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

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 himself. Both options render him unfit for major google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; public office.

He was confronted on Radio 4 programme The Reunion: //--> Tate Modern on September 23rd by Sue MacGregor,

full recommendations and criticisms, laid out in a lengthy document, also said the Tate failed
to manage conflicts of interest …
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Failed to seek independent

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valuation of works by artist-trustees … Had no defined policy //--> relating to purchases from artist-trustees google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; … src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> Had insufficiently clear
acquisition policies … Kept insufficient records of trustee meetings.”

The Daily Telegraph called this verdict “one of the most serious indictments of the running of one of the nation’s major cultural institutions in living memory”.

“After an in-depth review lasting ten months by

the Commission”, stated The Times, Serota “accepted

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the criticisms” and “was genuinely contrite”. The Evening Standard confirmed, “Sir Nicholas said today he accepted all the Charity Commission’s findings”.

In stark contrast, his response to Sue src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> Macgregor ten years later was an astonishing and shameless attempt to hoodwink the nation and evade blame with a trivialising revisionism that

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implied gross misconduct by src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> the Charity Commission. To the supportive laughter of his

​ entourage

Process Overview:

on the programme, Serota declared smoothly – as if it were google_ad_width = 970; established fact – the evasive
nonsense, “The rules of course were invented after
we had flouted them.”

Serota has a history of obfuscation, whether lies, half-truths, delusions, evasions or

omissions.
In 2004, google_ad_height = 90; he applied for a grant from the Art Fund towards the purchase of The Upper

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Room. He signed
a form saying that there

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had been no prior commitment to the purchase of the work (a condition of funding). Thanks to journalist Chris Hastings

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and the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that, eight months prior to

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the application, the Tate had paid a £250,000 deposit. Serota blamed it on “a failing in my head”.

In 2005, I was quoted in The Observer: “Serota, as the

director, chooses
the trustees, and the trustees are then responsible for reappointing the director. The director then buys the trustees’ work.” google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; In 2008, this was brought up in Varsity (the Cambridge Student Newspaper), where Serota defended /* 9-970x90 */ himself with another flagrant falsehood: “I don’t have any part to google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; play in their appointment.”

The September 2005 Tate board

minutes state: “The Director [Serota] reported that two strong candidates were to be interviewed for the position of Artist Trustee by a panel comprising himself, Paul Myners and the Independent Assessor.” In the May 2007 minutes, another trustee interview is on record with a panel of three trustees, the independent assessor and

was worth
by that time. They had been sold by that time.”

 

As it happens, that is incorrect. At the time of the offer in 2003, Saatchi still had in his collection iconic Brit art works, including Damien Hirst’s shark, Tracey Emin’s bed, Rachel Whiteread’s plaster cast of a room, Mark Quinn’s head made from frozen blood, Sarah Lucas’s table with two fried eggs and a kebab, Marcus Harvey’s Myra Hindley painting with children’s hand prints, Ron Mueck’s sculpture of his

dead father, the Chapman’s penis-nosed mannequins and Chris Ofili’s Virgin Mary painting with

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elephant dung.

Serota continued

about Saatchi: “Michael [Craig-Martin] and I with Janet De Botton spent a great deal of 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

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in 1998, “Saatchi offered 86 works by 57 British artists – including Langlands & Bell, Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and Glenn Brown” (as well as