Editor's Pick: Meet the Beetle


Debugged: Damián Ortega deconstructs a potent pop icon in his “Cosmic Thing” exhibit.

There’s something that’s bugging Mexican artist Damián Ortega, and he’s using the Institute of Contemporary Art to get it out of his system.

That something is the complex interaction between his native land and the affluent West, and his exhibit “Cosmic Thing,” one of three now on display at the ICA through Dec. 15, explores it through one of its most potent icons, the Volkswagen Beetle. Ortega’s sculptural decomposition of his own Bug, suspended from the ICA’s 30-foot-high ceiling, is the centerpiece of the exhibit.

Running concurrently with the Ortega exhibit are three other exhibits—”Pictures, Patents, Monkeys and More…On Collecting,” making its East Coast debut; Amy Cutler’s first solo museum show of drawings; and “Without Ground” by Kimowan McLain, commissioned for the ICA’s ramp.


- “COSMIC THING”: Through Dec. 15 at the ICA, 118 S. 36th St. Gallery hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission $3, students over 12/artists/seniors $2, children 12 and under/ICA members/PennCard holders/all visitors Sundays before 1 p.m. free. Info: www.icaphila.org or 215-898-7108.

Originally published on September 5, 2002