Fox Reading Room presents an exhibition highlighting the ICAs rich heritage as a home for radical contemporary arts and culture. In 1968, the ICA exhibition Fluorescent Chrysanthemum, was the first presentation of experimental Japanese art, music, film and design in Europe showcasing a group of artists never before seen in the UK, including: Kohei Sugiura, Jiro Takamatsu, Ushio Shinohara, Tadanori Yokoo, Seiichi Hayashi, Yoji Kuri, Tatsuo Shimamura.
Fluorescent Chrysanthemum, originally curated by Jasia Reichardt, comprised of contemporary Japanese sculptures, miniatures, posters, graphics, kites, music with visual scores and films. The title referred to the fluorescent effects in many of the works, alongside reference to the Chrysanthemum flower as the Imperial Seal of Japan. The show was divided into sections: Miniatures, Graphics, Posters, Sculptures, Film and Music. Kohei Sugiura designed the exhibition graphics and the highly distinct installation of the show, working closely with Reichardt. The catalogue itself was also innovative, printed on a large folded single sheet in two versions (one black on white, the other white on black), both of which unfolded with the exhibition poster printed on the other side. The 2016 exhibition looks back through this archive material, examining the importance and impact of the 1968 show. Now in its 70th anniversary year, the ICA is extending the research and profiling of its legacy with additional support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Writer and curator Jasia Reichardt was Assistant Director of the ICA from 1963-71, during which time she curated exhibitions such as Cybernetic Serendipity (1968) and Fluorescent Chrysanthemum (1968). From 1974-76 Reichardt was a director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery. The 1968 Fluorescent Chrysanthemum exhibition was supported by Tokyo and Minami Galleries.
Following on from Fluorescent Chrysanthemum, the ICA Fox Reading Room will be presenting Carmel Buckley and Mark Harris: Sparrow Come Back Home (6 December 2016 12 February 2017). Sparrow Come Back Home is the title of a 1962 album by Calypso singer Mighty Sparrow, which points out the irony of being noticed only once he had left Trinidad for the US. The exhibition will show representations of Sparrows records alongside an archive of printed material relating to his music revealing the depth of calypso culture. It will comprise an installation of over two-hundred ceramic tiles, each approximately the size of an LP, depicting the front and back of record covers from Sparrows entire career by artists Carmel Buckley and Mark Harris. The images comprise of photo decals fired onto the tiles, fixing his music into a kind of permanent memorial.