Stefan Kalmár

Director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Art

Kalmár made much of his desire, when taking over London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2016, to reassert the radical founding spirit of the institution. The programme over the past year has been widely acclaimed, with major exhibitions by Julie Becker, Metahaven, Forensic Architecture and Seth Price – incorporating a design studio, investigative journalism and, in Price’s case, a practice so diffuse as to resist any kind of categorisation – once again asking questions of what belongs, literally and metaphorically, in a contemporary art space. The commitment to experiment has also been reflected in an ambitious events programme – of which Chelsea Manning’s first UK appearance was surely the pièce de résistance – featuring roundtables, panel discussions, poetry readings, study groups and ‘discursive platforms’, as well as a wide-ranging and diverse cinema programme. The upshot is that, in a generally risk-averse climate, Kalmár has reestablished the ICA as London’s most imaginative and critically engaged public venue.