One of the things I like most about the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) is the location. Listed as being at 12 Carlton House Terrace, what that actually means is The Mall, probably the most famous boulevard in London. Buckingham Palace at one end. Admiralty Arch at the other. St James Park runs down one side and on the other side… that will be the ICA.
Contemporary arts right in the middle of all that history and pageantry. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition and helps to make any visit to the ICA worthwhile.
Founded in 1946 by a group of artists, collectors and critics the ICA often shows artists at the beginning of their careers. Or unheralded artists. Or artists unknown in this country. For example, I went to a Q&A session with a Colombian-based musician about his forthcoming album that was supported by an exhibition of photos of the musicians involved. It was engrossing and fascinating and I’m not sure where else I could have seen it other than the ICA.
While the exhibitions range from a season on the Catalan Avant-Garde to a retrospective on a Vienna-based architectural magazine.
The breadth of what the ICA covers is truly wonderful, as is the book shop at the front of the building and the cafe/bar at the back. So go and enjoy the culture hidden amongst the history.