Message from the Director
Photo: David Kelley
The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania is a place to encounter art that urgently needs to be seen. Our curators seek work that illuminates our contemporary moment, that challenges us to think in new ways. We believe this is how it should be at an art museum on a university campus, where new ideas and free exchange flourish.
“Free For All” is an idea in constant circulation here. It tells you, for one thing, that the museum is admission-free, welcoming everyone to come back again and again. It also describes ICA as a space where ideas are freely expressed and shared—where excitement and challenge animate the galleries. We hope you experience ICA as a space apart from the everyday: a place for contemplation and inquiry. For us, ICA is not just a place to look at objects, but to have an experience that’s aesthetic, intellectual, political, and social—that engages every part of you. That’s the kind of community we are building here. We hope you’ll want to be part of that.
We hope, as well, that you will come to ICA with high expectations—for us and the work we present, but also for yourself. Engage with what is difficult and daring! A work of art has the power to transform people, and through people, the world. We do the work we do every day with this goal: that the art you experience at ICA will change the way you see and think about the world.
The Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director