Anna McNay

Review of FB55 in the Fox Reading Room, ICA



Fox Reading Room, ICA

24 March – 17 May 2015

This was supposed to be a small but
fascinating celebration of the 60th anniversary of Francis Bacon’s first exhibition at the ICA. Instead,
the business of curating the show became for Gregor Muir, the ICA director, a
mystery of the disappearing archive. “I
had hoped to show installation shots, I had hoped to show photos of Bacon at
the ICA, and I had hoped to present a room in which I could show what the exhibition
looked like,” he explains, “but that was, in the end, impossible.”

For whatever reason, there is
scarcely any documentation of the 1955 exhibition. Muir
scoured the ICA archives from the time, now held at Tate, but all he could find
was a test print of an invitation card (through sheer luck, he later chanced on
an actual card in a nearby bookshop); the press release; a list of works; and
one photograph of an ICA employee standing in front of one of the works,
hanging in the then Dover Street Market premises.

So why persist in making a show out of, well, virtually

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