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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 censored Trustee minutes: Jan + May 2003 - Jul 2003 - Nov 2003 - Jan 2005 Trustees Letters - Dossier to Charity Commission and DCMS - to Chris Ofili - to Paul Myners - to Tate Legal Questions Background Poem
In November 2004 Sir Nicholas Serota, the Director of the Tate Gallery, signed an application for a grant from the Art Fund (NACF) charity towards the purchase of Tate trustee Chris Ofili's work The Upper Room, and stated that the Tate had not made a commitment to buy this work (a requirement of applying for the grant). 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" (story by Chris Hastings in The Sunday Telegraph (18.12.05).

This poem may be freely reproduced for any non-commercial purpose, credited to stuckism.com.
For commercial use, contact stuckism@yahoo.co.uk

I meant to say, "two hundred and fifty
thousand pounds". Instead
I wrote "we're not committed". It's
a failing in my head.

I set up secret trustee deals
where angels fear to tread,
and think no one will notice. It's
a failing in my head.

I'm shocked the press believe and print
the scandal that they're fed,
and make a great sensation from
a failing in my head.

When people hint that I've somehow
deceived them, I see red -
it's obvious to me it's just
a failing in my head.

I haven't lied, I haven't missed
the plot or lost the thread,
I'm not a fraud - I've merely had
a failing in my head.

If anything seems wrong in what
I've done or what I've said,
it's not an issue: it is just
a failing in my head.

My conscience doesn't trouble me
and I sleep sound in bed.
I'm free from guilt. I cannot help
a failing in my head.

The DCMS* will certainly
commend the path I tread.
They'll know it's not my fault I've had
a failing in my head.

The Charity Commission will
respond: "Full steam ahead",
and they will surely brush aside
a failing in my head.

These rumours of incompetence
at Tate - which are widespread -
are wrong. It's clearly nothing but
a failing in my head.

*DCMS= Department of Culture, Media and Sport

I don't think that you understand.
To get the job, I said
"I like conceptual art: I've got
a failing in my head."

I've shown the world a dead shark and
a dirty double bed.
Now how could I do that without
a failing in my head?

Great art is tins of shit, or lumps
of dung or bits of bread,
not daubs of paint on canvas: that's
a failing in my head.

Computer games or videos
or burgers cast in lead
I think as good as Turner: that's
a failing in my head.

To some it's DIY to turn a
boat into a shed.
It's art to me, which proves I've got
a failing in my head.

I read what critics say, but don't
believe a word I've read.
I only ever listen to
a failing in my head.

The press have stabbed me many times
and, though the wounds have bled,
I am a faithful martyr to
a failing in my head.

I've faith I haven't got it wrong
and I am not mislead,
and that's the biggest failing of
a failing in my head.

I've ruled the Tate for eighteen years
(and how the time has fled).
My goals have culminated in
a failing in my head.

I wield the power of the state.
My influence has spread.
The national heritage is now
a failing in my head.

Amidst the Tate's disasters
there's one thing that I dread -
the world will think that I have got
a failing in my head.

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