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This site first drew attention to the fact that Chris Ofili, whose work The Upper Room was a major purchase
by the Tate trustees, is himself one of those trustees, who had earlier asked other artists to donate work.

Pages on this site about the Chris Ofili Upper Room Tate trustee scandal
Censure Press Jon Snow censoredTrustee minutes: Jan + May 2003 - Jul 2003 - Nov 2003 - Jan 2005 TrusteesLetters - Dossier to Charity Commission and DCMS - to Chris Ofili - to Paul Myners - to Tate LegalQuestionsBackgroundPoem


Latest at the top (this list is a selection of stories)
2005 demo against Tate's trustee purchase here

Conclusion: the Charity Commission agrees with the Stuckists that the Tate acted illegally over the Ofili purchase (19.7.06). See coverage here.

Cover-up continues: C4 TV news reader Jon Snow censored in Tate Trustee minutes - Evening Standard, Londoner's Diary (first edition 22.2.06). Details here.

"The smell of corruption" comment on artistica.co.uk 18.1.06

"Is Serota dead in the water?" article by Charles Thomson on counterpunch.org (14.1.06)
Also on www.heyokamagazine.com
with photos

Will Serota call it a day asks the Independent (2.1.06)

Anish Kapoor replaces Ofili as trustee at "scandal-hit" Tate - Independent (27.12.05) & Times (28.12.05)

Sir Nicholas Serota's £250,000 "failing in his head" Sunday Telegraph (18.12.05)
Serota signed an application for a grant from the Art Fund (NACF) towards the purchase of Tate trustee Chris Ofili's work The Upper Room in November 2004 and stated that the Tate had made no prior commitment to buy this work. In fact eight months previously the Tate had paid the Victoria Miro Gallery an initial instalment of £250,000 towards it. Serota has blamed his action on a "failing in his head", although the exact failing is not stipulated. We suggest that the failing was thinking that no one would ever find out.

Stuckists and their role in starting the press coverage - Observer (11.12.05)
Sources close to the Tate think the "Ofili affair" would never have happened without the Stuckists.
(Sources close to the Stuckists think it would never have happened without the Tate.)

The Tate has broken the law over Ofili says Christopher McCall QC in the Times (10.12.05)

Andrew Marr on Stuckist demo and Ofili purchase in Telegraph (2nd item) (7.12.05)
Lord Smith attacks the campaign against Ofili purchase Times (7.12.05)

Its not insider trading if it's a Tate Trustee Sunday Telegraph (4.12.05)
Culture Minister David Lammy, Chris Ofili and Paul Myners Sunday Times (4.12.05)

Tate Scandal - Independent (29.11.05) Feature summarising the story to date

The government asks the Tate why it keeps acquiring its trustees' work Times (23.11.05)

The public not allowed to know how much it has paid for the art it owns Times (22.11.05)

Tate acquired work linked to six trustees: Times (19.11.05) + Sunday Telegraph (20.11.05)

Prospect magazine (Dec 05): Emma Crichton-Miller sticks up for the Stuckists:
"Meanwhile, the press has been slow to explain that the fiercest hounding of Ofili, the Tate and the Victoria Miro gallery has come from the Stuckists, who want to destroy the reputation of artists they regard as part of the great YBA contemporary art scam."

The Upper Room self-destructs and may be removed from display for several years....
The Independent
and Evening Standard (15.11.05)

Tate made "a mistake" asking for Art Fund grant for Chris Ofili's The Upper Room
and offers to return money.
The Sunday Telegraph (13.11.05) + The Times, BBC News and Evening Standard (14.11.05)

Part of this story is based on documents (including trustee minutes above) obtained by Stuckists from the Tate under the Freedom of Information Act. This development certainly confirms the principles stated by Tate Chairman, Paul Myners, who compiled the well-known report for HM Treasury in 2001, Institutional Investment in the United Kingdom. This states, amongst other points: "robust disclosure requirements, can act as a powerful force for behavioural change..... a regime based on transparency and disclosure, exposing the scheme's funding and investment plans to scrutiny..... would encourage trustees to think carefully about whether their investment strategy is sound. Making it publicly available would expose it to public scrutiny."

Letter in The Daily Telegraph on the Tate (7.11.05):
"Sir - It is gratifying to know that the £3.3 million paid by the Tate to Balkan underworld figures for the return of two stolen Turner masterpieces was only for "information", and not a payment to crooks (News, November 5). It was similarly a relief to learn that there was no favouritism to trustee Chris Ofili when the Tate bought his dung and map-pin creations for £705,000; he had left the room before the discussions took place. The Tate was also right to reject a donation of 175 paintings shown at the Walker Gallery for the Liverpool Biennial. After all, the Tate's chairman, Paul Myners, has stated categorically that "painting is the medium of yesterday". It doesn't matter that there are no works in the Tate collection by noted figurative artists such as John Keane, Ken Howard, Bill Bowyer or Fred Cuming, as the Tate has just acquired a work consisting of "metal coat hangers, ham radio and aerial" to complement its 31 lumps of rock (cost: £700,000) and its tin of artist's excrement (£22,300). What we need (and are about to get) is more provision at the Tate for video art, in which, Sir Nicholas Serota has assured us, public interest is "greater than ever before" (a fact sustained by BBC2's Culture Show, which found that at least 2.8 per cent of the public are now interested in it). - Charles Thomson, Co-founder, The Stuckists, London N2"

Ofili fails to donate anything
Apparently out of the 20 artists who promised a year ago to donate work to the Tate only Paula Rego and Richard Long have so far done so. Richard Brooks comments in The Sunday Times: "Chris Ofili was another on the list. Having done very nicely out of the Tate, which, controversially, bought his Upper Room, Ofili ought to oblige pretty soon. Maybe as a parting gift when he steps down as a trustee at the end of November?"

Tate Ofili purchase - Stuckist letter in The Times (2.11.05)

Magnus Linklater defends Serota over Ofili purchase Times (2.11.03)
Criticism of the conflict of interest over buying a trustee's work on artdigestdaily.com (2.11.05)

Richard Dorment defends Ofili purchase Telegraph (1.11.05)

Ofili, Tate's failed fundraising and coathanger art in Sunday Telegraph (30.10.05)

Quentin Letts criticises the Tate Chris Ofili scandal, Sir Nicholas Serota, Paul Myners etc in Daily Telegraph (29.10.05)

Stuckist dossier sent to Charity Commission Independent (29.10.05)
Read the Stuckist dossier on conflict of interest in Ofili purchase sent to Charity Commission and DCMS (Department of Culture Media and Sport) here (word doc)

Charity Commission looks at Tate Chris Ofili Upper Room purchase
Times + Leading Article (28.10.05)

Philip Hensher says no trustee's work should be accepted Independent (26.10.05)

Emails between Victoria Miro and Nicholas Serota including Ofili's forthcoming marriage Sunday Telegraph & Sunday Times (23.10.05), Guardian (24.10.05)

Daily Telegraph (19.10.05) - Fraser Kee Scott, owner of the A Gallery launched his appeal for paintings on "the hypocrisy of Myners" (that is Paul Myners, Chairman of Tate, Marks and Spencer etc) over the purchase of The Upper Room from Trustee Chris Ofili. Paul Myners quote: "lack of transparency is...... corruption".

Martin Gayford comments on the story bloomberg.com (USA) (27.9.05)

Letter in The Times (26.9.05) on "Tate's Spending"
"Sir, The Tate may not have to disclose the full price paid for the work of one of its trustees (report, September 22), but it should do so, just as it should declare the sum paid for “intelligence” in the recovery of the two Tate Turners stolen when loaned to a German gallery. We have asked the chairman of the Tate board, Paul Myners (the businessman who lectures the City on the need for transparency and openness in its dealings), to say by what means his board was assured that no part of the £3.5 million paid for the recovery of the Turners fell into the hands of the thieves. He has offered no such assurance. Ironically, it is part of the £17 million insurance windfall from the Turner theft that is now enabling the Tate, by permission of the Charity Commission, to splash so much money about, not on Turner purposes but on the already over-hyped, artificially inflated and state-assisted market in contemporary British art. MICHAEL DALEY (Director, ArtWatch UK) East Barnet, Hertfordshire

At least £600,000 price for The Upper Room obtained by Stuckists under FOI from the Tate Times (22.9.05), also on www.artinfo.com

£600,000 price mentioned in Evening Standard (20.9.05)

Mark Vallen's weblog on 'Tate Rave' on www.art-for-a-change.com (16.9.05)
It mentions "The Expensive Work of a Serving Trustee Collection" on the Tate site.

Stuckists' request under the Freedom of Information Act for the amount paid by the Tate for Chris Ofili's The Upper Room reported in Independent on Sunday (11.9.05)
It stated "critics would rather have a hard figure than a waffly assertion that the deal is a bargain."
It quotes Tate Chairman ("a Bank of England grandee") Paul Myners' statement that "lack of openness... is a form of soft corruption which encourages an outcry", and comments, "Too right, old boy!"

Ofili story first mentioned in The Evening Standard Londoner's Diary (first edition, 6.9.05). It was also featured in the Art Newspaper and Artwatch Journal.

Stuckist call for Ofili's resignation www.artnet.com (16.8.05).

Commentary by Mark Vallen www.art-for-a-change.com (16.8.05)

First appearance in the press, based on initial information from Stuckists. Price given as £100,000 + Sunday Telegraph (14.8.05)

From The Independent on Sunday (9 Oct 05):

"Members of the clique who run the troubled Tate know how to look after one another. I hear that the board's chairman, Paul Myners, has recommended the Tate's director, Sir Nicholas Serota, for city non-executive directorships. Myners, who chairs M & S, gave a speech to the City of London Cass Business School. The title was 'Thinking Laterally - the 21st Century Board'. There was much guff about 'diversity' and 'pluralism'. After declaring that 'diversity of experience promotes greater greater challenge by the presence of people around the table whose views are enriched and informed by experience in other sectors', he asked, 'who are these people and how do we get them?' His answer? Why Sir Nicholas Serota! 'At the Tate, Serota chairs an organisation dealing in public entertainment and education, operating over four major sites, closely linked to the health of the overseas visitor economy and running substantial capital projects; he would make an interesting candidate for a board.' Is Myners trying to prepare an exit strategy for the much criticised Serota?'"

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ICOM (International Council of Museums) - part of UNESCO (Paris)

ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums - 2001 Edition
"The ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums is a means of professional self-regulation. It sets minimum standards of conduct and performance to which all museum professional staff throughout the world may reasonably aspire. At the same time it also provides a clear statement of what the public may justifiably expect from the museum profession."

"3.7 Conflicts of Interest
The collections policy or regulations of a museum should include provisions to ensure that no person involved in the policy or management of that museum, such as a trustee or other member of a governing body, or a member of the museum staff, may compete with the museum for objects, or may take advantage of privileged information received because of his or her position. Should a conflict of interest develop between an individual and the museum, those of the museum should prevail. Special care is also required in considering any offer of an item, either for sale or as a tax-benefit gift, from members of governing bodies, members of staff, or the families and close associates of these persons."

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ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums - 2004 Edition -

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