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In Boston, Altering the Artist-in-Residence Concept

COLLABORATIONS among museums and artists-in-residence typically culminate in a single artwork or event. More unusual is the one between Matthew Ritchie and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. During his 18-month residency, he is producing a series of related artworks and performances in and near the museum that weave Boston and the institute into an abstract narrative of past, present and future.

“I’ve never done a thing where I sort of seep into the fabric of the museum itself and the neighborhood around it, almost like an energy consultant coming in,” said Mr. Ritchie, 50. “But instead of talking about heat, it’s ideas.” The artist is known for his densely layered, expansive paintings and installations that diagram systems of religion, science, history and cosmologies, sometimes all at the same time...

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