News Release

Amy Sadao Steps Down as Director of Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania

September 4, 2019
Philadelphia, PA

After more than seven years, Amy Sadao, Daniel W. Dietrich II Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, announces that she is stepping down to pursue new opportunities and personal projects. Under Sadao’s leadership, ICA broadened its critically acclaimed exhibition and publications program, increased attendance and public engagement, and expanded the museum’s digital impact and reach.

“It has been a privilege to work alongside ICA’s Board of Overseers and a spectacularly talented staff. Together, we extended ICA’s bold history as a place to explore the unknown, the poetic, and presented contemporary artists’ affective and political contributions as an admission-free kunsthalle,” said Sadao. “I created and exceeded a strategic plan focused on curatorial excellence, community partnerships, and visitors’ and artists’ experience. I was guided by questions of what a feminist, anti-racist, queer-and trans-embracing contemporary museum would look, feel, and act like. It’s only right that a new director creates the next strategic plan. I am excited to experience the next iteration of ICA. My goals now include a book project on art and community that will examine the efforts to redefine the evolving roles and responsibilities of museums across the country.”

Penn’s Provost Wendell Pritchett has named John McInerney as Interim Director at the ICA. McInerney is currently Executive Director of Penn’s Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, and will continue in that role as he also serves as the ICA’s Interim Director.

Under Sadao’s leadership, ICA presented 51 critically acclaimed exhibitions of underrepresented and overlooked artists. Sadao shepherded 35 publications, among them the award-winning titles Barbara Kasten: Stages and Rodney McMillian. Other key initiatives during her tenure include the development of a new Department of Public Engagement and expansion of ICA’s digital impact and reach.

“We wish Amy the best in her next steps,” Vice Provost for Faculty Anita Allen said. Allen will chair the Provost’s Advisory Committee for the Selection of the ICA Director. Beginning work this month, the Advisory Selection Committee is composed of faculty scholars and artists, staff, alumni, and representation from the ICA Board of Overseers, including: David Hartt, MFA, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Stuart Weitzman School of Design; Sharon Hayes, MFA, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Stuart Weitzman School of Design; Michael Leja, Ph.D., James and Nan Wagner Professor of History of Art; Chair, Department of History of Art, School of Arts and Sciences; Aaron Levy, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Departments of English and Art History, School of Arts and Sciences, Executive Director and Senior Curator, Slought Foundation; Kenneth Lum, MFA, Marilyn Jordan Taylor Presidential Professor of Fine Arts; Chair, Department of Fine Arts, Stuart Weitzman School of Design; Lynn Marsden-Atlass, MA, University Curator and Executive Director, Arthur Ross Gallery; Katherine Sachs, Emeritus ICA Board of Overseers, Emeritus Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania; David Simon, MBA, Managing Director and Partner at Littlejohn & Co, Chair, ICA Board of Overseers; Julian Siggers, Ph.D., Williams Director, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology; and Bryan Verona, MBA, Board of Overseers, Founder, President, and Co-Portfolio Manager, Vanadium Capital Management, LLC. Added Allen, “Penn is fortunate to have retained Russell Reynolds to assist with the search, guided by Laurie Nash and Michael Singleton.”