Notebook: The Theme for the Tate's UBS Party Was May Day-But with Little Sign of the Workers' Red Flag

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To Tate Modern for a glitzy launch of the rehang, though the party wasn't celebrating the collection so much as Tate's new sponsor, UBS. As Richard Brooks discussed in these pages last month, the Swiss bank has funded the rehang (rumoured cost: [pounds sterling]1m), and will sponsor Tate over the next three years (sum undisclosed).


In recognition of this largesse, the launch party was utterly streamlined and luxurious. Immaculately clad guests moved about the Turbine Hall as if on an elegant liner. The hall was lit with chandeliers; a film showing tulips slowly opening their petals was projected on the giant walls, while floral cut-outs decorated the floor. Further down, an entire wood of living trees in full blossom had been erected, their roots in bags of hessian. We were told they would be spirited off after the party and given to such deserving institutions as primary schools. The theme was May Day, but there wasn't much sign of the red flag for the world's Workers. This was more about the power of the Square Mile than the clout of the proletariat.

Still, UBS is clearly a partner to be reckoned with. The official programme for the evening showed key UBS Meeting Points, perhaps for clients who had pressing business to fit in between the carpaccio of beef with deep-fried artichokes and the pecorino cheese dribbled with acacia honey. We were shown where to go for UBS Equities, UBS Fixed Income and FXCCT (whatever that is), UBS Global Asset Management and Wealth Management, and UBS Investment Banking.

The Tate had one single spot, although when I went to it, neither Vicente Todoli, director of Tate Modern, nor Nick Serota, the Tate group's overall master, could be found in it. …