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Artist Trustees Invigorate the Tate's Board

AN unusual aspect of Britain's Tate Gallery is that a quarter of its board of trustees is made up of artists. While this may be rare, director Nicholas Serota admits the practice has its dangers. He is convinced, however, that its advantages outweigh them.

"It is good for the Tate," Mr. Serota says, "because the gallery can be of the greatest service to the art community ... when it is closely in touch with the feelings of artists. Artists are often the best antennae in terms of changing attitudes to art, the emergence of new ideas, and if they can be close to the institution then they can help us ... promote and provoke that change."

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Serota values the way in which he is "spurred on" by his artist trustees. "Above all," he points out, "they care passionately about the central contents of the institution."

The Tate has trustees "who worry about the bookshop, about the finances, about whether we are getting 60 or 70 thousand children into the gallery. The great thing about the artist trustees is that they care about the art that everything else hangs on. And they get very exercised," Serota observes, "if they feel we are doing things to that art which in some way modify, change, or diminish its standing or special quality."

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