• 16 Feb 2018

On April 21st, 2018, the VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) Institute for Contemporary Art will inaugurate its very first exhibition. Located in Richmond, Virginia’s capital city, not far from Washington DC, the museum is listed among the most anticipated institutions on the American soil. What is at stake?

This picture by Iwan Baan represents the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, Virginia to open in April 2018.

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond, Virginia © Iwan Baan

A one-of-a-kind architecture

The design of the building that is the home of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) was entrusted to Steven Holl Architects. As a result, the prestigious architecture magazine the Architectural Digest selected it to be part of the list of the “12 most anticipated buildings in 2018”. Indeed, according to the magazine, the Institute will be one of the few buildings around the world which will “create an identity for its home city”. The total cost of the building reached 41 million dollars and houses 10,200-square-feet of exhibition galleries, a 240 seats auditorium, an outdoor garden and 4 green roof tops. The symmetrical layout of the building’s outdoor façade is balanced with the inside scenery. Indeed, the layout enables the building to save energy and makes it eco-friendly. Located in the city of Richmond, one of the top 25 most economically dynamic cities in the United States, the Institute is to open in April 2018.

This picture by Iwan Baan represents the inside of the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, Virginia.

Inside of the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond, Virginia © Iwan Baan

The new museum’s ambitions

The VCU Institute for Contemporary Art is a non-collecting art institution. However, the idea is to promote both emerging and renowned Artists on the local and international scenes. As a result, the inaugural exhibition entitled “Declaration” puts together 33 emerging and established Artists from Richmond and around the world. A third of the Artworks will be premiered at the Institution. Among them, there are Art installations especially created for the occasion by Artists Peter Burr and Porpentine Charity -Heartscape, Paul Rucker, and Stephen Vitiello. The exhibition aims at exploring the way contemporary Art responds to social crisis. Art performances will also take place all around the city concurrently to the exhibition. Such an ambitious project will last until September 9th, 2018. A program that includes a conferences and panel discussions has been implemented around the exhibition and the building’s design.

This still image is extracted from the Art video Land Dive Team: Bay of Fundy by Artist Hope Ginsburg.

Land Dive Team: Bay of Fundy, 2016 Video still Image courtesy of the artist © Hope Ginsburg

A vision focused on the common good

In her recent declarations to the press, VCU Institute for Contemporary Art Chief Curator Stephanie Smith said that the exhibition was entitled “Declaration” because “declarations are strong statements that mark beginnings, clarify intentions and propose a social contract”. As a result, the exhibition will be deeply rooted in the local context and yet engaged in global crisis. In fact, as stated by the curator: “Declaration affirms the ICA’s commitment to researching, supporting and sharing projects that strengthen the common good”. The VCU School of the Arts which is ranked first among the American public schools of Art and Design, will actively participate in the cross cultural dialogue initiated by the museum it is also an opportunity to provide Artists with a space they need to express themselves. Art-Trope was founded by an Artist for worldwide Artists to fight against their isolation and their social crisis. Indeed, the humane value is at the core of its action.

Read our article about the first exhibition of sculptor Minh Châu, an Art-Trope Artist, at the Art Capital Art fair at the Grand Palais here.

Sources: Richmond Times Dispatch, CBS 6, and ICA