How do you define art?
The ICA’s answer is… don’t bother.
Neither a museum nor an art gallery, The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) is quite difficult to define (which is – oooooooh – what defines it). Dubbed by its director Stefan Kalmár as a space that “contextualises contemporary culture within the socio-political conditions of the time” it’s a mildly off-centre choice when trying to decide how to get your culture fix.
Positioned on The Mall – Buckingham Palace’s humble driveway – The ICA has views of some of London’s most iconic places: Big Ben, The London Eye, St. James’s Park and The Mall (obviously) can all be seen from the Regency era building.
The ICA’s been a hub of contemporary art since 1968. Complete with gallery spaces, a studio, a theatre and two cinema screens, there’s a variety of stuff on offer that’s split into four categories: films, talks and learning, live, and exhibitions. The work crosses a variety of media including immersive art installations, performance art, multimedia exhibitions, films, gigs and fashion shows – it reeeeally is the kind of place that switches it up. To find out what’s on currently, check out their website here.
If you get a bit tired / bored / weirded-out / seasick / over excited / sad (all are possible here), The ICA also boasts arguably the best restaurant-located-within-an-institute going (if IKEA doesn’t count): the wonderful Rochelle Canteen, owned by Margot Henderson of St. John’s fame.
Go hungry for culture…
…leave full of pie.
NOTE: The ICA is open Tuesday-Sunday, 12-9pm (with the restaurant & bar open later). Exhibitions are free entry on Tuesdays – find out more, and book tickets, HERE.
Institute of Contemporary Arts | The Mall, St. James’s, SW1Y 5AH
Like contemporary art? Why not check out the Saatchi Gallery…