Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Posts Tagged ‘Ekow Eshun’

Port in a Storm…

Posted by cathedralofshit on March 30, 2011

Gorn, but not forgortten… as the ACE cuts info floods in (believe us, the CoS office today is like a 1980s telethon, complete with Angela Rippon and Michael Aspel on the phones), news has reached the delicate ears of CoS regarding Ekow Eshun’s new job.
Despite being responsible for today’s 42% cut in the ICAs portfolio funding, he’s landed a new position;

British Writer and Journalist Ekow Eshun has been appointed Culture Editor at PORT magazine. He was previously Artistic Director at the Institute of Contempory Arts. Book reviews or any culture-related information can be sent to Ekow, who can be reached at”

So readers, please, do send Ekow culture-related information at your leisure.

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Not me, guv.

Posted by cathedralofshit on December 2, 2010

I imagine that you may be tired of hearing about Ekow Eshun’s adventures at the ICA, but stay with us a moment…
Here’s an extraordinary piece of attempted sympathy-gathering.

It contains a rather unbelievable paragraph:

“…He became executive director in November 2009, but the ‘perfect storm’ blew up well before then. ‘Did you have financial responsibility for the ICA when everything went wrong, from October 2008 to October 2009?’ … Eventually he says, ‘No.’ Was it you who hired 110 people to work for the ICA? ‘No.’ Well, I ask, why are you getting the blame?…”

It is basically saying that while he was co-directing the ICA with the Managing Director (Guy Perricone, who left in October 2009) he had no responsibility for the budgets or hiring at the organisation. This is an extraordinary claim, and simply not true.

Interestingly though, it seems that when Ekow gave this interview he broke the terms of his ‘negotiated exit’ agreement with the board, which included a clause about consulting with them about statements to the press. So he has now been given his marching orders by the new chair, and it sounds like he will now be leaving much earlier than the March date that had been agreed as part of the golden handshake.

Bye Ekow! Thanks for the memories!

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Au revoir.

Posted by cathedralofshit on August 28, 2010

FINALLY. Eshun and Yentob have now left the building.
It’s a shame they’ve left it until there is pretty much only a building left.

À bientôt, fellers.

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Save the arts(?)

Posted by cathedralofshit on August 26, 2010

We have just been sent some rather dated minutes from a VALS meeting. Indeed – a leaked document. We’re like SPIES.

VALS is an arts advocacy group of art pros patched together to petition the government to tell them how important the arts are. All of these people stand to lose out when the cuts are imposed. Erica Boulton will be fucked because PR consultancy will be the first to go with budget cuts, Ralphy can’t sell tickets (a quote from an emailed comment on his programme: “Ralph’s painfully populist program is failing to deliver paying audiences as British audiences aren’t as stupid as Americans and know when they’re being patronised”). JPJ has courted the private sector so extensively to pay her and HUO’s 100k+ salaries and annual tea-party pavilion that the government has probably realised they can accommodate the cuts fairly easily. God forbid they cauterise Julia’s champers fund.

The minutes we were sent were such an embarrassing insight into whose hands the attempt to stifle cuts are in (though, to be fair, some of the more useful members of the group were absent) at first we didn’t dare print it. And, unusually diplomatically of us, we didn’t want to stymie potential saving the arts attempts. We’re the first to agree that something has to be done, but really, well, we think we may be screwed.
Leaving disaster aversion of the future of the arts in the hands of Julia Peyton Jones, Ekow Eshun and Erica Bolton may not bode well for us all.

Now, thanks to the release of David Shrigley’s animation (more on this later, next post), encouraging us to sign this petition and save the arts, we thought we’d publish them.
God help us all.

VALS Advocacy Working Group
16 July 2010 – Southbank Centre Offices

Attendees: Erica Bolton, Julia Peyton Jones, Ralph Rugoff, Luisa Summers (minutes)
Apologies: Iwona Blazwick, Ekow Eshun, Jonathan Harvey, Matthew Slotover, Polly Staple

Ralph Rugoff was pleased to welcome Erica Bolton to the VALS Advocacy Group discussions.

Erica Bolton gave a brief overview on the new government and the implications of the suggested cuts. It is realistic for the Culture sector to accept cuts of 10% or at worst 15% but cuts of suggested 25-30% would mean closure of arts organisations. [CoS: this is before the news came that we are looking at more like 40% cuts].

EB stressed that an appeal against cuts needed to be made directly to David and Samantha Cameron. Both David Cameron and Nick Klegg [CoS: Klegg?! Typo lol.] have children and will be more sympathetic towards Arts. [CoS: ?! WHAT?!]

Following discussions from the previous Advocacy meeting regarding a quick turnaround project conversation resumed:

Timings for quick turnaround project –

EB explained that the allocation of funding for DCMS will be decided by September 2010 and announced on 22 October 2010. It is important to continue with the appeal against cuts in an attempt to influence DCMS’ decision of how to allocate money between Arts, Sport, Media and Tourism.

Ideas –

1. 20 Leading Artists appeal to the Prime Minister (this could be Visual Artists only).
– Press would love this.
– Actors and Actresses could be invited, including: Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen, Judy Dench, Helen Mirren, David Tennant (for wide public appeal).
– Artists who could be invited, including: David Hockney, Anish Kapoor, Bridget Riley, Lucian Freud.

2. Personal emails to Samantha Cameron from top visual artists. [CoS: Dear Sam. I love your notebooks. Please save our arts].

3. Day of Action (Cross London Event idea)

4. Childrens’ Art Sleepover
– One night of sleepovers for children in every major art organisation.
– Volunteers to run these nights as service to the public
– Creates great press coverage
[CoS: this is great. We have visions of HUO shepherding twenty angry London teens around the park at 2am trying to confiscate their bottles of vodka]

5. Artists Petition No. 10
– An overnight vigil by artists outside No. 10 [CoS: Count us IN. We love a vigil. We’ve got our sleeping bags at the ready. Just say the word and we’ll all be there]

6. Business People
– Business people and entrepreneurs to send emails and petition on behalf of arts.

Slogan –

A slogan is needed for the appeal like ‘Cut us but don’t kill us’. EB suggested inviting Tim Delaney and John Heggarty to a session to help formulate this.
The slogan is for the public and not the government.

Areas to promote in campaigns –

1. Britain is rubbish at football, tennis, most things . . . [CoS: see next post on Shrigley film.]
2. Art & Culture is what Britain does best . . .
3. The fear factor . . . Britain would lose its world-leading position in the cultural field after radical cuts to the arts.

Series of Campaigns with Artists – leading to actions

David Shrigley Film – Looking at the David Shrigley Pringle advert, the group decided to approach him to make an animated advocacy film for the arts, designed to arouse public opposition to radical cuts to the arts.

Action – Julia Peyton Jones called David Shrigley during the meeting and left a message. JPJ to follow up with DS re: film. [Cos: Can you visualise her ‘in meeting enthusiasm’? I’ll ring him NOW! Poor Shrigley]

Alison Jackson image – an idea of the Tories as the new Puritans. Cameron turning into Cromwell. Possible poster ideas.

Action – Erica Bolton to contact Alison Jackson with this idea. AJ to create a campaign.

Mark Wallinger advert and billboards – Mark Wallinger to create an advert and billboard campaign, possibly working with TBWA Ad Agency who Matthew Slotover has approached..

Action – Ralph Rugoff to contact Mark Wallinger about campaign.

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Posted by cathedralofshit on May 12, 2010

Invited to use the ICA by Ekow Eshun and David Thorp, the Zoo Art Fair were dismayed to have the offer withdrawn. Apparently curatorial staff said that they didn’t want it and Ekow didn’t want to upset them. Might be a little bit too late for that? Rumour is Richard Birkett will be quitting long before October to go to Artists’ Space in New York. Last we heard, the other ‘Curator’ was an ‘Assistant Curator’ covering someone’s maternity leave (its so hard to keep up). Perhaps the real problem was that Zoo would have given the rest of the current programme a run for it’s money…

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Putting the ‘ding’ back into funding.

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 6, 2010

Nice point from a ‘reader’ sent in (ooh, we sound like Points of View!) –

“If the Otolith Group win maybe Kodwo Eshun could donate the winnings to another UK institution in financial trouble? Like Ekow Eshun’s ICA? ”
Miffed in Manchester (okay I added that bit).

So yes, let’s keep funding in the family.

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Y’know… Just Some More About The ICA.

Posted by cathedralofshit on March 9, 2010

You’ve got to love it. They’re probably going bankrupt; they’re having a very public managerial disintegration; they have a Director who is being pilloried by his own staff as well as in the press, and they have managed to make a total arse of themselves whilst getting rid of one of London’s brightest curators, but the ICA are still offering a 6 month course in order “to nurture emerging and mid-career creative and cultural leaders”:

What on earth is on the syllabus? How to run an arts organisation into the ground? How to become the institutional equivalent of a tin-pot dictatorship? In fact lucky participants will “receive support, guidance and practical advice to build their confidence and overcome their personal leadership challenges.” And if you’re really lucky you’ll be taught by Ekow Eshun himself who is listed as one of the Mentors.

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Whitechapel Worries….

Posted by cathedralofshit on March 9, 2010

Word from the Whitechapel is that they have spent all their endowment on the building project and are now struggling. Each department has been told they have no budget and have to fundraise increasingly, and staff are being made redundant. They aren’t quite in the realm of the ICA – but then they aren’t run by self-serving New Labour poster-boy Eshun.

Expect one or more of the following – a number of film and video-based exhibitions (no shipping), more exhibitions by British artists (again, no shipping), an exhibition by an artist from a major blue chip gallery (financial support) or a wing being rented out to soon-to-be-evicted Haunch of Venison. Or maybe all of the above… Jane and Louise Wilson exhibition anyone?

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Posted by cathedralofshit on March 2, 2010

It seems our timimg, if we do say so ourselves, is quite phenomenal. Into our in-boxes just two minutes ago, the official line from the ICA is below. As the ICA crumbles and people begin to rally round (apparently the pre-Lily Allen gig dinner tables sold like hot cakes) or question whether we really need the organisation at all (is it really a vital venue any more?), it seems Eshun is still hanging on. Well, via maternity leave. It seems tragic to us that he hasn’t more grace, and resigned.

Press Release.

Mark Sladen, ICA’s Director of Exhibitions, to leave the ICA

It is with regret that the ICA announces that Mark Sladen, ICA Director of Exhibitions, is leaving the organisation. Mark Sladen has worked at the ICA since January 2007, and in his time here he has overseen a programme that has met with much critical and public acclaim. His position has been made redundant within a review of the ICA’s organisational structure and he is now departing to pursue other projects. Mark is a highly talented curator and the ICA wishes him every success with his future projects.

David Thorp, an independent curator who has been working with the ICA as an external consultant over the last 10 months, will be continuing this role until further notice, advising on the ICA’s artistic programme, supporting the ICA’s programming team and working to Artistic Director Ekow Eshun.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Mark Sladen at the ICA

Since his appointment in 2007, Mark Sladen has been responsible for solo exhibitions that have featured projects with some of the most important British and International artists of the day. These have included exhibitions reflecting first institutional surveys of artists such Enrico David (2007), Rosalind Nashashibi (2009) and Billy Childish (2010), as well as shows that represent an artist’s first solo exhibition at a British institution, including the projects with Loris Gréaud (2008), Roberto Cuoghi (2008) and Sean Snyder (2009).

Sladen has also curated ground-breaking group exhibitions which have included Memorial to the Iraq War (2007), Double Agent (2008) and Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. (2009). A key feature of Sladen’s programme were specially concieved seasons, the largest being Nought to Sixty (2008), a six-month series of 60 exhibitions and events featuring the most exciting emerging artists from the UK and Ireland. The latter project was timed to coincide with the ICA’s 60th anniversary and was one of the ICA’s most celebrated projects of the last decade.

Date of issue: 1 March 2010.

Please contact Natasha Plowright for further information or queries, on

Many thanks.

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