Marina Vishmidt

  • Cameron Rowland, Mooring, 2020, AB-001-013. William Rathbone and Sons was a timber merchant company founded in Liverpool in 1746. “[T]he foundation of the Rathbone fortune and business was built on the Africa slave trade.”1 During the 18th century, they imported timber felled and milled by slaves in the West Indies and operated a number of trading ships that sailed to West Indian colonies as well as the Southern States of America.2 Rathbone and Sons’ yard occupied a large portion of the Liverpool South Docks.3 Rathbone and Sons supplied timber for slave ship builders in Liverpool until at least 1783.4 These ships carried enslaved black people who were sold in the West Indies and in British North America. Ships built in Liverpool also carried the slaves who were sold on Negro Row at the Liverpool South Docks.5 Liverpool built the world’s first wet dock in 1716, allowing cargo ships to dock directly at the port. By 1796, Liverpool had built 28 acres of docks. Liverpool’s proximity to Ireland also not only facilitated a profitable trade, but provided a relatively safer route that allowed Liverpool ships less chance to be captured by French privateers. Additionally, the copper and brass manufactures in Lancashire and Ireland allowed for local companies that manufactured African trade goods such as manillas to carry on a prosperous export trade, further giving Liverpool a competitive edge. The relationships forged with nearby merchants not only helped secure trade goods, but also valuable credit terms.6 In 1784, Rathbone and Sons imported the first consignment of raw cotton to England from the United States.7 From this point, they became stated abolitionists and free trade advocates.8 The abolition of the “West Indian monopoly” on the import of goods to the British Isles would allow for the expansion of U.S. cotton trading. Liverpool became the primary port of 19th-century cotton importation to England. Rathbone and Sons imported American cotton to Liverpool through the American Civil War.9 The company continues to operate as the investment and wealth management firm Rathbone Brothers Plc. The mooring at the Albert Dock: AB-001-013 is on the former location of the Rathbone warehouse. This mooring has been rented for the purpose of not being used. 1. Jehanne Wake, Kleinwort Benson: The History of Two Families in Banking (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 15.2. Wake, 16.3. Adam Bowett, “The Jamaica Trade: Gillow and the Use of Mahogany in the Eighteenth Century,” Regional Furniture 12 (1998): 22.4. Wake, 16.5. Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery, 2nd ed. (1944; repr. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1994), 52.6. Katie McDade, “Liverpool Slave Merchant Entrepreneurial Networks, 1725–1807," Business History 53, no. 7 (2011): 1094.7. Eleanor F. Rathbone, William Rathbone: A Memoir (London: Macmillan and Co. Limited, 1905), 11.8. Wake, 15, 31.9. Sheila Marriner, “Rathbones’ Trading Activities in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century,” Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire 108 (1956): 118.

    Cameron Rowland

    FOR THE GREATER PART OF A DECADE, Cameron Rowland has been engaged in making not so much a museum of racial capitalism as a visitor center for it, where its artifacts are instructively pried free from daily use. In line with other projects by Rowland, the artist’s institutional solo debut in the UK, curated by Richard Birkett, is minimally populated in terms of exhibited objects, despite ranging over two floors of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (and including a nominally priced stack of works [Enclosure, 2020] for sale in the bookshop). This sparseness in fact offers the viewer a

  • Cameron Rowland

    Curated by Richard Birkett

    Cameron Rowland turns a materialist and gimlet eye on racism’s bottom line, focusing on the quotidian economics that turn people into speculative financial instruments. For his still-under-wraps first institutional solo exhibition in the UK, Rowland will employ all of the ICA’s galleries to develop his specific approach, one that adapts the circumspect aesthetics of Conceptualism into a systemic examination of anti-black violence as literally “part of the furniture” of American life. His ready-made objects, commodities manufactured by prisoners or seized by the police,

  • Marina Vishmidt

    In a social order held together by the bones of those who didn’t survive it, cancer can act as a lenticular tool to hold our fates in high resolution. The uninsured and underinsured suffer, decline, and die quickly, mostly; the insured suffer, decline, and undie, ideally. But to undie is not quite the same as to live, even if the terminal shadow takes on iridescence with every day that marks your distance from it. Anne Boyer’s The Undying (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), her concatenated memoir of undergoing treatment for aggressive breast cancer, has at its core “the most optimistic form of