30 Days of Philly Arts

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30 Days of Philly Arts: The Institute For Contemporary Art - Day 27

The Institute of Contemporary Art turns 50 this year. It has been the home of cutting edge and controversial art and a significant fixture in the national art landscape since the 1960s.


Located on the University of Pennsylvania campus, The ICA is a non-collecting museum that offers exhibitions of not only what's new in contemporary culture and art, but also deserving art that hasn't had a showcase. The main idea behind the ICA is one of "free for all," that is, free admission and a free exchange of ideas.

Amy Sadao, who took over as Director of the ICA about a year ago, describes it as "not just a place to look at objects, but to have an experience that is aesthetic, intellectual, political, and social--that engages every part of you." For more from Amy Sadao, listen to the XPN Morning Show feature below.

During its entire history, the ICA has been known for its foresight and groundbreaking exhibitions. In the 1960s the ICA gave pop artists Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana their first shows. In the 1980s its exhibition Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment. sparked a major national debate about federal funding for and censorship of the arts.

Running now through December 29th Jason Rhoades, Four Roads is the first major American museum exhibition to showcase this Los Angeles installation artist who gained much critical acclaim during his lifetime, yet remains largely unknown to the American public. The "four roads" are four interpretive paths, each anchored by one of Rhoade's major installations, a design created by ICA Chief Curator Ingrid Schaffner. To find out more about the making of the exhibition, see the video below.

The ICA's 50th anniversary season will continue with a group show curated by artist Kara Walker called Ruffneck Constructivist, featuring challenging work in response to social inequities, and a look back called ICA@50, Pleasing Artists and Publics Since 1963.

You can follow events at ICA on their blog called Miranda.

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