A must-visit for fans of contemporary art, this critically acclaimed space has hosted works by world-famous artists and local creatives alike
IKON, the beating heart of contemporary art in Birmingham, spent the early days of its half-century existence hopping all over the city. Since 1997, however, it has been settled into its permanent home in a striking neo-gothic building in Brindleyplace.
Set up by a group of creatives from the Birmingham School of Art, Ikon has long offered programmes that mix the local with the international. It has displayed work from world-famous Cuban artists such as Carmen Herrera, and also afforded Birmingham artists a critically adored space in which to increase their profile – Richard Billingham’s exhibition at the gallery, for example, saw him shortlisted for the Turner Prize.
Reached via Martin Creed’s singing lift, the main gallery is spread out across two floors to allow room for larger conceptual pieces, while the smaller Tower Room is often utilised for multimedia work. IKON is also committed to offsite work, even taking art out on to the region’s canal network, while the gallery’s independent bookshop attracts hordes of art students. It doesn’t skimp on the food and drink either – IKON’s café, a joint venture with Birmingham’s Opus restaurant, offers some British classics at reasonable prices.
1 Oozells Square
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sun 11am-6pm|
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