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The ICA supports radical art and culture. Through a vibrant programme of exhibitions, films, events, talks and debates, the ICA challenges perceived notions and stimulates debate, experimentation, creativity and exchange with visitors.
Founded in 1946 by a group of artists including Roland Penrose, Peter Watson and Herbert Read, the ICA continues to support living artists in showing and exploring their work, often as it emerges and before others. The ICA has been at the forefront of cultural experimentation since its formation and has presented important debut solo shows by artists including Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen, Richard Prince and Luc Tuymans. More recently Pablo Bronstein, Lis Rhodes, Bjarne Melgaard and Juergen Teller have all staged key solo exhibitions, whilst a new generation of artists, including Luke Fowler, Lucky PDF, Hannah Sawtell and Factory Floor have taken part in exhibitions and residencies.
The ICA was one of the first venues to present The Clash and The Smiths, as well as bands such as Throbbing Gristle. The inaugural ICA / LUX Biennial of Moving Images was launched in 2012, and the ICA Cinema continues to screen rare artists' film, support independent releases and partner with leading film festivals.
Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 11pm.
Exhibitions are open 11am – 6pm, except Thursday, 11am – 9pm.
Entry to the ICA is with Day Membership, set at £1. Day Membership includes access to art exhibitions and displays, as well as use of facilities such as the café bar and free wifi.
- 24 March — 17 May 2015 *on now
FB55 is an archival display of Francis Bacon’s show held at its former premises on Dover Street in 1955. At the time it was Bacon’s first ever solo institutional exhibition in the UK. The presentation in the ICA Fox Reading Room will include a display of documents, installation photographs, press reviews, invitation cards and publications.
Having represented Britain at the Venice Biennale the previous year, alongside Reg Butler, Lucian Freud and Ben Nicholson, surprisingly little is known of about Bacon’s 1955 ICA exhibition. It was organised with the help of philanthropist, collector and ICA founder Peter Watson - then the richest man in Britain whose death a year later was shrouded in mystery.
An inspiration to a younger generation of artists, Bacon stood apart from the more youthful Independent Group (IG) whose direct use of photographic material would eventually become synonymous with the birth of Pop Art. That said, Lawrence Alloway - the leading critic of the day - would later cite Bacon, not Richard Hamilton, as the founding father of Pop Art; possibly in reference to Bacon's dependence on the kind of photographic imagery derived from films, popular magazines and newspapers.
Entry with Day Membership (£1)
Ydessa Hendeles: From her wooden sleep…
- 25 March — 17 May 2015 *on now
In “From her wooden sleep…”, Hendeles draws together disparate elements to compose a tightly choreographed tableau vivant. Continuing her daring explorations of psychologically charged cultural artefacts, Hendeles has staged this show to give visitors an unexpectedly intimate encounter with the work’s many suggestive elements.
Central to the installation is a remarkable and unique collection of 150 wooden artist manikins collected by the artist-curator over thirty years. Ranging in date from 1520 to 1930 and in scale from palm-size to life-size, the manikins surround a lone figure that stands exposed in the crossfire of their gaze. The intense focus of the scenario suggests a community gathering—perhaps in a courtroom, or at an auction, anatomy lesson or drawing class. The result is a multi-layered meditation on belonging.
Hendeles is a pioneering exponent of curating as a creative artistic practice. She is renowned for her large-scale, site-specific curatorial compositions. Her exhibitions are wide-ranging but precise, visually arresting and psychologically complex, but readily engaging to the general public. Pieces from the past are repositioned as keys to unlock the present. Blurring the line between collector, curator and artist, Hendeles has fashioned her own distinctive space in the contemporary art world. “From her wooden sleep…” is an extraordinary development in a singular career.
Entry with Day Membership (£1)