Artist ac­cuses Tate of faith bias

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY LEON SY­MONS

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

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