The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) London has appointed Stefan Kalmár as their new Director. He will take up his new role in November 2016, and succeeds Gregor Muir, who joins Tate as Director of Collection, International Art in January 2017. Stefan joins the ICA at an exciting time for the organisation, as it enters the next decade of its 70-year history.
Stefan comes to the ICA from Artists Space, New York, where he has been Executive Director & Curator since 2009. Under his leadership, Artists Space has become one of the most innovative contemporary arts organisations in New York, widely praised for the integrity and critical rigour of its programming. Exhibitions during his tenure supported and introduced artists at decisive moments, including: Marc Camille Chaimowicz (2009), Danh Vō (2010), Charlotte Posenenske (2010), Duncan Campbell (2012), Bernadette Corporation (2012), Sam Pulitzer (2014), Hito Steyerl (2015), Laura Poitras (2015), Cameron Rowland (2016) and Lukas Duwenhögger (2016).
Despite having joined Artists Space in the midst of the biggest post-war recession, Stefan succeeded in strengthening the Board and introducing a second venue, Artists Space Books & Talks, which has become a central platform for critical discussion in contemporary art and culture. Under his leadership, the Artists Space programme has expanded and the organisation’s annual income has trebled.
Prior to joining Artists Space, Stefan was Director of Kunstverein München (2004-2009), Director of the Institute of Visual Culture, Cambridge, UK (2000-2004), and Artistic Director at Cubitt Gallery, London (1997-1999).
Stefan Kalmár said: “I’m honoured to be joining the ICA, and am looking forward to shaping the Institute’s future. There really is no other organisation like the ICA – indeed it is the birthplace of all ICA’s. 70 years ago its founders had the simple yet powerful vision of an organisation in which different modes of cultural production could thrive on their engagement with each other. Historically, the ICA has always critically reflected on the role that contemporary art and culture play in the larger socio-economic conditions of their times. Facing today’s complex local and global challenges, the ICA’s outspoken voice is needed more than ever, and by placing artists and ideas at the heart of all our programming decisions, I believe the ICA has all the tools to be that unique, utopian model – simply one of the most progressive organisations for the 21st Century!”
Alison Myners, Chair of the ICA Council, said: “We are truly delighted to welcome Stefan Kalmár as Director of the ICA. Stefan has had an extraordinary impact in the cultural world through his time in London, Germany and New York. His longstanding relationships with artists and art audiences alike, outstanding exhibition programming and his passion for addressing social issues will bring a wealth of excitement, energy, and vitality to the ICA. He is a true innovator. I look forward to working with Stefan as we build upon Gregor Muir’s achievements as Director and develop plans for the ICA’s future.”
Commenting on the appointment, artist Liam Gillick said: “Stefan Kalmár has always demonstrated an unerring commitment to cultural expression in its most radical forms. He stands next to artists and thinkers, fighting for spaces of action, articulation and difference.”
Peter Heslip, Director of Visual Arts at Arts Council England, added: “We look forward to working with Stefan as new Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. In his time at Artists Space and Kunstverein Munich he demonstrated a commitment to supporting artists and a distinctive vision.”