Supporting timeline for the open letter to Tate 

This page has been created to supply contextualising information to the open letter and its demands. We have produced a timeline which includes supporting documents below. We'll continue to expand on this in the coming days.

 

If you have any further questions before signing the letter please email us

Timeline of events:

2017 

  • December 2017: Jade Montserrat blows the whistle on Anthony d'Offay, circulating a selfie he sent her in April 2016 of him holding a racist doll as part of a wider pattern of abuse 

  • 19 December 2017:  Anthony d'Offay steps down as 'ex-officio curator' of the Artist Rooms collection

  • 20 December 2017:  “Police received an allegation of malicious communications [against d'Offay] on Wednesday, 20 December. Officers from the Central North Command Unit investigate. No arrests; enquiries continue.”  [Police statement  quoted here]

 

 

 

2018

  • 14 January 2018: The Observer publishes an in-depth article in which several women come forward with their experiences

  • 15 January 2018:  Tate and The National Galleries of  Scotland suspend contact with Anthony d'Offay, releasing a joint statement (quoted in this artnet article) which including the following: "The work of Tate and NGS is underpinned by values of fairness, equality, and respect and the right to work free of sexual harassment. We expect these values to be demonstrated in the behaviour of everyone who is in our organisations "

  • ​3 February 2018:  In an interview with the Times , when asked about Anthony d'Offay and sexual harassment, Maria Balshaw makes comments that imply victim-blaming:  “But I personally have never suffered any such issues. Then, I wouldn’t. I was raised to be a confident woman who, when I encountered harassment, would say, ‘Please don’t’… or something rather more direct.”

  • 15 February 2018:  In front of an all-white  audience as part of an all-white Art Fund panel on diversity, Maria Balshaw makes a racially charged comment about a group of young men eating their 'fried chicken lunch' in front of Steve McQueen's film 'Ashes' at the Whitworth in Manchester:  "I was delighted a couple of months ago to receive a photograph sent by the curator at The Whitworth of a group of young men sitting in the room where Ashes was being shown, with their fried chicken lunch, talking about the piece as they were watching it. I can only say from my experience of being at The Whitworth for eleven years that they would not have been in that gallery without that work."

 

  • 21 November 2018: Tate's trustees re-consider Tate's relationship with Anthony d'Offay, apparently speaking in favour of re-connecting to some extent: "Trustees noted that Mr D’Offay had retired from all roles in respect of ARTIST ROOMS and the Artist Rooms Foundation and there had been no further developments. They agreed that the status of the relationship, in particular in relation to the works in the Artist Rooms Collection, should be further discussed and resolved." This came to light only in May 2019 after Industria (then GIRLFORUM) submitted an FOI request to Tate asking when and why ties had been resumed.

 

2019

  • 11 January 2019:  according to the same FOI, this is the date that Tate recommenced ties officially with d'Offay:

'Tate informed ARTIST ROOMS partners that the suspension of contact with Mr D’Offay and the ARTIST ROOMS office was no longer in effect"

  • 6 April 2019:  The Times reports that the Tate and NGS have recommenced ties with d'Offay, nearly three months after Tate reconnected with him in private as per the FOI request above. 

Despite the investigation not having concluded, Tate  alleges to the Times that the police investigation into "malicious communications" has returned "no firm evidence".  Since then, Tate have repeatedly and wrongly said they were not aware of an ongoing investigation when they reconnected with him, despite it being reported in the national press and them directly commenting on the case here. 

  • 8 April 2019: The Guardian reports that ties have recommenced after intense lobbying from d'Offay's supporters.

  • 25 April 2019: An open letter to Tate re. its renewed relationship with Anthony d'Offay begins circulating, written by a working group including Industria (then GIRLFORUM).

  • 26 April 2019: The Art Newspaper reports on the open letter.

  • June 2019: The Met Police close their investigation into allegations of malicious communication against d'Offay, 5 full months after Tate recommenced ties with d'Offay.

 

 

2020

  • 27 January 2020: Industria (as GIRLFORUM*) and a wider working group privately send Tate a dossier questioning Tate's ethical failings. Tate's ongoing relationship with d'Offay and the recognition of it as part of a pattern of ethical failings is a major motivation behind the document. It outlines  a series of their failings over the last 20 years, and asking for the formation of an independent, robust, and representative ethics committee to address these failings. (The original dossier included 16 personal accounts from artists and former and current staff members covering experiences of racism, transphobia, and poor working conditions. These were given confidentially and have been redacted here for privacy.)

  • February 2020 – June 2020: Tate responds to the dossier by shutting down all criticisms and providing stilted, stock answers to our questions as we continue to push for answers. 

  • 25 May 2020: George Floyd is murdered by the police in the US

  • 28 May 2020: The first Black Lives Matter UK protests in solidarity with George Floyd take place in London.

  • 5 June 2020: Responding to urgency of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Industria and the wider group specfically ask Tate to address how the accounts of racism within Tate in the dossier we sent sit alongside Tate's public messages on anti-racism. 

  • 24 June 2020: After a prompt from us on 23 June, we finally receive responses from Maria Balshaw and Lionel Barber to our email from 5 June. These feel inadequate and PR-led. We decide to step back from these unproductive private conversations and pursue public statements instead. 

  • 10 July 2020: The Art Newspaper report on major impending redundancies of Tate Enterprise Staff

They inaccurately claim that they "continue not to have any active involvement with d’Offay", despite his name being all over the walls of the institution. This is the only time since the selfie originally circulated in 2017 that Tate have contacted Jade. 

  • 26 July 2020: Ben Quinn links the selfie, Tate, Black Lives Matter and staff cuts in an article in the Guardian.

  • 18 August 2020: PCS Tate United begin striking in protest at the 313 planned redundancies.

  • 4 September 2020: Tate quietly release a joint statement announcing the end of their relationship with Anthony d'Offay. This is reported on (with a statement from Industria)  by Matthew Weaver in The Guardian

  • 10 September 2020: The curatorial group of A Rumour of Waves release a statement of solidarity with Jade Montserrat after Tate censors her from their project at Tate Exchange. 

  • 15 September 2020: Industria begins circulating an Open Letter protesting Tates censorship of a Black woman artist.

 

  • 4 October 2020 : Art Monthly feature an in-depth report of event in the 'Artnotes' section of the October issue of the magazine. You can read the text here.

  • 28 October  2020:  The Art Newspaper reports that Tate has suspended Mark Godfrey for criticising Tates decision to delay Philip Guston Show