Institute of Contemporary Arts in London

Institute of Contemporary Arts in London

The Institute of Contemporary Arts is an artistic center in London. The institute has a history that is deeply connected to the modern art movement, and especially to Pop Art specifically.

In fact, it was in a lot of ways foundational in the establishment of the Pop Art movements. aMany artists who exhibited their art or gave lectures in this institute moved on to spread Pop Art across the waters into North America. It was the launching point for the Brutalist style of architecture, as well as for Op Art, a style of art that makes heavy use of optical illusions.

The institute was first established in 1947 modern artists and modern art critics at the time. Their initial exhibitions dealt with African tribal art and Cubism that was popular in the modern art world in Europe at the time. It exhibited the works of famous artists such as Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso. It was the meeting place of the members of the Independent Group. The IG were important figures in the emergence of Pop Art in the early 1950's. It was home to the historically important art exhibition This is Tomorrow. The show displayed some of the earliest examples of Pop Art that the world had ever seen. Plus the works of some artists who would later become well-known. This famous exhibition was so popular that nearly 1,000 visitors per day came to view the collection at ICA during its run. The catalog for the exhibitions was reprinted and sold out many times. As such, ICA is considered to be the birthplace of many art movements, but especially the Pop Art movement.

Some of the famous exhibitions that have taken place there besides This is Tomorrow include:

  • 40 Years of Modern Art, they're the first exhibition.
  • 40,000 Years of Modern Art, another early exhibition which offered tribal art as well as art that was “modern” in the usual sense.
  • Sixteen Young Sculptors
  • Many more exhibitions and events that launched movements in modern art.

In addition to these exhibitions, the institute has always had a focus on furthering education and discussing the trends of modern art as they are unfolding. Because of this, it has held many lectures and symposiums over the years. Mostly about some aspect of art, whether technical or philosophical. Many notable artists of many mediums such as Richard Hamilton and even Yoko Ono have contributed to this end. In the earlier days of the institution, many lectures on Pop Art were given, including by now notable art critics such as Lawrence Alloway, who was a foundational voice in the movement.

When Can You Visit?

Indeed, you can actually visit this historical landmark of sorts and view modern exhibitions today. ICA is closed on Mondays, but it is open from 11 AM to 6 PM the rest of the days of the week (with extended hours on Thursdays). Entry to ICA is merely 1 GBP per day, and this price allows you all-day access as a “day membership.” It is free for those under 18 or those visiting on Tuesdays, however. Alternatively, you can buy more long-term memberships that support the institute and which also offer you extra perks and discounts when you visit.


Gallery informations

Institute Of Contemporary Arts
The Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5AH, UK
020 7930 3647
Charing Cross
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