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

Sir Nicholas google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, has used the platform

of the
BBC in a blatant attempt to deceive the nation. Either that /* 9-970x90 */ or he is genuinely deluded himself. Both options render him unfit for major public office.

He was confronted on

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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 google_ad_width = 970; Commission said you didn’t quite follow the rules here.”

In 2006, as the BBC then

reported, Charity Commission chief executive Andrew Hind said


there were “serious shortcomings … In any charity we would be concerned that such basic matters were neglected, but in a charity of the google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; size and stature of the Tate we are very disappointed.”

400;">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
to seek permission google_ad_height = 90; … 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 this verdict “one

it were established fact – the evasive nonsense, “The rules of course were invented after we had flouted them.”


has a history of obfuscation, whether lies, half-truths, delusions, evasions or src="//"> omissions. In 2004, he applied for a
grant from the Art Fund towards the purchase of The Upper Room. He signed a form google_ad_width = 970; saying that there had been no prior commitment to the purchase of the work (a condition of funding). Thanks google_ad_width = 970; to journalist Chris Hastings and the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that, eight months prior

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to 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, google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; chooses the trustees, and the trustees are then responsible for reappointing the director. The director

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 Serota.

The Board of


Trustees of the Tate Gallery Annual Accounts 2005-2006, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009 all

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say in
the section on trustees: “The key stages of the appointment are overseen by a panel, which will normally include the Director.”


400;">Also in Varsity, Serota said
about the trustees, “Why would I want to win their support?” The simple answer to that is that he is their employee, as he explained in 1993 in the Independent on Sunday, when he hoped to be appointed for a
second seven-year term as Tate Director: “Tate trustees fall in and

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out of love with their director and I’ll only discover whether they have fallen out of love with me in 1995 when they discuss my

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, “Saatchi offered 86 works by 57 British //--> artists – including Langlands & Bell, Turner