ICA Scraps Admission Charge to Have a Happy 60th Birthday; Modern Classics: Works Appearing in the ICA Auction Exhibition Include, Clockwise from Left, GP1 by Thomas Scheibitz ( ?) ) ; Ads: Van Heusen ( Ronald Reagan) by Andy Warhol ( 1 ??) ) and This Is Monique No. by Julian Opie ( ) . after the Show All the Works Will Be Sold to Raise Money for the Gallery

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Byline: DANNY BRIERLEY

ADMISSION charges at one of London's best-known modern art galleries have been scrapped.

From today, visitors can view exhibits at the Institute of Contemporary Arts free.

The first show included in the move will be the ICA Auction Exhibition, which opens on 11 September.

It features pieces donated by 36 major artists and their estates, including Howard Hodgkin, Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, Thomas Scheibitz, Julian Opie, Barbara Kruger, Yoko Ono, Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Damien Hirst.

The ICA is hoping that free entry will encourage a surge in visitors. When the National Gallery and British Museum scrapped entrance fees in 2001 their attendances soared by 86 per cent.

Ekow Eshun, the ICA's artistic director, said: "We see the end of the admission charge as a celebratory gesture to mark our 60th anniversary and a significant symbol of the direction in which we intend to develop.

"As of today, the ICA is free to enter for all visitors a confirmation of the continued belief in the open exchange of ideas and attitudes that has always characterised what we do." Only one per cent of the ICA's income comes from admission charges and managers are expecting the loss to be offset by more visitors coming to the gallery and spending cash in the bar, caf? …