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year.
The central element was a 64-foot long theme park like ark in which a range of maritime-themed sculptural statements, such as a captain’s quarters, crew-mate bunks, decorative oars, a helm, a bottle-shaped mast, treasure chest, a figurehead, a giant “pencil/cannon,” a weathervane, an oversized cork-covered gun, and more.
Stressing the need for safe harbor and optimism amidst our present-day reality of global and domestic conflict, Beck’s project references a wide range of influences and themes, including the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, American carnivals and arcades, and the ideas of inspirational figures, both contemporary and historic. The Ark’s purpose was to take visitors on a fantasy voyage that offered poignant commentary on the world around us. Beck and Revolving Museum youth and other Boston-based students worked with Beck and contributed rope-covered “lifeboats” to the Ark and other powerful sculptures related to important environmental, social and political issues.