Ikon announces 50th anniversary celebrations




Ikon celebrates its 50th anniversary during 2014–2015. A series of special exhibitions and events, collectively known as Ikon 50, is planned to mark the milestone year.

Ikon Icons sees a return to Ikon by five key British artists from an exhibition programme that has articulated five decades, each presenting work in the gallery’s Tower Room corresponding to their earlier shows here. John Salt was the first artist to exhibit at Ikon, in April 1965, on the cusp of his embrace of photorealism, whilst Ian Emes’ 1973 film animation heralded the start of a brilliant career that visualised the music of Pink Floyd. In 1988 Cornelia Parker exhibited her seminal work Thirty Pieces of Silver and ten years later likewise Yinka Shonibare’s combination of found objects and African fabric was a defining moment. The new millennium was ushered in by an ambitious programme that included a survey of work by Julian Opie, our Ikon icon of the 2000s.

The gallery programme for Ikon 50 opens in February with the first solo exhibition by Iraqi-Kurdish artist Jamal Penjweny, coinciding with an installation of wall drawings by David Tremlett. Spring 2014 arrives with the work of Belgian artist Michel François in his most comprehensive UK exhibition to date, giving way in the summer to Ikon 1980s, a review of our programme from 1978 to 1989. In September we present the extraordinary sculptural work of Korean artist Lee Bul before the exhibition to celebrate Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2013, Imran Qureshi.

Ikon 50 culminates in early 2015 with an arresting video installation by Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito, foiled by the minimalist aesthetic of Norwegian artist A.K. Dolven, and a Tower Room tribute to Robert Groves, the artist who gave Ikon its name in 1964. Ikon 50 also includes an extensive public programme of talks, events, film screenings and off-site projects, commencing with Midwest to Midville on Monday 3 February 2014. Presented in collaboration with Turning Point West Midlands, this free symposium considers the future of visual arts in the Midlands whilst looking back at the last 50 years.

As part of Ikon 50, Ikon is undertaking its largest fundraising campaign to date, in support of this ambitious programme and in a concerted effort to ensure that Ikon continues to grow, making the very best in contemporary art available to all. To make a donation please visit Ikon 50 Appeal.

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