Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Sladen’


Posted by cathedralofshit on June 7, 2011

Venice is over, once more. We’ve suffered more than most – our feet hurt, our wallets are empty, we’ve realised we don’t actually like Aperol fucking Spritz, and we were asked to leave Anita’s boat after unsuccessfully fashioning one of those fetching access wristbands out of chewing gum and Copydex. Harrumph! Rumbled!

Here’s a mini round-up peppered with inaccuracies and information from unreliable sources.

The Cathedral of Shit Golden Lion Donkey goes to… Germany! Though we hated the Polish Pavilion the most, Germany was responsible for providing the subject matter for it. So it’s their fault and so they win the prize.

The Cathedral of Shit Silver Donkey goes to Haroon Mirza.

Spain and NL are disqualified for not really showing any art. Belgium gets a slapped wrist for showing a student of the curator. The Swedes get a slapped wrist for still not realising their pavilion would look better without any art, Britain gets a slapped wrist and bum for not installing a queuing/ticketing system so we could actually see the Mike Nelson, but Mike gets, erm, ‘unslapped’ for slightly injuring the Tory Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey who walloped his head inside. Tim Davies’ Welsh pavilion was curated by his dealer and a former director of V22, so the whole of Wales can have a slap. Finally, France gets a slapped bum, arse and face for the turgid nonsense from Christian Boltanski. Life! Death! So profound! What does it MEAN?!

There were A LOT of Swiss artists weren’t there? Even the ‘born in Iran, Morocco, Georgia’ artists seem to have Swiss nationalities.

The ACE were out in force showing ‘support’ at the New Forest Pavilion despite slashing their funding to absolutely nowt.

Busier than ever, CoS has an idea as to how to trim down on visitors for the next Biennale. In addition to the millions of art people to talk to, can we PLEASE trim down on the eighty thousand PRs at every event, hanging round grinning inanely and saying “isn’t it just suuuper?”. Just an idea.
This Biennale, Roman Abramovich’s Superyacht seemed to be the most talked about artwork, parked on the curb of the Giardini. (Wonder how many 20p’s he had to put in the meter?) Oligarch’s parties were ten a penny this year, though despite the prevalence of these caviar and champers parties, CoS weren’t actually invited to any, so we hot-footed it to the Gavin Brown/Balice Hertling/Herald St/Gio Marconi party where allegedly they’d let anyone in. Naturally, it was held in Venice’s smallest (and shittest) club, Piccolo Mondo. We made it into the sweatbox after queueing behind a group of suited Christie’s staff who were trying their damnedest to get in by shouting “but we know Nicky/Gavin/Daniele!!”. We stayed a little to watch Tate’s Martin Clark throw some shapes, but had to leave as the lasers were setting off our epilepsy.

On Friday night CoS had terrible post-lazer migaraines, and stayed in, so we sent a scout to check out the Frieze 20th birthday party on an island a short jaunt away. With a guest list including most of London, guests included Matthew Higgs, Peter Saville, Alice Rawsthorn, Polly Staple, Mark Sladen, Massimiliano Gioni, Iwona Blazwick, Cornelia Grassi and Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Adrian Searle, Chiara Repetto, Nick Relph, Roselee Goldberg, and of course Frieze en masse. Being trapped on the island meant everyone was soon suitably plastered. Some grumbles about the wedding DJ soon faded once everyone had drunk a lot more champagne the spirit of the 20th Anniversary was embraced.
Though our scout left about 2am, we heard tales of the last boat including arguments, an irate (yes, apparently it does happen) but valiant Matthew Slotover shouting at the boat captain for trying to leave early without the last guests, and some minor ruckus’ on board…

Other bits of gossip…

Which female American dealer fell into the canal whilst taking a leak, and has also broken her nose?
Which Frieze writer was seen kissing which Berlin dealer at the Gavin Brown/Herald St/Balice Hertling/Gio Marconi party?
Which supposedly sober ‘rock’ musician was seen screaming at two different people at different times, about seemingly very little?

Ah, hell with it – we’re not Popbitch… and there are no super-injuctions being banded about round these parts! The answers are; Michelle Maccarone, Paul Teasdale, Tanya Leighton and Courtney Love! Hurrah!

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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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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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Did He Jump?

Posted by cathedralofshit on March 2, 2010

This in from an ICA source. Well, the spy-microphone we have hidden under an office pot plant… it reflects well on Sladen that he refused to accept the consensus & the shame attached to Yentob and Eshun…

So…. it seems Sladen was pushed. As part of the restructure, his post as curator of exhibitions was made redundant. He applied and interviewed for a new Director-of-Programme post, but in the interview made it clear that he would not be able to take up the post unless Ekow resigned, having lost all confidence in him as Director. He was then reportedly chased across the office by a shouting Alan Yentob, who swept Sladen’s stuff off his desk. Front of House staff have been told not to allow Sladen back in the building. Who or what replaces him is unclear, as the ‘Reading Group’ plan for managing the exhibitions programme seems to have been abandoned, but David Thorp, who carried out the restructuring consultancy last year is rumoured to be standing in.

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You’ll Never Work In This Town Again

Posted by cathedralofshit on February 25, 2010

Oh. In case you didn’t know, Sladen has left the building. Did he jump or was he pushed? We guess at “mutual consent” (ie pushed to temporarily protect the real problem upstairs). That said he employed a lot of freelancers and delegated rather more than he might have… but he’s lasted a long time under Eshun. Good Luck Mark…

Meanwhile the ICA thinks it’s found a brilliant way to solve their financial problems.
They’ll need to sell 32 and a half Matt Mullican posters… erm, prints… before they break even and start to pay Ekow’s salary for March. We think that Phil Collins’ somewhat prophetically titled work from the series “you’ll never work in this town again” might be a better seller at £150 only they’ll need to sell forty six and a half of those before they make any inroads.

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Posted by cathedralofshit on January 8, 2010

Support the New, Now!
Or erm, not. As previously reported in the art world’s second-favourite blog, ‘Cathedral of Shit’ (we bow in front of you Anita!), the ICA’s membership is draining away despite their groovy marketing slogans. Your Support Makes A Difference!
Indeed, it does – for it might help stop the 30% job cuts which are rumoured at the venerable institution. Now this is a strange story of funding which goes straight over CoS’s bald and wrinkly head – the cash-strapped institute was bailed-out by £1.2 million from the Arts Council Sustain fund (in addition to the regular funding of just over £1.4 million it will receive this year from ACE). However, sources (i.e the disgruntled ex-staffer sitting opposite me here in Mare Street’s KFC chowing down like a grateful tramp into the “boneless special box” that CoS’s expenses extend to) hint that the Sustain Grant came with the condition of greater accessibility – in particular scrapping the day membership fee of a couple of quid to get into the bar. With this fee scrapped, membership plummeted – as the major draw of membership was paying your 30 quid for a year-long pass to late night drinking before getting on the night-bus home and sobbing continuously on the shoulder of an intense and suddenly attractive freelance curator. Brilliant! So if the grease-smeared ex-staffer in front of me is to be believed (and she looks credible to me in her bobbly hat and goatee-disguise), ACE give the ICA a load of cash whilst simultaneously blowing the back doors down of their membership scheme. Genius! Well done, ACE! Top strategy again. What next? Getting rid of all your experts so you can process funding applications from a call centre in Manchester, finding out that it doesn’t work and trying to hire a bunch of out of work art lecturers on the cheap to add expertise? Oops, already done that!
Happy New Year everyone, I’m off for pudding at Metropolis, Hackney’s finest real-ale pub – can anyone lend me 20 quid for a ‘dance’?

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