Ginny Casey & Jessi Reaves, opening reception, 2016. Photo by: Constance Mensh.

The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania believes in the power of art and artists to inform and inspire. The ICA is free for all to engage and connect with the art of our time.

Founded in 1963 by the visionary dean of the school of architecture, Holmes Perkins, who wanted to expose students to what was “new and happening” in art and culture, ICA has developed an international reputation as a preeminent venue for contemporary art and culture. A non-collecting museum, ICA is also one of the only kunsthalles in America. As part of the University of Pennsylvania, our artist-centric program is complemented by the intellectual rigor of a premier academic institution.

Since our founding, ICA exhibitions have aimed to bring under-recognized artists to the attention of the broader world. This was true in 1965 when we organized Andy Warhol’s first ever solo museum show, helping propel him to superstardom; when we presented early shows of artists like Laurie Anderson, Richard Artschwager, Vija Celmins, Karen Kilimnik, Charles LeDray, Barry Le Va, Glenn Ligon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agnes Martin, Damian Ortega, Pepon Osorio, Tavares Strachan, and Cy Twombly; and it remains true today.

It is this continued commitment to both accessibility and risk-taking that prompted New York Times art critic Roberta Smith to declare ICA “among the most adventuresome showcases in the country where art since 1970 is concerned…”


What’s in a name? This question initiated our investigation into ICA: how it came to be, what it means now, and how we might imagine it in the future. In turn, we wanted to learn what the language in our name—specifically the notion of an ‘institute’—conjures for the public. With our desire to think critically about the trajectory of our own institution, within its specific moment and locale, we also felt the need to situate ourselves by considering how we relate to and differ from other organizational models. I is for Institute is a collaborative project that documents informal conversations with colleagues working in contemporary arts organizations internationally about their perspectives on their work. You are invited to follow the project as it unfolds over time and participate in an ongoing dialogue about what contemporary arts institutions are today, and hopefully what they can be tomorrow.

Follow the project here.


Jill Katz
Director of Marketing & Communications
(215) 573-9975

David E. Simon

Bryan S. Verona
Lise Wilks

Danielle M. Anderman
Pamela Toub Berkman
Julie L. Bernstein
Charles X Block
Catherine Carrafiell
Jung Chai
Theodore Coons
Christopher J. D’Amelio
Carol T. Finley
Glenn Fuhrman
Andrea B. Laporte
Marc J. Leder
Josephine Magliocco
Hilarie L. Morgan
Midge G. Palley
Lori W. Reinsberg
Allison Rubler
Katherine Sachs*
Ella B. Schaap*
Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw**
Brett Sundheim
Lisa A. Tananbaum
Stephen R. Weber
Caroline Gittis Werther

* Emerita
** Ex-officio

Interim Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director
Marc J. Leder Director of Curatorial Affairs
Daniel and Brett Sundheim Chief Curator
Director of Marketing & Communications
Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE60) Curator
Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator
Chief Preparator & Building Administrator
Assistant Director of Development & Alumni Relations