ICA at VCU Celebrates 5 Years of Challenging The Conversation


Friday, April 21st is the 5th anniversary of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA at VCU). Designed by Steven Holl Architects, this iconic arts center has evolved into a creative hub for Richmond, Virginia, showcasing cutting-edge exhibitions, performances, films, and special programs that challenge and inspire. The ICA at VCU has helped transform the city’s understanding of contemporary art, creating dialogue and collaboration across the region that reaches around the world.

The ICA has been a cornerstone of Richmond’s artistic community since its opening in 2018. From the striking zinc and translucent glass exterior to the sweeping grand staircase, the building’s innovative design has garnered international attention. Named one of Architectural Digest’s “12 Most Anticipated Buildings of 2018,” the ICA has become an emblem of Richmond’s new cultural identity.

Throughout its five-year history, the ICA has commissioned works from a diverse range of artists and performers, including Nidaa Badwan, Tania Bruguera, Chim Pom, and GWAR. These collaborations have challenged boundaries and expanded our understanding of what art can be. With exhibitions like Declaration and So it appears, the ICA has fostered creativity and imagination, and with projects like MURRMUR, the institute continues to redefine our relationship with art, reading, and publishing.

The celebration will feature a visual history of the ICA’s development, with a conversation between architect Steven Holl, project architect Dimitra Tsachrelia, ICA Executive Director Dominic Asmall Willsdon, and other key figures. Attendees can also engage in interactive programs like MURRMUR, a series of events that explore collective reading and publishing, and new commissions such as Sam Taylor’s Materials Library, nicole killian’s between a book and a soft place, and Riley Hooker’s SIT(UATION).

ica at vcu 5 years
”The World We Want is Us”, Southerners On New Ground (SONG) members Shazza Berhan and Laura Chow Reeve,in conjunction with InLight. Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Markel Center, (November 2020)

The ICA at Five: a Visual History
Take a look back at how our unique space has transformed over the past five years of innovative programming. Internationally acclaimed architect Steven Holl, designer of this landmark building, will hold a conversation over images with project architect Dimitra Tsachrelia and ICA Executive Director Dominic Asmall Willsdon. Pam Kiecker Royall, chair of the ICA Advisory Board, and Michael Rao, president of Virginia Commonwealth University, introduce the event.
Location: Auditorium

ica at vcu 5 years
MURRMUR: Between A Book And A Soft Place Workshop with Nicole Killian

Engage in modes of collective reading and playful learning with a series of new commissions for MURRMUR. Sam Taylor’s Materials Library, nicole killian’s between a book and a soft place, and Riley Hooker’s SIT(UATION) will be on view along with a performance by artist effie bowen, experimental refreshments from hel cooper, and ambient DJ sets from Via App and LOKA. The artists will be in conversation with ICA Assistant Curator of Commerce and Publications Egbert Vongmalaithong.
Location: ICA Royall Forum and 2nd Floor Terrace

ica at vcu 5 years
Rafael Domenech: The Medium Is The Massage

The Medium is the Massage
Check out artist Vivian Chiu’s intervention in Rafael Domenech’s self-publishing pavilion, The Medium is the Massage, with some of the “sketches” she’s created over the past decade. The artists will be in conversation with ICA Curatorial Fellow Yomna Osman.
Location: True Farr Luck Gallery

ica at vcu 5 years
So it appears

So it appears
Discover the two new works that will be unveiled for our current exhibition, So it appears, both developed in residence at the ICA over the past several weeks. Tricky Walsh will present the final chapter of their kaleidoscopic site-specific commission, The Arpanet, while producer and storyteller Sharon Mashihi will offer an audio response to the exhibition. The artists will be in conversation with ICA Senior Curator Sarah Rifky.
Location: ICA Royall Forum

ICA Shop + Café
Get your raffle ticket for the chance to win a meal-and-drink voucher from the ICA shop, as well as a curated package of books, publications, and more drawn from our programs and exhibitions. Prizes include:
Great Force catalog
Dialogues: Irena Haiduk and Martine Syms artist book
Ind.must.y perfume by agustine zegers
Gaylord Phoenix by Edie Fake
Black Encyclopedia of the Air vinyl record by Moor Mother
The Museum is a School postcard by Luis Camnitzer
The Otolith Group: World 3 artist book
Winners will be contacted after the event.
Location: ICA Shop + Café

6:00 pm The ICA at 5: A Visual History
Architects Steven Holl and Dimitra Tsachrelia in conversation with ICA Director Dominic Asmall Willsdon
Auditorium (30 mins)

7:00 pm MURRMURing* with ICA Assistant Curator Egbert Vongmalaithong, artist and designer nicole killian, and artist Riley Hooker
The Royall Forum

7:30 pm MURRMURing* with ICA Curatorial Fellow Yomna Osman and artists Vivian Chiu
True Farr Luck Gallery (Third Floor)

8:00 pm MURRMURing* with ICA Senior Curator Sarah Rifky, artist Tricky Walsh and audio artist and producer Sharon Mashihi
The Royall Forum

8:30 pm Part Partner, a performance by effie bowen
Second Floor (20 mins) 

*All MURRMURing talks are 10 minutes long.

More information can be found HERE

Main image: Naima Green, Saltwater Gold, 2021, 34 ✕ 34 in. (86.36 ✕ 86.36 cm.). (artwork © Naima Green)

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work: www.majormajor.me

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