ICA London Names New Deputy Director and Chief Curator

Stefan Kalmár builds his team ahead of the institution's $15 million makeover.

Katharine Stout. Courtesy YouTube

The Institute of Contemporary Art in London has announced two new appointments after new director Stefan Kalmár recently took up his post. Katharine Stout, who used to be head of programming at the ICA, will become deputy director, and Richard Birkett will become chief curator.

“The ICA’s role as a radical voice in today’s cultural landscape is more vital now than ever and I’m delighted to work alongside Stefan Kalmár, Richard Birkett, and all of the ICA to take the organization into this new and exciting phase of its already extraordinary history,” Stout said in a statement.

During her time at the ICA Stout has curated shows by artists such as Tauba Auerbach, Hito Steyerl, Betty Woodman, and Richard Hamilton.

Before Stout started at the ICA, she was the curator of contemporary art at Tate Britain, where she worked on the Art Now series, Turner Prize exhibitions, and on the collections displays. Prior to that, she worked at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

“Katharine has a great expertise internally at the ICA and with working with institutions in London, she will be my partner in taking the organization strategically forward and in developing the ICA,” Kalmár told artnet News on the phone.

“I will need a strong partner like Katharine as we will be undertaking the first renovation of the ICA since 1968, a £12 million ($15 million) project,” he added.

Birkett follows Kalmár from his prior appointment at Artist Space where he worked under him as a curator. The new position marks a return to the ICA for Birkett, where he worked as curator between 2007 and 2010.

Richard Birkett. Courtesy The ICA

Richard Birkett. Courtesy The ICA

“I am really looking forward to working with Richard at the ICA,” Kalmár enthused. “Richard worked with me for six years in an artistic partnership in New York at Artist Space. Together with Katharine, as a troika if you will, we will build the future of the ICA.”

While at Artist Space, Birkett worked on exhibitions with Bernadette Corporation—who also exhibited at the ICA in 2013—and maker of the Edward Snowden documentary Citizen Four, Laura Poitras.

“For me, the ICA is a proposition formed around social and disciplinary exchange as much as artistic production, offering new understandings of how critical thought intersects with the diverse scope of contemporary culture,” Richard Birkett said in a statement. “I am excited to be re-joining the ICA now as its Chief Curator, and to be working alongside Stefan Kalmár and Katharine Stout.”

As part of their plan for the year, the ICA will also be renovating the bookshop and reinvesting in their now independent cinema, live, and talks program.


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