Founded in 1936 as the Boston Museum of Modern Art — a sister institution to New York’s MoMA – the museum was conceived as a laboratory where innovative approaches to art could be championed. The museum established a reputation for identifying important new artists, and in pursuit of this mission, eventually parted ways with MoMA and changed its name to the Institute of Contemporary Art in 1948. As the ICA’s reputation grew around the nation, it paved the way for other institutes and museums of “contemporary art” as well as artists’ spaces and alternative venues.
The Institute of Contemporary Art strives to share the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, provocation, and imagination that contemporary art offers through public access to art, artists, and the creative process.
The primary activities of the ICA are threefold:
To present outstanding contemporary art in all media, including visual art exhibitions, music, film, video, and performance, that is deserving of public attention and has not been presented in depth to Boston audiences
To provide innovative experiential learning opportunities for people of all ages through direct encounters with artists and art-making
To design interpretative programs that provide context for, develop appreciation of, and add meaning to contemporary art and culture.