Publication:

London Evening Standard - 2021-11-25

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Tate chief hits back at ‘wokeish drivel’ critics

News Special Investigation

TATE Britain’s Hogarth exhibition delighted critics — apart, that is, from the “wokeish drivel” on the wall panels accompanying the paintings of the English master. But now the gallery’s director has said they were taking an “innovative approach” and that Tate Britain has “the confidence to provide a public platform for those conversations”. Hogarth immortalised the seedier side of Georgian London with works such as Gin Lane. The Standard gave the “stunning show” four stars, but also noted “bizarrely earnest panels beside the pictures, on the slave trade, 18th-century attitudes to race, the problematic origins of its consumer goods and sex.” Other critics were less generous. Waldemar Januszack in the Sunday Times took aim at “the collapse here of useful scholarship and its replacement by wokeish drivel”. Alex Farquharson, Tate Britain’s director, is undeterred, though. He tells the Art Newspaper: “Hogarth emerges from this process as an even more sophisticated and influential artist than we already knew.” Panel wars.

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