Founded in 1963 by the visionary dean of the school of architecture, Holmes Perkins, who wanted to expose students to what was "new and happening" in art and culture, ICA has developed an international reputation as a preeminent venue for contemporary art and culture. A non-collecting museum, ICA is also one of the only kunsthalles in America. As part of the University of Pennsylvania, the artist-centric program is complemented by the intellectual rigor of a premier academic institution.
Since its founding, ICA exhibitions have aimed to bring under-recognized artists to the attention of the broader world. This was true in 1965 when ICA organized Andy Warhol's first ever solo museum show, helping propel him to superstardom; when ICA presented early shows of artists like Laurie Anderson, Richard Artschwager, Vija Celmins, Karen Kilimnik, Charles LeDray, Barry Le Va, Glenn Ligon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agnes Martin, Damian Ortega, Pepon Osorio, Tavares Strachan, and Cy Twombly; and it remains true today.
It is this continued commitment to both accessibility and risk-taking that prompted New York Times art critic Roberta Smith to declare ICA "among the most adventuresome showcases in the country where art since 1970 is concerned…"
History taken in its entirety from Institute of Contemporary Art website.