Tate is Mad

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9th November 2013: Charles Thomson (Stuckism co-founder) interviewed by Edgeworth Johnstone (of The Other Muswell Hill Stuckists) about Thomson’s first show at Tate Modern.

Charles Thomson: This is my piece of text art in the Bloomberg Connects. My first exhibition at Tate Modern. It’s an appropriation from something in The Other Muswell Hill Stuckist Newspaper, written by Edgeworth Johnstone, where he says “Tate is mad”. The basis of this statement was that Tate turned down a donation of 160 artworks from an international art movement, the Stuckists, which were exhibited at The Walker Art Gallery, a national museum of art in 2004. The whole show, the whole movement was offered free of charge to the Tate, and it was turned down as being of no worth. So I guess that’s a bit of a smack in the face for the Walker Art Gallery. “Fuck Off Walker” says the Tate.

On the other hand, one of the pieces turned down, of no worth, is now actually in the Tate archive, because they said that the Stuckist protests were of worth, and of interest. So there’s a postcard of my painting of Sir Nicholas Serota makes an aquisitions decision in the Tate achives, as of worth. Whereas the original painting has been turned down, as not of worth. So there you go. Something not of worth, can be made of worth, by being turned in to a postcard.

CT: It says Tate is mad.

Tate Staff Member 1: Some people.

CT: Some people. Yeah, some people.

TSM 2: It’s good they have their opinions isn’t it.

CT: Stuckism is the future. Have you heard of Stuckism?

TSM 2: Yes. They’ve been trying to be displayed many times. 

CT: They’ve been trying to be in this place?

TSM 2: Yes. They been trying to have a display many times. They’ve been proposing their works to Tate many times.

CT: Many? What they’ve been sending in their work many times? and what happens?

TSM 2: They usually get rejected I guess by the aquisitions committee.

CT: Right. Is that fair?

TSM 2: I’m not sure. I’m not the one making the decision.

CT: Who makes the decision?

TSM 2: It’s called aquisitions committee, which is probably Directors Board and some curators.

CT: Are artists on there?

TSM 2: There maybe some who are part of a Board of Trustees. There are some artists there as well.

CT: Stuckists criticise some artists. I think they actually criticise artists that are on the Board of Trustees. And then these people judge whether their work should be in the Tate. So they’re not going to want their work in, because Stucksim criticises them. So if you want your work in, you really need to be…suck up to these people and be nice. It’s politics. Politics. Here we go…Politics.

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