The ICA is a membership institute that promotes and encourages an understanding of radical art and culture. Through a vibrant programme of exhibitions, films, talks and events, the ICA examines recent impulses in artistic production while stimulating debate surrounding the arts. With its critically-acclaimed exhibition and film programme, as well as its Off-Site and Touring strands, the ICA continues to engage new generations of artists and audiences alike.
Founded in 1946 by Geoffrey Grigson, Roland Penrose, Herbert Read, Peter Gregory, E.L.T. Mesens and Peter Watson, the Institute of Contemporary Arts resisted an initial impulse to become a Museum of Modern Art for London, preferring instead to position itself at the forefront of art and culture. Initially conceived with a special focus on artists working across a range of contemporary art forms, the first ICA exhibitions took place in a hired space at the Academy Hall, Oxford Street, before taking up more permanent residence at 17-18 Dover Street, Mayfair, in 1950. During the post-war period, the ICA would significantly respond to developments taking place in the international contemporary art world.