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Artwork criticises public funding of the arts

Howard Lake | 10 July 2015 | News

This year’s Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy contains a wide range of artworks in various media, but one in particular is likely to stand out to any fundraisers. It was a personal attack on not just a grantmaker, but that grantmaker’s Chair.
Sir Peter Bazalgette’s P45, by Rob and Roberta Smith RA, is an oil on board painting that presents itself as the P45 (the tax certificate given to an employee as they end their employment), to the Chair of Arts Council England.

Sir Peter Bazalgette's P45

Artists calling time on a funder’s Chair

A lengthy text message on a red background is headlined with messages such as “Whatever happened to arm’s length?” and “Sack Peter Bazalgette”.
The message reads in capitals throughout:

“Peter Bazalgette You do not have the confidence of artists You are simply normalizing a government view. By saying theatres are all businesses and no funded organization should receive more than 25% A.C.E support you have prooved yourself to be a puppet. Ur not a champion of art but part of art’s destruction” [sic].

The artwork is on sale for £7,500.
Bob and Roberta Smith have produced other work defending the arts, including ‘Art makes children powerful‘.


How to move from Fundraiser to CEO - by Bruce Tait. Upwards white arrow on blue background.