out an A4 Serota "Not Wanted" poster.
Click for word
THE SEROTA PETITION
the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to state
that he will not give his approval to any reappointment
of Sir Nicholas Serota as Director of the Tate gallery.
Go to: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/tatedirector
(You must be a British citizen or resident.)
Full text of the petition here.
Leo Goatley, Stuckist artist and lawyer, challenges
Serota's Tate appointment,
The Times 27.9.08.
Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London SW1Y 5DH
I write as an artist, lawyer and interested member
of the public.
has been recent comment in the national press about
the assumed life tenure of Sir Nicholas Serota's appointment
as Director of the Tate.
is unsatisfactory, as the Museums and Galleries Act
1992 requires the PM to confirm the appointment, a
requirement rightfully reflecting the esteem and responsibility
of such a job.
obligation appears to have been conveniently side
stepped by the Trustees on the pretext that Statutory
Instrument No. 2034 (The Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention
of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 entitles
them to declare a deed done on the basis of cosy board
room rubber stamping.
statutory instrument came into force on the 1st October
2002 stating that employees who have been employed
for at least four years shall on renewal of their
contract be treated as permanent employees, and declaring
that the calculation of the period of employment would
be back dated to the 10th July 2002.This was in order
to comply with an EU directive. The back dating of
the commencement of the period to be calculated is
express and not in doubt. However, there has been
no express similar back dating of the requirement
relating to the act of renewal of the contract.
you will be aware where Parliament, for whatever reason
back dates law, as was the case here, such action
requires caution and is generally to be avoided. There
must be clear and express words indicating such an
intention. The act of contract renewal in the context
of this statutory instrument is not clearly and expressly
the circumstances, at best, this is a grey area. The
Trustees of the Tate had therefore, a duty to ensure
all and any formalities were complied with. It was
expedient for them to circumvent these because they
knew full well that a petition had been lodged at
10 Downing Street asking the PM not to reappoint Sir
Nicholas. The petition was signed by over two hundred
fifty members of the public, who included among their
number a Royal Academician and numerous artists and
The Trustees should not be seen to act like slick
corporate operators, engineering a tax dodge, but
rather should act with full transparency to preserve
public confidence. These executive decisions should
not only be fair, but be seen to be fair. A nod and
a wink across the board room, as a means of determining
a key job for life is unacceptable.
rules governing the Trustees exercise of their duties
were designed to reflect principles of openness, with
intended checks against abuse or the creation of crony
sinecures. There appears to be a tendency with the
Tate Trustees, from time to time, for casual disregard
to rules that were put in place to preserve public
B.Sc, solicitor advocate
"NO TO SIR NICHOLAS SEROTA" New video by Nigel Konstam "Few dictators have lasted so long or been able to
implement their policies so completely ...
Sir Nicholas has presided over a monoculture, more complete
than any other European nation.
There is no room for dissent. State art rules in Britain.
Is that OK by you?"
Myners, Tate Chairman, hits back in The
Independent (scroll to 4th topic) (29.8.08)
get the law wrong over Serota: letter in The
Independent (scroll to 4th topic) (22.8.08)
Reappointment of Sir Nicholas Serota: Betrayal of Trustees
at the Tate by Charles Thomson: Counterpunch
Nicholas should be prosecuted" - Nigel Konstam here. An
alternative suggestion on Jonathan Jones Guardian blog here
AT THE TATE
The Tate trustees have reappointed Serota as Tate director
on a contract without expiry date, but have omitted to gain
the assent of the Prime Minister, as they are required to
do under the Museums and Galleries Act. But then the Tate
trustees are not known for bothering with such trifles.
Now that my plea for a more human art has appeared on The
Stuckists' home page, I feel
the need to define my own position. I am not a Stuckist
but I believe the Stuckists have performed an important
service to Art with their petition to stop Sir Nicholas
Serota. For myself, "traditionalist" is incorrect as I seek
to renovate the tradition. Art History has interpreted history
wrongly and I am trying to put it right.
comes in many shapes and sizes but there seems to be general
agreement that it is important. I ask myself what is important.
Decorative art is clearly there to please. Important art
must be a line of thought leading to a clearer idea of ourselves
among the creatures on this planet. Broadly, it has the
well-being and evolution of our species in its sights.
out from the present, are many thousands of artists each
with their own idea of what is important. Our establishment
arts councillors have put our money one single school of
thought and have done their best to squeeze out the rest
of us. This is not just unfair - it is dangerous and deeply
undemocratic; hence my plea on YouTube for greater tolerance
and a broader spread of funds. Given the notoriously bad
judgement of art critics in the past, it is extremely unlikely
that our present "experts" have got it right.
believe that far from being created leader of the Tates
for life, as has been proposed, Sir Nicholas should be prosecuted
for his many misdemeanours as reported in The Jackdaw
magazine and elsewhere.
Angry with the Tate
At last Charles Thomson with his Stuckism campaign to remove
Sir Nicholas Serota from his job (H&H
May 15) has come to the rescue. A decade or so ago my
late husband Josef Herman OBE, RA, had a permanent display
of a number of his wonderful paintings on the walls of the
Tate. They were all but exiled to some dark basement. Tracey
Emin and co remain supreme with irrelevance, ignorance and
insult, if not worse - to be polite. It is high time we
let "angry artists" have theirlong overdue say.
May I, a very old widow who shared 45 years with a great
artist the Tate should be proud of, add my voice and tears
to theirs. It is surely time that we distinguished art from
- Dr Nini Herman (Letter in the Hampstead and Highgate Express,
STORY OF SUBMITTING A PETITION TO THE PRIME MINISTER
also The British Prime Minister and the Tate's Tin of
Shit on counterpunch
in The Times (10.4.08), the first petition submitted
by Charles Thomson to the Prime Minister's web site was
rejected as being "potentially libellous, false, or
defamatory". It read as follows:
the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reassure
the public that he will veto any reappointment of Sir
Nicholas Serota as Director of the Tate gallery.
Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate gallery since 1988,
has pursued a narrow agenda of new media, namely gimmickry
and junk, at the expense of the traditional art of painting.
Work he has acquired or promoted includes a radio and
coat hangers, a cow cut in half in formaldehyde, a tin
of excrement, a light going on and off in an empty room,
fun fair slides and a crack in the floor. His belief that
his policy on contemporary art and boring videos meets
a public demand is a delusion.
Charity Commission found in 2006 that the Tate had acted
illegally in the purchase of its own trustee Chris Ofili's
work, The Upper Room, for £705,000. Trustees are bound
by the Nolan Principles, including "selflessness". This
has clearly not been enforced, and is in marked contrast
to David Hockney's donation of his largest ever work,
"Bigger Trees Near Warter".
The Tate trustees will decide by 31 August this year whether
to renew Sir Nicholas's contract, which is with the Prime
sent an email, asking what exactly was the offending text,
but no reply was received. It seems you have to guess what's
wrong - "Director of the Tate gallery" perhaps?
the Times story, David Shipley emailed:
I have created a second petition in support of your first,
in order to reinstate the original petition.
Being retired and having too much time on my hands, I just
read the Times article and wondered what you could have
said that would have been defamatory about Sir Nicholas.
When I found out from your website that your petition was,
as far as I could see, entirely factual (unlike the statements
routinely made by politicians) I thought it was an abuse
of process for the PM's office to reject it so it seemed
that a meta-petition might be an interesting approach. Unfortunately
I am entirely unqualified to comment about art, although
one has to wonder what educational process leads one to
the superior understanding involved in seeing piles of shit
just a random member of the public who believes that the
moral of "The Emperor's New Clothes" was not that someone
should have shut the brat up, and everything would have
petition (submitted Thursday 10 April 2007) was: We
the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to reinstate
the Stuckist petition demanding that Sir Nicholas Serota
not be reappointed director of the Tate. It appears that
the Prime Minister has rejected the aforementioned petition
on the grounds that it is "potentially libellous, false
or defamatory". However it is entirely factual and these
grounds are therefore spurious.
Thomson then sent revised wording as follows for his petition:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to state
that he will veto any reappointment of Sir Nicholas Serota
as Director of the Tate gallery Sir Nicholas Serota was
appointed as Director of the Tate gallery in 1988 on a
seven year contract, renewed in 1995 and again in 2002.
It expires on 31 August 2009, and the appointment of a
Director for the next seven years must be decided by 31
August this year. The appointment is made by the Tate
Trustees with the Prime Minister's approval.
the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to state that
he will not give his approval to any reappointment of Sir
Nicholas Serota as Director of the Tate gallery.
Nicholas Serota was appointed as Director of the Tate gallery
in 1988 on a seven year contract, renewed in 1995 and again
in 2002. It expires on 31 August 2009, and the appointment
of a Director for the next seven years must be decided by
31 August this year.
appointment is made by the Tate Trustees with the Prime
Minister’s approval, as stated in the Museums and Galleries
Act 1992 (c. 44) 1992 CHAPTER 44, Schedule 2: The Board
of Trustees of the Tate Gallery: 3 (1):
There shall be a Director of the Tate Gallery who shall
be appointed by the Board with the approval of the Prime
law, it is therefore within the Prime Minister’s remit and
powers to give or withhold approval. It is also within his
remit and powers to state his intention in this regard.