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Art, Sculpture The Mall
4 out of 5 stars
(11user reviews)
© Rob Battersby

Time Out says

Founded in 1947 by a collective of poets, artists and critics, the Institute of Contemporary Arts was intended to drive the London arts scene forward into brave new territory. The ICA has floundered somewhat in recent years, its status as art's rebel institution holding less sway in a scene awash with controversy-seeking work. But if you’re going to call yourself the Institute of Contemporary Arts, you’d better be delivering some seriously edgy, forward-thinking exhibitions, and the ICA has started once again to deliver. This is the place where pop art was invented, and if you catch the right show here, you just might spot the next big art movement.



Address: The Mall
Transport: Tube: Charing Cross
Price: Free
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 12-9pm
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  • Until Sunday January 12 2020
  • Talks and lectures Friday October 25 2019

Users say (11)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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1 of 1 found helpful

I simply love The ICA. I don't pretend for one moment to understand all I see there, but the Cinemas, Galleries and Cafe never fail to intrigue and delight. Last night I joined a Time Out Card curated tour of the "Looks" exhibition. The curator (Juliette, I think) was so eloquent and passionate about her work and the artists on display. The exhibition tackles gender representation in the digital age. Mixed media to include an awesome 20 minute dual-screen film. Fabulous stuff - and left me just in the right mood to walk down the Mall, under Admiralty Arch and into the London night. 


This art space is a tad different. When we first arrived we struggled to even work out if it was free or needed paying for. It turns out it’s free. Huzzah!

We went to see the Forebsic Architecture exhibition which I wasn’t too impressed with at first but gradually got in to. It’s about how they re-map a crime scene space to help them work out what happened accurately. There are a few examples and some I found fascinating whilst others were just a tad yawn with long winded explanations. There is some harrowing stuff in there also as obviously it details crimes so consider yourself warned.

Overall it was an interesting hour or so


One of my happy places in London. 

This is where you find me every week watching films - they curate their cinema with the best in arthouse experience in London. Not just that, you become a member of something because you know the other members are cinephiles who understand cinema is sacred so you don't get anyone eating popcorn or having a chat here once the cinema is darkened.

The programmes that they hold encompasses different, edgier and important topics like consumerism in arts, identity, feminism etc. The exhibitions are also different and brave. 

I like the new cafes - catered now by rochelle.

Unfortunately I am quite unhappy by the new bookshop - it's now smaller and the selection is less enchanting and inviting than before.


First of all, the location (right on the Mall) is excellent. The bookshop should be expanded and the quality of the exhibitions is very hit-or-miss. But the thoughtfulness of the curation and the high standard of the food and cocktails are commendable. 


I'd forgotten about the ICA to be honest - I hadn't been there since my student days and I guess it's because it's not so easy to stumble across and as a Londoner one can often take these older institutions for granted and forget to pay them attention! 

On this occasion I saw a film, in a really nice cinema - though a little bit chilly and certainly expensive at £12 a ticket + booking fee. Under a tenner would make me come back to see a film here, but there are nicer cinemas and nearer to home to see films at if I'm going to pay this price. 

I would pop in for the coffee though (a really nice cafe space with a glass roof) and a browse and I'll keep a look our for future exhibitions and events. There is also a great gift shop and a fantastic selection of books appealing to whatever type of artistic or creative whim takes your fancy. 

The ICA is firmly back on my list now and I shall certainly be making an effort to pop by and see some art or a show or simply grab a coffee after popping by to see The Queen nearby. Hmm.


The Institute of Contemporary Arts is one of those places that you could easily walk past a lot and not realise was there.  It’s in a great location on the Mall and is well worth a visit.  There a a number of exhibitions at any one time and the venue is split into small areas.  There is also cinema on site which shows less mainstream films and a cafe for drinks and snacks.  Entry is only £1 (free for National Art Pass Members).


Aurora @ICA

This was such a great gig.  Aurora played more up tempo tracks than her usual slow and sweet songs (she’s known best in the UK for singing last year’s John Lewis Christmas ad).  The ICA is a small and intimate venue, perfect for an artist like Aurora.  She and her very talented band got the crowd dancing and played a great encore  She is young but her music speaks of an old soul, and her genuine surprise and pleasure at the crowd turning up to see her was so endearing I’m sure she gained many new fans along the way.  Go see her on her tour and download her songs right now, you won’t be disappointed.


The ICA still makes me feel a bit giddy, like the early days of living in London. It's location alone - across from St. James's Park, down from Buckingham Palace and a hop away from Trafalgar Sq - makes it a special place to visit. However, it is instantly less assuming than it's regal neighbours and brings a brilliant slice of culture to central London. Cinema, exhibtion, cafe, shop - you can spend a good few hours in the ICA. Day membership is £1 but you get free access to exhibitions with any cinema ticket so it's well worth having a gander whilst in for a flick.

It's actually quite rare to find a place like the ICA in London. Fair play that London does have places that are quirky yet traditional but the ICA stands out by being exceptionally cool. Having a cinema is definitely an icing on the cake for someone like me who is always craving for a place I could 'escape' to that is cool, understated yet elegant.

Amazing institution with a great film programme - and now a super deal on membership!

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