The Institute of Contemporary Arts has followed its bigger cultural brethren and abandoned the entrance fee. Previous visitors to the reclusive gallery on the Mall had been forced to hand over £3 to access exhibitions and the cafe - not a huge sum, but enough to dissuade the penny-pinching types. From today, though, access is free before 11pm. Artistic director Ekow Eshun got in his entry for Pseud's Corner early, describing the decision as "a confirmation of the continuous belief in the open exchange of ideas and attitudes that has always characterised what we do". Quite.
The Institute, which has just concluded its 60th birthday celebrations, credits the support of Westminster Council and loyal ICA Members for allowing them to do this. You could do worse than thank them by buying a membership - £35 (£25 concessions) still gets you discounted tickets on all films and talks, exclusive preview film screenings, 10% off at the excellent bookshop, and now, 10% off drinks and food at the bar.
The first show in the fee-free era will be an Auction Exhibition which starts on 11th September, featuring work by the likes of Jake & Dinos Chapman and Yoko Ono. The auction moves to Sotheby's in October, and proceeds from the sold art will raise funds for the Institute.