Guffwatch - Tate Trustee meeting special

June 11 2013

Image of Guffwatch - Tate Trustee meeting special

Picture: Telegraph

A reader has alerted me to the latest minutes of the Tate Trustees. The first thing to notice is that most of the interesting, and even less interesting, information is kept secret from the public. You get things like this:

11. e. Trustees were presented with the principles Information has been exempted under Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 20003.

Even a report (6.1.c) on National Gallery Trustees being invited to the opening of Tate Britain is exempted from release 'under Section 43(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000'. Perhaps there was a sensitive discussion on canapes.

Still, there are gems, like this:

1.d. Trustees endorsed the principles of Tate’s long-term Vision document, and recommended developments following discussion at the Away Day. They discussed the importance of finding a clear and outward-facing expression of purpose, demonstrating relevance and the importance of Tate as an institution that takes risks on behalf of society.

So next time you go and look at the Turner Collection, remember to be grateful for all the risks Tate is taking on your behalf. The old rule of determining just how Guffy something is, of course, is to see if the opposite makes any sense at all: would you ever contemplate producing a 'muddled and introverted expression of purpose'?

We also learn of further cuts to Tate's budget:

9.c. They [the Trustees] were informed of the news from the DCMS that in the budget there was likely to be a further cut of 1% in 2012/13 and 2013/14 in addition to the previously announced cuts of 1% and 2% in those years.

Worth noting is item 19:

British Art at Tate and the National Gallery – a draft Memorandum of Understanding.

All further mention of this is kept secret, though. Might it be something about the National Gallery lending more works to fill the gaps in Tate's early collection?

Finally, there's an intriguing reference to photographic material in Tate's archive, which is interesting given they recently chucked much of it out:

6.11 Photographic Material 

a. Trustees were informed of changes to the credit of specific papers in Tate’s archive.

Update - with regard to the National Gallery/Tate MoU, a reader writes:

An interesting development which might well be as a result of the “secret” MoU between Tate and the National Gallery which was completely redacted in the Tate’s recent Trustee Minutes.

“The Hill Above Harlech” c 1917 by William Nicholson ( a wonderful artist in my opinion ) has just gone on show in Room 46 of the National Gallery ( the Degas Room ) as a Tate loan.  I’m not sure what this means in terms of the NG “date cut off” or as a modern British loan—but it is interesting!

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