The Tate Britain website allows users to “create” and name their own art collections from among the online art works the museum has on display. Users are invited to compile their own personalized collections, which are then displayed on the Tate website. Some clever Stuckist saboteur made proper use of this invite by uploading a sarcastic critique at the Tate’s expense. The Stuckist mischief has to do with the Tate purchasing for a hefty sum, an artwork from postmodernist artist Chris Ofili. The controversy lies in the fact that Ofili is also a trustee of the Tate, and at the time of the Tate’s acquisition of his art work - was urging other professional artists to donate their works to the museum for free.
Alluding to the controversy surrounding the Tate, the Stuckist prankster name a satirical collection, The Expensive Work of a Serving Trustee Collection, and left the following question as a caption; “Which of the 6 is the expensive work bought from serving Tate trustee Chris Ofili while he was urging other artists to donate their work to the Tate?” The mocking question is accompanied by six images from the Tate collection - five of them classic oil paintings by renowned masters, and one excrement covered painting by Chris Ofili. I wonder how long it will be before the Tate notices and removes the offending Stuckist gag. If you’re quick you may get to see the stunt before the censors take it down!
Meanwhile, Charlotte Higgins, arts correspondent for The Guardian newspaper of London, wrote a September 12th article for the paper titled, Taking the Tate into the Future. After reading Higgin’s piece the first thing that came to my mind was the chilling NO FUTURE refrain from a certain Sex Pistols song. A glowing account of the Tate Modern’s sorry current direction, the article was full of praise for its present director, Sir Nicholas Serota - referred to as “the undisputed titan of British art.” It should go without saying the story did not mention the Chris Ofili debacle.
Higgins mentions that Serota “plans a radical unseating of painting and sculpture from the positions as the ‘king and queen’ of art,” and quotes the director as saying the Tate will be remade to present “graphics, film, photography and performance.” Frankly I’m troubled by Serota’s ideas concerning what an art museum should be. Higgins quotes him as saying “Artists are reflecting on the culture around them - club culture, or whatever it is - and the institution needs to reflect that in the way it shows, presents and buys art.” Excuse me but, the Ofili affair was enough of an outrage, a shady example of how the Tate “buys” art. Now we are expected to accept a museum being filled with artifacts representing “club culture.” Supposedly this will make the Tate a living, relevant institution. Why not just pack up the art works, put them in storage, and open the Tate Rave? Considering how the museum is currently being run - that may not be such a bad idea.