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The Institute for Contemporary Arts

The_ica_1Established in 1947, the Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) was originally a refuge from the constraints of traditional art. The ICA is the legacy of renegade artists Roland Penrose, Peter Watson, Herbert Read, Peter Gregory, Geoffrey Grigson, and E. L. T. Mesens, who created a haven for their radical theories and practices. This new institution was a space where artists, and other academics including scientists and writers, could explore concepts outside the paradigm established by the archetypal Royal Academy. Today the ICA is housed in the Nash House, at 17-18 Dover Street.

The ICA is run by one main governing body known as the ICA. The Council is responsible for the ICA’s overall success, which they facilitate by providing the necessary resources to achieve said success, and by monitoring performance throughout the year. The ICA Council also appoints the Directors and senior staff. Selecting these individuals is a crucial to the ICA at large, because they will determine the ICA’s mission and artistic objectives, with the help of the Council. Members of the ICA Council are unpaid, and can only serve for a maximum of two terms (each term is three years). Council members are selected through a nomination process created by a sub-committee of the council.

The Institute for Contemporary Arts is dedicated to various mediums, and offers a variety of exhibitions, films, and talks and events to explore radical art and culture. Among their many programs, there is an ICA Student Forum, wherein local students engage with contemporary artists in the discussion of art practice and theory. These students also contribute to the ICA by giving guided visits of their exhibits to visiting universities and other groups. The ICA is also dedicated to cinema as an art, and offers a programme of new independent films, classic art house films, retrospectives, and artists films, among other genres.

The ICA has hosted exhibitions by renown artists including Damien Hirst, Gabriel Orozco, Gerhard Richter and Laurie Anderson. The ICA is currently hosting Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic. This exhibition focuses on Woodman’s works over the past decade, most of which were executed in her chosen medium of clay. This exhibition also includes mixed media works, some of which demonstrate Woodman’s foray into new mediums. The exhibition is on view through the 10th of April. To learn more about the ICA, visit their website here.