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Abstract artist will repaint Dewey Square mural

Abstract artists Matthew Ritchie will create a new mural in Boston's Dewey Square, replacing an Os Gemeos mural that sparked public backlash last year.

This Os Gemeos mural will soon be replaced with a new abstract installation. Photo via Metro This Os Gemeos mural will soon be replaced with a new abstract installation. Credit: Metro

British-born abstract artist Matthew Ritchie will create a new Dewey Square mural next month, replacing an Os Gemeos mural that sparked public backlash last year.

The Institute of Contemporary Art of Boston and the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy said Monday that Ritchie's mural will draw inspiration from Boston’s history and waterfront location.

The Os Gemeos piece is slated to come down the week of Sept. 9 and Ritchie's work will go up the week of Sept. 16.

According to the ICA, the new mural will feature "a unique digital component" with music by Bryce Dessner and a short film by the Ritchie, accessible by all wireless devices.

The mural will be the second public art partnership between the ICA and the Greenway, following the Os Gemeos mural in 2012.

“Matthew Ritchie uses abstraction on a very grand scale to visualize information about systems of time, the creation of the universe, theories in physics and the history of art,” said Jill Medvedow, Ellen Matilda Poss director of ICA. “We’re thrilled to bring the evocative beauty and the dynamic history of abstract painting into daily public life in Boston.”

The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy recently developed a five-year public art strategy in an effort to offer the Greenway access to contemporary art.

“Public art enriches urban life, and adds to the vibrancy of our parks and the city of Boston. We are proud that the Greenway can be a place where art is accessible to all and a space that encourages interaction and dialogue among visitors,” said Jesse Brackenbury, chief operating officer of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

The mural marks the start of Ritchie’s 18-month residency at the ICA — organized by Jenelle Porter, Mannion family senior curator — that encompasses several major works and will activate the entire museum through installation, sound, performance and video.

In addition to the Greenway mural, the project includes a large-scale installation on the Sandra and Gerald R. Fineberg Art Wall at the ICA; a residency with the ICA Teen Arts Council; and multiple performances, including compositions from The Long Count — a collaborative work Ritchie created with, among others, Bryce and Aaron Dessner (The National), and Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders).

Ritchie is also planning two new musical performances that will take place both on site at the ICA and at the nearby Chapel of Our Lady of Good Voyage.

The aim of Ritchie’s overall project is to expand the space of painting and drawing into six collaborative disciplines: architecture, city planning, video, performance, theater, and music—all while still retaining properties unique to painting and drawing.

Ritchie's mural is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Boston Art Commission and the City of Boston. Greenway funds for paints and cleaning are provided by private donations.

Click here to view Ritchie's work.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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