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Who owns public art? Panel Discussion at Tate Britain

Tuesday 29th January 2013, 18.00 – 20.30

Who owns public art?
Panel discussion

Tate Britain, Auditorium
Tuesday 29 January 2013, 18.00 – 20.30

, concessions available
Booking recommended

The proposed sale of Henry Moore’s Draped Seated Woman (affectionately known as ‘Old Flo’) by Tower Hamlets Council has provoked public outrage amidst fears about the future of public art in the collections of local councils. As the council faced the challenge over its claims to own and sell the statue, the dispute over legal ownership of the artwork proves pivotal to the sale. But this case raises wider question of public art ownership that demand consideration. Who owns public art? Do local councils have the right to sell it in the name of public benefit? What is the role of the government and its policies in these decisions? What are difficulties faced by those charged with the preservation of public art?

To debate these issues from a wide range of perspectives, we invited participants from a variety of relevant fields: artists, art historians, and those involved with making social policies and the representatives from the local councils. The debate is chaired by Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain.

Bob and Roberta Smith

Bob and Roberta Smith believe that art plays a powerful role in democratic systems, both as a forum for free speech and as a workshop to explore new futures. Bob and Roberta Smith signwrite their ideas on pieces of old timber they find in skips. Their work has been shown extensively internationally.

Simon Parker
Simon Parker is director of NLGN, the country’s leading localist think tank. Simon previously worked in journalism and public policy research, most recently as a fellow at the Institute for Government. He has published widely on local democracy, public services and civil service reform. He writes regularly for publications that include The Guardian and the Municipal Journal.

Robert Burstow
Robert Burstow is Reader in History and Theory of Art at the University of Derby. His principal research interests are in post-war modern and contemporary British art and art criticism, and he has a particular interest in public art. He is currently leading research on the public sculpture of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association’s National Recording Project and working on a forthcoming book on modern sculpture in post-war Britain.

Anne Power
Anne Power has been involved in European and American housing and urban problems since 1965. She is Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Head of LSE Housing and Communities, a research group based within the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion. In 1991, she became founding director of the National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall, which provides residential training and pump-priming support for people living and working in low-income communities, and is currently Chair. Her research interests include housing, neighbourhoods, social problems, climate change, cities and international experience.

Click here to read Sarah Crompton's article in The Telegraph on 21st January: 'We shouldn't sell public art - even to raise funds'.

Visit www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/talks-and-lectures/who-owns-public-art

Rachel Whiteread House 1993  Photo: Sue Omerod © Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread House 1993 Photo: Sue Omerod © Rachel Whiteread