Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

I C A – T T F N……?

Posted by cathedralofshit on January 25, 2010

So, as exclusively (along with the few dozen people who let us know) revealed in CoS, the ICA is the deep doggie-do as reported by Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian on Saturday:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2010/jan/23/ica-closure-threat

Director, Ekow Eshun blames “a perfect storm” of events which includes a half a million plus loss on the fund-raising auction, a shortfall on venue-hire and sales dipping at the bookshop. Now, CoS are no financial wizards – nor indeed do we have the financial experience of the esteemed ICA board (come in Alan Yentob!) – but does deciding to hold an auction, projecting wild sales and hoping that a couple of patrons will go stir-crazy and bid a few hundred thousand for an Enrico David sketch strike you as a sensible financial strategy? Or indeed hoping for a bumper year of wedding-hires or indeed sales of cultural theory from the bookshop to suddenly go bananas?

However perhaps a more pertinent question is about Eshun’s claim about a “renewed vision”. Whilst everyone (well not everyone, but you know, everyone in this wireless cafe on Broadway Market) agrees that the ICA was a vital presence from 1947 to the 1990s, it would be good to hear exactly why we need the ICA anymore – it’s hardly as if central London is starved of contemporary practice after all.

One Response to “I C A – T T F N……?”

  1. Arse Council said

    Some of these reports have suggested poor management by senior staff and board of trustees.. But I’ve heard from various sources that it has been much worse than reported.. (Speak to anyone who has worked at the ICA in the past 10 years and they nearly always say what a joke operation it is.) And with the current situation, the question must be asked – why is Ekow Eshun and the board of trustees still in post?

    Someone at the ICA told me that the development team had provided unrealistic targets which the organisation had based their spend on and took these figures as real. But whats worse is that it does not appear that the ICA had the correct systems in place to monitor the finances.. Surely an arts organisation the size of the ICA should have these in place? Its one of the main responsibilities of the board of trustees to ensure the correct financial management of the charity. How did all this escape senior staff and the board.. And why did the Arts Council not step in earlier? Perhaps if they had some forsight they might have not had to give out such a massive bail out..

    I also heard that ACE have been protecting Eshun somewhat as it would be damaging for ACE for him to be seen as failing. Being seen as a golden boy, with a high media profile, sitting on the arts council board and a figurehead of (supposed) diversity, he just cant be seen to be lacking in ability.

    So these idiots are still in place.. nice comfort for the staff who are losing their jobs.

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