Charles Thomson: Lies, Damned Lies and Serota at the BBC

400;">Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, has used the platform of the BBC in a blatant attempt to deceive the nation. Either that or he
is genuinely deluded

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himself. Both options render him
unfit for major public office.

He was confronted on Radio 4 programme The Reunion: Tate Modern

on September 23rd by Sue MacGregor,
regarding the Tate’s purchase in 2005 of its trustee Chris Ofili’s work The Upper Room. She observed with wry understatement, “The Charity Commission said you didn’t quite follow the rules



In 2006, as the BBC then reported,

that such basic matters were neglected, but in a charity
of the size and stature of the Tate google_ad_width = 970; we are very disappointed.”

The Guardian expounded, “The Tate has broken the law … By

law, trustees
cannot receive monetary benefit from their charity without express permission, usually from the commission. The Tate failed /* xin-1 */ to seek permission … The Charity Commission’s full recommendations and criticisms, laid out in a lengthy document, also said the Tate failed to
manage conflicts of interest … Failed to seek independent valuation of works by artist-trustees … Had no defined policy relating to purchases from artist-trustees … Had insufficiently clear acquisition
policies … Kept insufficient records of trustee meetings.”

The Daily


Telegraph called
they have fallen out of love with me in 1995 when they google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; discuss my contract … The jury’s out.”

On google_ad_width = 970; the Radio google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; 4 programme, MacGregor confronted Serota about an event in October 2003 that became /* xin2 */ public the following year, namely “that Charles Saatchi offered you his entire collection … it was worth 200 million – for nothing.” Serota denied this: “I wish he had

… he did have a great collection. Sadly he never did offer it to us.”

This response is consistent

time in the late nineties trying to persuade him to give, not his collection, but maybe ten works from his collection as a founding collection for Tate Modern. But
I’m afraid he didn’t feel for one reason or another able to do that.”

This is obviously another failing in Serota’s head. In 2004, the Evening Standard reported that in 1998,

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“Saatchi offered 86 works by 57 British artists – including Langlands & //--> Bell, Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and Glenn Brown” (as well as Richard Billingham, Richard Wilson and Chantal

Joffé). A Tate spokeswoman confirmed the offer of 86 works, which were rejected as “The trustees felt on this occasion the works would be better suited in a /* 9-970x90 */ collection elsewhere.”

Regarding The Upper Room scandal, Christopher McCall QC wrote to the press in 2005 condemning “expediency … which has an appeal to an overbearing executive”. The Times said of the Tate: “If it had been a company, the verdict would have sent shareholders into a panic.” No doubt if it had been a government, resignations or sackings would have followed the public outcry. Surely we

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have the right to expect the same standards across the board in public life, including the arts.

Serota has not

displayed a level of behaviour and integrity to remain a figurehead