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‘Ikon is intended as an antithesis to exclusive art establishments and galleries … it has been formed because of the need for an accessible place where the exchange of visual ideas can become a familiar reality’. These words ring out of the prospectus for Ikon, published in 1964. They summarise a fundamental proposition that informed the activities of the gallery during its early years, a counteraction to a pervasive cultural conservatism.

Some of the Best Things … marked the 40th anniversary of Ikon Gallery, presenting work by the four founder artists, Jesse Bruton, Robert Groves Sylvani Merilion and David Prentice, alongside work by some of the others selected for the artistic programme during the vital early years: Fred Bazler, Peter Berry, Trevor Denning, Kenneth Hughes, Dinah Prentice, John Salt, Pamela Scott Wilkie and Patrick Venton. The original spirit of the gallery was conveyed through a combination of paintings, sculptures, prints and multi-media works, mostly from exhibitions at the time. Embodying the idealism of the 1960s and the youthful aspiration of the participants, this exhibition exemplified a remarkable chapter in the art history of Birmingham.

Supported by BullRing, Habitat, The John Feeney Charitable Trust and Oxford Exhibition Services, with assistance from Arts and Business.