How art institutions work with their own history
Lecture by Katharine Stout

  • How art institutions work with their own history

    "Cybernetic Serendipity: A Documentation", ICA, London, installation view, 2014, phot. Mark Blower. Courtesy ICA

In connection with the exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity: A Documentation, Katharine Stout, Head of Programme at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, will speak on the significance of recognizing institutional history and context, focusing on the ways in which the ICA has engaged with its own legacy and position within the history of post war British art and cultural history.  

Founded in 1946, the ICA resisted an initial impulse to become a Museum of Modern Art for London, preferring instead to position itself at the forefront of art and culture. Supporting cultural experimentation since its formation, the ICA has presented important debut solo shows by artists including Damien Hirst, Mary Kelly, Steve McQueen, Richard Prince, Fiona Rae and Luc Tuymans. The ICA became known for groundbreaking exhibitions, including those held by members of the Independent Group such as "Growth and Form" (1951) and "Parallel of Art And Life" (1953), as well as "Cybernetic Serendipity" (1968), recalled through the ICA’s touring exhibition, currently presented at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. 

Katharine Stout has been Head of Programme at the Institute of Contemporary Arts since 2013. Previously she was Curator of Contemporary Art at Tate Britain from 1999 to 2013, where she curated numerous commissions, exhibitions and collections displays. In 2001, she co-founded the Drawing Room with Mary Doyle and Kate MacFarlane, now internationally recognized as the major European non-profit organisation for contemporary drawing. Prior to Tate she was the contemporary art consultant at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich where she inaugurated the contemporary art programme, she was also the Director of The Tannery, London in the late 1990s. She studied at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, and the Royal College of Art, London. She has written numerous texts on contemporary British and international art. Her book, Contemporary Drawing: 1960s to now was published by Tate in Autumn 2014.