In 2027, the new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) Pittsburgh will open in a 29,000 sq. ft facility opposite the city’s foremost art institution, the Carnegie Museum of Art. The opening will mark a significant increase in visibility and ambition for Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) art gallery, currently known as the Miller ICA and located inside a building close to the heart of campus.
“This new location is a much more public, more urban context,” says ICA director Elizabeth Chodos. “It’s a recognition of our growing role within the city.”
The new gallery spaces will be housed in the Richard King Mellon Hall of Sciences, a $210m construction project for CMU that, across its 338,900 sq. ft, will include classrooms, labs and other facilities for the arts, sciences and technology. “It’s a very Carnegie Mellon, interdisciplinary project,” Chodos adds.
Since its founding in 2000, the Miller ICA has organised and hosted major exhibitions of Jacolby Satterwhite, Andrea Zittel, Dara Birnbaum, Elizabeth Catlett, the Yes Men and others, as well as student exhibitions and iterations of the Pittsburgh Biennial. The new facility will give the ICA a more prominent profile within Pittsburgh’s civic and artistic ecosystem.
“It’s an out-facing door, and a space for the city,” says Charlie White, the head of CMU’s art school. “One of the valuable things an ICA can do is it can move more quickly than a museum, which means it can be more responsive, accessible and porous—it can be risky.”
The new ICA has received $15m in support from two Pittsburgh-based foundations, the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation and Henry L. Hillman Foundation. The space, designed by the firm ZGF Architects, will nearly triple the amount of space currently available in the Miller ICA facility. A gallery within the new facility will be dubbed the “Miller Gallery” in recognition of the founding support provided by benefactors Regina and Marlin Miller.
“Art spaces are often the best places to bring people into proximity and conversation,” Chodos says. “Having a building where just by its nature you’ll have artists, scientists, computer scientists, the general public of Pittsburgh—it’s an opportunity to be in collaboration even more.”
Construction on the ICA’s future home, the Richard King Mellon Hall of Sciences, is expected to begin in the spring of 2024 and last around three years. In the meantime, it will continue to operate in its current space within CMU’s the Purnell Center for the Arts.