Stefan Kalmár

Director of London’s Institute of Contemporary Art

His appointment as cocurator of the roving European biennial Manifesta took him to Marseille this year (it opens in 2020), but Kalmár’s Institute of Contemporary Arts continues to set the conversation in London. The recent Kathy Acker exhibition, in which the writer and feminist icon’s own work was put into dialogue with contemporary artists, is a case in point. It might have split the critics – ArtReview’s writer challenged its ‘hagiography’, The Guardian thought it ‘wild and wonderful’ – but it certainly got people talking. Kalmár has also pursued the ICA’s historic focus on integrating art and life by taking the postshow wind-down to another level: in March Rirkrit Tiravanija installed a permanent sake bar. But it’s not all about kicking back. ‘We are in a time of crisis,’ Kalmár explained in reference to Brexit and the rise of populism. When, in September, Wolfgang Tillmans was announced as chair of the board, Kalmár stated that ‘these are times for artists to lead’.