The History of the ICA

Last night I attended a launch of an excellent new book on the early history of the ICA. The book was largely written by Anne Massey and covers the years from its post-War beginnings up to when it moved from Dover Street to the Mall in 1968.

Peter Watson was heavily involved in the ICA from the beginning until his death in 1956. He influenced a long list of key exhibitions in the 1950s, promoting  his favourite artists such as Wifredo Lam, Matta and Francis Bacon.

The current director, Gregor Muir, has taken the initiative in promoting an interest in the history of the ICA, unlike some of his predecessors. This is a very welcome change. The ICA archives in the Tate are both voluminous and fascinating, as they contain extensive records of key figures in the artistic community for the 1950s and 1960s at least.