Artist accuses Tate of faith bias
A JEWISH performance artist has accused the Tate Gallery of religious discrimination after it rejected his scheme to make a model of its founder Sir Henry Tate, the 19th-century sugar magnate, out of cubes of sugar.
Anthony Padgett, who discovered his Jewish roots only seven years ago, claimed that the gallery discriminated against him because it had turned him down but then went on to commission a sugar-cube-based creation by another artist, Turner Prizewinner Rachel Whiteread.
Today he will ask an employment tribunal to say whether or not performance artists are covered by current employment laws. If he is successful, Mr Padgett will be allowed to go forward with his claim against the Tate.
A Tate Gallery spokesperson said: “Anthony Padgett, not an employee of Tate, put in an unsolicited proposal for a work of art and claims our rejection of the proposal discriminated against him on religious grounds. Tate does not discriminate against artists or employees for their religious belief or ethnic background.”
Mr Padgett, 38, lives in Morecambe, Lancashire. He said he came from a Hamburg Jewish family and was related to the author and poet Humbert Wolfe, who died in 1940.
“My mother was looking into the family’s history and discovered that her parents were Jewish. When I was younger I worked for the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem and both the Israeli and Palestinian antiquities authorities,” he said.
“My mother has become more involved with Judaism since she found out.”
Mr Padgett was short-listed in 2004 and commended in 2007 in the Ben Uri art gallery’s International Jewish Artist of the Year awards, and in 2004 created a performance in Oskar Schindler’s factory in Krakow, Poland.
Anthony Padgett with one of his multi-faith installations