Management Squabble At The ICA

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Photo / Fin Fahey

A right old bun-fight has erupted at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, between director Ekow Eshun, exhibitions director Mark Sladen, and hirsute chairman Alan Yentob, over the leadership of the ailing arts centre.

According to The Guardian, Sladen is reported to have demanded that Eshun be removed from his post, saying that his faith in the director, who took over in 2005, had been “gravely undermined”. Similar (though unconfirmed) reports suggest that staff members, dismayed at the ICA’s problems, have taken a vote of no confidence in the Eshun. Sladen’s outburst provoked an angry rebuke from Yentob: an unnamed insider broke the Institute’s code of omerta by whispering of a “heated exchange” between the two heavyweights, which culminated in Yentob ordering Sladen to clear his desk.

Eshun has communicated to staff his firm belief that he is the man to take the Institute forward, but given the rancour he seems to attract, from unimpressed colleagues to ICA members underwhelmed by his regular panel show performances on Newsnight Review and The Late Show, he may be the only one still convinced of his suitability. Anybody wishing to help the ICA over this sticky patch may wish to fork out a few beans for the fundraiser later this month, where the liberal imbibement of sangria could lead to these heady matters being resolved through the time-tested manner of biodegradable cloth handbags at ten paces.

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