Friday, 15 November 2019

The olden days!



Few people now remember, but London's ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) used to be an artist's members club; of which I was a member.

I joined in about 1966, and remained a member until around 1968, when I left to study painting outside of London. The ICA eventually moved from its friendly premises in Dover Street, to Pall Mall where it became an 'Institution'.  The clubs magazine 'Bulletin' was published monthly, and contained interesting articles as well as info about important events. As you might see from the cover, for non-members it cost a Shilling. 

I was just looking at a few of my old 'Bulletins', and was reminded of the hierarchy. Our President was Sir Herbert Read, the Hon Director Sir Roland Penrose, and the director Dr Desmond Morris. All were often present at lectures, exhibitions, or in the bar.

I also notice that our Phone No was Grosvenor 6616....... those were the days!


The Gallery and The Library were exhibition areas. The Gallery was reserved for prestigious exhibitions and concerts, and The Library for us lesser mortals. I exhibited one piece, once, in The Library.

Of course I no longer live in London, but I miss the old ICA anyway. It lost most of its appeal as an artists club when it moved, but in Pall Mall it did become one of the very best exhibition venues.



11 comments:

  1. The SWLA have just had their annual h'exibition at the Mall Galleries....
    Our house is full of art purchased from there over the years.
    I am sitting beside one of the current president's sculptures that I bought just after my brother died... an "aide-memoire"... and one of her first exhibition pieces, Boxing Hares... affectionately known here as the "Scabby Rabbits" sits on top of the fridge-freezer in the centre of our downstairs "sittin', cookin', eatin' area".
    In fact, we've run out of room to hang pictures.... need more wall space!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buy from living artists... they need the money!

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    2. I always buy from local potters, sculptors, etc. We all need to think much more of supporting our local artisans.

      Delete
  2. The Roland Penrose collection in Sussex was mentioned in my History of Art class on Wednesday coincidentally. We were looking at Lee Miller and Man Ray and then later she married Penrose. She seemed to tire of men fairly quickly. I used to go to lectures at the ICA when I was at Chelsea. They still have some good talks there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to attend more lectures at the old ICA than I did exhibitions. Some of it was total rubbish, but they were often wonderful; with fascinating lecturers.

      Delete
  3. I could sometimes be seen floundering in the blue dust of chain smokers at Cafe' Kafka off the Mariahilfer when I was at the height of my limited poetical prowess. You might have missed me if you were fortunate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Café Kafka sounds just perfect. In my Gauloise smoking days, I would have blended quite well.

      Delete
  4. Whitehall 1212. Those were the days indeed. I wonder how many people from 'that era' use their old phone number as a password (and, no, I don't).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I lived in Chelsea my area name was 'Flaxman'. It had such a nice sound to it, you felt proud giving your number to people.

      Delete
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