Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Londoner's Diary

Article excerpt

Tate rewards Swiss donors with showcase

POTENTIAL controversy looms over the hanging of a big new collection of paintings at the Tate Modern.

A re-hang at the publicly funded Tate was assisted by a hefty donation from Swiss merchant bank UBS.

As a thank you, the Tate is exhibiting lots of pictures, said to comprise a quarter of the Tate's display, from UBS's own collection of modern art.

The size of the UBS donation is not being disclosed, but no great surprise there. Under the recent stewardship of director Sir Nicholas Serota and chairman Paul Myners, the Tate has been bizarrely secretive.

Even so, the very principle of.showing the works from a donor's collection looks a bit dodgy, say some art buffs.

Michael Daley, of the campaign group Art Watch, points out that "these works, after such a favourable showcasing, will shoot up in value.

"If the public and private sectors of the contemporary art world are to pursue such cosy relationships, should guidelines not be issued on the levels of accountability and transparency?"

One senior art wallah once said: "Our rule is, simply, that we will not showcase a private collection."

The identity of that principled guardian of artistic standards? Sir Nicholas Serota, speaking just five years ago.

So what's changed?

Levy pips Orange best-ever rivals

NOVELIST Andrea Levy's book Small Island was named the best-ever winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction last night. At a ceremony marking 10 years of the women-only [pounds sterling]30,000 prize, it was announced that her 2004 book about a group of Jamaican immigrants arriving in Britain after the Second World War had seen off stiff competition from all previous winners, including Helen Dunmore and Carol Shields.

Levy (above), who spent more than four years researching Small Island, has said its subject matter was "very much part of my personal history, so I very much wanted to go back and have a look at what immigration means, not only for the people that come but for the people who are here". Others at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue included Rosie Boycott, Jenni Murray and prize founder Kate Mosse.

Dung is off-limits

MEANWHILE, elephantdung artist Chris Ofili is proving very poor value for money. Last month it was reported the Tate had paid at least [pounds sterling]600,000 for his work, even though he is one of the gallery's trustees.

But over the weekend his 13-picture installation - which incorporates elephant excrement - was off-limits to the public.

This was because a technical problem meant the room in which it was shown is in near- darkness. " Ofili demanded the installation be closed himself while the problem is sorted out," whispers an insider.

Moving heaven and hell

FOR a Tory conference that is supposedly all about new language, it's ironic that a row has broken out between leadership aspirants Sir Malcolm Rifkind and David Davis over the authenticity of a phrase used by Rifkind in his speech yesterday. …

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