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'Nought to Sixty: ICA Editions' in the ICA hallway leading to the bar

From:     Eva
Category: Art
Date:     08 September 2008
Time:     09:11 PM

Review:

I like the prints that make up this edition but am a bit, not very, surprised that the ICA is
choosing to celebrate 60 years with such a blunt commercial gesture. It appears that as the
exhibitions rotate in the galleries above and below, this display will hang for longer, ushering
visitors between the shows and to the bar. So how is this different to the massive ICA auction about
to kick off in a couple of days time? I appreciate the ICA needs to raise revenue and at least the
auction is a contained event. I have issues with the auction too (like, is it really the best way to
raise the profile of the place on the occasion of its anniversary? how does that reflect on its
sixty year history, containing as it did radical moments?).  But what surprised and rather annoyed
me about the editions display is, after the fact that it exists, the way its done. Large vinyl type
on the walls explain the prints, details of the price and all technical specifications super-sized
slap back next to the frame. I feel hypocritical when I say that it annoys me, that thereís been a
wasted opportunity and that this space is being used as an extension of the shop. I feel any
conversation to be had will now follow well worn grooves to echo how art and money always go hand in
hand and that to say otherwise is worse than to acknowledge it because it makes for a more sinister
relationship based on a kind of mythologising of the art object which only gives it extra appeal,
thus raising itís market value etc. The alternative, if related, argument is that it is the fact
that the ICA is an institution that damns it to an existence dependant on corporate funding and so,
according to this argument, again it would be better to just be out and proud about these networks
of interest and not pretend they donít exist. The extension of this argument relates to public
funding and involves the words 'unsustainable', 'bureaucratic' and 'fallible'. I donít know the
answer. None the less, this display annoys me. Some nice prints though.


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