Bookshop of the Month: The ICA

This month we visit the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London for our regular bookshop of the month feature. The ICA plays host to hundreds of art events each year, and its popular shop is a showcase for books that highlight ideas relating to contemporary culture, from philosophy to feminism. We spoke to David Faulds, manager of the ICA bookshop, about what makes the ICA such a special venue for the arts and books.

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You support an exciting amount of zines and books from smaller imprints. Which ones particularly stand out?

Our two favourite zines at the moment are A-or-ist and the HM Prison Survival guide. We’ve also just started selling A Contemporary Zine which was created by students from the University of Kent’s MA in the Contemporary, which is run in collaboration with the ICA.

In regards of publishers we’re big fans of Copy Press, Test Centre, Banner Repeater and Book Works to name but a few.

The ICA hosts many events, can you name a particular favourite?

We’ve just hosted the incredible Juliet Jacques discussing her new book Trans as part of our Culture Now Friday lunchtime series. Another favourite was back in July when we held Symposium: Bureaucracy which featured the likes of David Graeber, Jeremy Gilbert Mark Fisher and the Booker Prize nominated Tom McCarthy. Over the next few months we’ve got some great events coming up, including: James Meadway, Tony Norfield, Mary Robertson and Nick Srnicek as part of our Radical Thinkers: Crisis Economics panel, Hal Foster discussing Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency, and the launch of Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator.

Your bookshop is situated in an ideal location on The Mall. What’s a good place in the surrounding area to put your feet up with a book?

Well, first choice would have to be the ICA Café Bar, in particular the area we refer to as ‘the snug’ which is the perfect place to sit back with a book and a coffee (or cocktail). We’re also spoilt with St James’ Park and Green Park on our doorstep which – weather permitting – can be peaceful escapes from the city.

What kind can we expect from the ICA bookshop in the future?

We’ve recently launched a fiction and poetry section which we’ll be using to showcase not only the ICA’s historic association with poetry, but also a new generation of emerging authors including works in translation.

As well as focusing on classic theory and new releases our stock is also curated around the ICA programme for we which we’re about to publish reading lists for our autumn exhibitions: Prem Sahib: Side On and Smiler: Photographs of London by Mark Cawson, these will include not only publications linking directly to the artists, but also exploring the themes related to the shows.

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Click here to view more of our Bookshop of the Month features.


Visit the ICA website or follow the ICA on Twitter or Facebook

Opening hours are: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 9pm

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