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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 censoredTrustee minutes: Jan + May 2003 - Jul 2003 - Nov 2003 - Jan 2005 TrusteesLetters - Dossier to Charity Commission and DCMS - to Chris Ofili - to Paul Myners - to Tate LegalQuestionsBackgroundPoem


Tate Trustees
The responsibility for the proper conduct of the Tate lies with its Trustee Board, the Chairman of which is Paul Myners, who has so far failed to make any public statement about the Ofili purchase.

Trustees in 2006 were:
Paul Myners, Chairman of Guardian Media Group, Marks and Spencer, Aspen Reinsurance and Low Pay Commission, member of the Court of the Bank of England and a non-executive director of the Bank of New York, a Trustee of Glyndebourne and the Smith Institute, previously a Trustee of the Royal Academy
Helen Alexander, Chief Executive of The Economist Group
Victoria Barnsley, Chief Executive Officer for HarperCollins UK
Melanie Clore, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby's Europe
Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics
Anish Kapoor, a sculptor*
Patricia Lankester, Director of Grants, Balance Charitable Foundation
Jennifer Latto, Adviser on Higher Education to Government Office for NW
Julian Opie, an artist
Fiona Rae, a painter
Jon Snow, presenter of Channel 4 News
John J. Studzinski, Chief Executive Corporate, Investment Banking and Markets at HSBC Holdings Limited

*Anish Kapoor replaced Chris Ofili as a trustee in January 2006 and was not involved in the purchase of The Upper Room.
Not all of the trustees were serving during the whole period of the purchase. Gillian Wearing left during it.

Chris Ofili, artist and Tate Trustee
Chris Ofili was appointed a trustee on 22 November 2000. His term of office came to an end on 21 November 2005. The proposal to purchase his work arose at the Trustees meeting in January 2003, while he was a serving trustee, and the purchase completed in January 2005. Chris Ofili is also a member of the Collection Committee.
When he won the Turner Prize in 1998 he exclaimed, "Oh man. Thank God! Where's my cheque?"

Paul Myners, Chairman of Tate Trustees
Paul Myners CBE is Chairman of Tate Trustees. He is also Acting Chairman of Marks and Spencer, Chairman of Aspen Insurance, Chairman of Guardian Media Group, member of the Court of Directors of the Bank of England, and Non-Executive Director of the Bank of New York (photo here).

On 5.11.01 The Guardian reported of Paul Myners:

"He warned that business could lose its legitimacy if it did not... stop hiding behind a wall of non-disclosure. "Empires, religions and monarchies have all collapsed where there has been a lack of openness," he argued. "It is a form of soft corruption which encourages an outcry against them.""

He criticised BBC governors that they had not
"shown more initiative in instituting reviews of themselves, reviews of their own behaviour."

He was involved in Marks and Spencer sleaze allegations and, said the Daily Mail, his board
       "sullied the company's reputation for integrity"

The Tate's behaviour, which is the responsibility of its trustees, displays a distinct 'lack of openness', defined by trustees chairman Paul Myners as 'corruption'.

Paul Myners, Tate Chairman and Chairman of Marks & Spencer on the generosity of Tate trustee Chris Ofili selling his work The Upper Room to the Tate for £705,000 (trustee minutes, September 2005):
He noted that the artist had made a substantial discount on the work because it was going to a public collection.
Grayson Perry is obviously more clued up on these matters than city businessman Myners (The Times, 1.3.06):
A work purchased by a leading public institution boosts an artist’s stock, which is why dealers will offer considerable discounts to museums.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Tate Director, on Artist Trustees
"It might be thought that there was a conflict of interest, but, in my experience, the presence of the artists on the board is a very, very powerful force that ensures that some of these positions of conflict are exposed and discussed..... I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re the moral conscience, but they, undoubtedly, will remind some of the trustees who come from other worlds, including corporate finance, that the rules in our world are not necessarily the same in theirs."
- Nicholas Serota, Curating Now symposium , Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 2000

The NACF and David Verey
The National Art Collections Fund (NACF) shows its Art Fund Grants This Quarter. In each case there are two figures, the amount of the grant and the total cost, apart from the Ofili purchase. Such is the secrecy around this purchase that under the grant figure of £75,000, the cost is shown only as "Discounted Museum Price". David Verey is the current Chairman of the NACF. At the time the decision was taken to purchase Ofili's The Upper Room, he was the Chairman of the Tate Trustees.

John Studzinski and HSBC sponsorship
John Studzinski was a Tate trustee 1998-2007. He was also co-head of the corporate, investment banking and markets division of HSBC bank, who sponsored a Frieda Kahlo exhibition at Tate Modern for £1m. In The Daily Telegraph (18.6.05), he said:

"We are not doing sponsorship to do sponsorship. We are doing this because we see this as a commercial opportunity."

Nolan Committee Principles of Public Life
The Tate states, "The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery is required to follow the principles established by the Nolan Committee in the conduct of public bodies." Two of these are:

"Openness - Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands."

"Selflessness - holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends."

We call on Chris Ofili to follow the Nolan principle of selflessness and to do what he urged other artists to do by donating his own work and refunding the money for it.

Tate using resources more effectively
The trustees meeting minutes for January 2005 state:

"Trustees were updated on the progress of the Effective Tate project which, since its inception in September 2004, had aimed to review the effectiveness of the operation at Tate and to explore ways in which resources could be used more efficiently in a climate of constrained grant and rising cost pressures."

Curate your own collection on the Tate web site
The 'expensive work of a serving trustee' collection

"You can send your completed collection to a friend, print it as a leaflet and submit it to our competition. The winning collection will be made into a leaflet and will be available to visitors at Tate Britain."
See comments on this wonderful PR idea on Square Roots blog on Guardian site by its arts correspondent Charlotte Higgins. So far, blogs by Michael Daley (ArtWatch UK), Independent Turner Society and Stuckists.

Miramax prize
Judges of the new Maxmara art prize include two participants in the Ofili scandal - Gillian Wearing, former Tate Trustee, and Ofili's dealer, Victoria Miro - Observer

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