The ICA has named the successor to Ekow Eshun by appointing Gregor Muir, as its new head. He is currently the director of Hauser & Wirth, a respected London gallery, In addition to redefining the gap between the commercial and curatorial jobs, Muir will inherit an institution in deep crisis. The former broadcaster and journalist, Ekow Eshun,who had held the post as ICA Executive Director since 2005, resigned in August, as did the chairman Alan Yentob. Muir has prior experience at the ICA, having co-curated the 1997 show “Assuming Positions”.He has also served as a curator at Tate Modern.
Insider connections with the elite of today’s art world will mark a change in direction for the ICA’s exhibition ethos. In recent years it has tried to position itself as an alternative art space promoting lesser known artists and post-YBA factions. Muir’s background is purely YBA. He graduated Camberwell and remains a good friend to Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin.
The main problem for the ICA is it’s financial future, which remains up in the air. The Gallery receives £1.4 million ($2.2 million) in funding from Arts Council England, and will have to re-apply for support in a new funding structure. The ICA abolished its entrance fee, in 2008,however that policy may have to be revaluated in the future if the institution is to survive. Muir’s appointment will take effect on February 7.