ICA LA announces Amanda Sroka as its new senior curator

A woman looks into the camera.
Amanda Sroka is ICA LA’s new senior curator.
(Derrick Dean/Derrick Dean Photography)

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles has announced a new senior curator: Amanda Sroka. She comes from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she has served as an associate curator of contemporary art. Sroka replaces former senior curator Jamillah James, who departed for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago earlier this year.

Sroka is a curator, researcher, writer and programmer. Prior to the PMA, where she’s worked since 2014, Sroka was a curatorial assistant at New York’s New Museum of Contemporary Art.

“I am deeply inspired by, and committed to, the power of art to interrogate the complexities of our time and to illuminate our interconnectedness as a people and a world,” Sroka said in Tuesday’s announcement.

The ICA LA, she adds, “is a space that facilitates connection, fosters radical welcome, and amplifies the voices of the marginalized and the emergent. I am thrilled by this opportunity to further the institution’s legacy, to grow its program and publics, and to contribute to embodying and magnifying its mission — a mission centered in care, critique, and community.”


Sroka’s arrival marks “an important moment” for the ICA LA, director Anne Ellegood said in an interview, adding that the institution has set “ambitious goals” and is “poised for long-term growth.” Toward that end, it just completed a six-year strategic plan outlining priorities within five areas of the ICA LA: exhibitions, learning and engagement, facility, communications and visitor experience, and finance and fundraising.

“We did a deep dive into the institution and our vision for the future and what goals we need to set to accomplish that vision,” Ellegood says, “and now we have an incredible roadmap.”

That Sroka comes from the PMA will help accelerate that vision, Ellegood says.

“Amanda has been working at a large institution and she has that institutional knowledge and I felt that was really critical.”

The ICA LA was formerly the non-collecting Santa Monica Museum of Art, which had been located in the Bergamot Station arts complex and fashioned as a European-style kunsthalle, a flexible exhibition space. After the Santa Monica museum closed in May 2015, former director Elsa Longhauser oversaw a soup-to-nuts transformation of the institution. She steered a $5 million fundraising campaign, reorganized the board, hired new staffers and oversaw a relocation to downtown L.A. The firm wHY Architecture, under the direction of Kulapat Yantrasast, renovated the 12,700-square-foot warehouse that now serves as the ICA LA’s new home.

Work by women artists and BIPOC artists, as well as interdisciplinary and collaborative art, was important to Sroka during her tenure at the PMA. She co-organized the museum’s first artist room dedicated to a woman artist: Marisa Merz. She also organized the 2021 traveling exhibition “Senga Nengudi: Topologies,” the first show of its scale at the museum devoted to a Black woman artist.

Sroka also oversaw a joint initiative with the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, in Turin, Italy — called the Future Fields Commission — that commissioned, acquired and exhibited new video, sound, performance and new media work by international artists including Martine Syms, Rachel Rose and Lawrence Abu Hamdan.


“One of the reasons I was so drawn to her is that she has this scope that’s international, in terms of her curatorial interests and expertise, but she roots herself very much in the local at the same time,” Ellegood says of Sroka. “Her dedication to artists working with performance, discursive practices and interdisciplinary practices speaks beautifully to some of the priorities we have as an institution.”

Upcoming fall exhibitions at ICA LA include a 20-year survey of work by Los Angeles-based painter Rebecca Morris, curated by James, and an exhibition traveling to the ICA LA from the Whitney Museum of American Art, “My Barbarian.” That exhibition is also a 20-year survey of work by the three-artist performance collective, My Barbarian.

Sroka assumes her position Sept. 6.