End of an Era

ICA Informs Staff of Possible May Closure

The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London may have reached the end after more than 60 years, as staff members received a warning that the institution could close by May. With a financial deficit nearing $1 million that could rise to $1.92 million, staff met last month with ICA council members Alan Yentob, the BBC creative director, and Tessa Ross, Channel 4’s head of film and drama, as well as Institute director Ekow Eshun, who explained the economic woes. Eshun also told disgruntled staffers their $4 million bill would be reduced to $1.6 million in order to attempt to save the struggling British cultural organization. ICA management said it is looking into staff redundancies, a process scheduled to be completed by the end of March. After bringing avant-garde art to Britain in 1947, the museum become the stomping grounds of radical artists showing pop and abstract works. But in the years that have followed, the museum has lost its purpose as contemporary art entered the mainstream. “When trouble emerged and financial problems surfaced because of the recession, it was as if we had been ambushed from every side,” Yentob said.