March 26, 2017

Opening date announced for VCU Institute for Contemporary Art

Designed by Steven Holl Architects, the building is set to serve as a gateway between the university and city. It will open its doors in October.

Photo: Steven Holl Architects

Virginia Commonwealth University announced an opening date for its new Institute for Contemporary Art this week. The forthcoming noncollecting contemporary art institution designed by Steven Holl Architects will open in October. The ICA’s inaugural exhibition, “Declaration,” will explore contemporary art’s power to catalyze change, and will feature painting, sculpture, multimedia works, site-specific installations and time-based performances by emerging and established artists.

Featuring new work by artists from around the globe, including Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., Marinella Senatore, Tania Bruguera, and Paul Rucker, the exhibition will also include artists from Richmond’s vibrant arts community, such as VCU School of the Arts professor Stephen Vitiello and VCU alumnus Levester Williams. Examining themes of protest, social justice, connection and creative community, “Declaration” will remain on view through February 25th, 2018.

The $41-million, three-story Markel Center, home of the ICA, is located at the intersection of Richmond’s historic Belvidere and Broad streets, one of the city’s busiest junctures. The ICA provides a striking new gateway for Richmond, with dual entrances opening to the city’s arts district on one side and VCU’s Monroe Park Campus on the other.

Free of charge to all visitors, the ICA will be a significant new cultural resource for Richmond and VCU, in direct dialogue with the VCU School of the Arts, currently the number one ranked public school of art and design in the United States.

With nearly 41,000 square feet of flexible space, including an inviting 33-foot high central forum, the ICA will feature a dynamic slate of changing exhibitions, performances, films and interdisciplinary programs. Its fluid spaces are designed to support the diverse practices characteristic of the art of today, mirroring VCU’s interdisciplinary approach and supporting the varied needs of contemporary art and audiences.

“We are thrilled to unveil the ICA in October,” said Lisa Freiman, director of the ICA. “Steven Holl Architects’ design provides a platform for deep experimentation and engagement. I am eager to open the ICA to our neighbors in Richmond, the VCU community and the world as a welcoming forum for collaboration and dialogue. Our diverse program will introduce visitors to artists from around the world, offering a variety of perspectives to inspire new ways of thinking, create meaningful connections and explore the central issues of our times. These aims are exemplified in our opening exhibition, ‘Declaration,’ which considers the roles of art, artists and cultural institutions in times of intense debate and social change.”

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