The Cunard White Star Building during the 2014 ICI Gala. (Photo courtesy Billy Farrell)

Anthony Haden-Guest at the ICI Gala, in the Imperial Splendor of the Cunard Building

ICI had once stood for Imperial Chemicals Industry, a juggernaut, a kind of a Brit Dow Chemical, until it had been picked apart, the last chunk being sold to a Dutch paint conglomerate in 2008. Then my brain kicked in. Within was the top brass of a quite different ICI—Independent Curators International, the non-profit contemporary art center that organizes, among other things, traveling exhibitions—and an event on the calendar of another empire, arguably a more international one than any other current contender: the Empire of Art. I pivoted (the modish word nowadays) and was let through.

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