Mar 22, 2024 - News

Institute of Contemporary Art celebrates its 10th year

A woman walking in front of the entrance of the ICA in Miami.

The entrance of the Institute of Contemporary Art. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As the Institute of Contemporary Art celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, those at its helm are honoring its accomplishments and looking ahead for what's to come.

Why it matters: "Ten years is a real turning point in the lifetime of any institution," Alex Gartenfeld, the museum's artistic director, tells Axios. "I think this is a moment when we go from being a startup to consolidating our place in the community."

  • This moment is particularly incredible, he says, explaining "there's a generation of young talent [with] a lot of interest in going back in history and telling stories about Miami that haven't been told."

The big picture: ICA is among the most active collecting museums in the country, according to Gartenfeld, and has become known for its collection of emerging practices and artists and intergenerational collections.

  • Miami can be an intimidating city, Gartenfeld admits, so the goal of the museum is not only to keep the doors open but to bring people in.

Flashback: The museum opened in 2014 in the Moore building, which hosted the now-closed Moore Space, before relocating to the Miami Design District in 2017.

  • Since then, it has organized 94 exhibitions, supported more than 1,000 artists, welcomed more than 1 million visitors and launched 10 educational programs.

State of play: The initial years were spent showcasing its ideals to the public — free admission, building its voice and "correcting historical narratives" by showcasing new voices — all elements that remain key to the museum's vision, Gartenfeld says.

  • The museum emphasizes philanthropic leadership, works to remove barriers for access and is committed to being an educational institution, he says.
  • The museum's educational programs include a partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which brings arts education to five public schools, and a university level program with Florida International University.

Between the lines: One of the ways the museum works to correct history is to provide a platform for emerging artists, Gartenfeld says, such as a recent exhibit by Sasha Gordon, whose first solo museum presentation ended March 10.

Friction point: The museum faced scrutiny after the Miami New Times reported this month that ICA had briefly removed a piece from an exhibit depicting prominent Palestinian scholar Edward Said, who died in 2003.

What we're watching: This spring, the museum is organizing a 10-year anniversary collection, which will showcase about 50 works that reflect on what the museum has built over the last decade, plus new commissions that haven't been shown before.


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