Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Whitechapel Gallery KO's Tim Atkin MW's photos
Po-faced gallery staff removing Tim Atkin MW's photos
The invitation to Tim's top 50 Argentine wines + exhibition of his photos
A small showing of Tim Atkin's photos taken during a visit to Argentina last December alongside a tasting his Top 50 Argentine wines at The Whitechapel Gallery was this afternoon KOed by gallery staff. The problem appears to have risen because the showing Tim's photos was described as an 'exhibition' and the showing of the photos had not been sanctioned by the gallery.
Tim put up the photos this morning in the private room hired by Wines of Argentina and tweeted that he was very excited:
Early this afternoon Tim was informed by the Gallery's events manager that the photos, which Tim had spent two hours putting up, would have to come down as this wasn't an 'officially sanctioned exhibition'. Tim then put the photos behind the wines. Unfortunately this still broke the rules and in a very petty and childish action the gallery staff insisted on taking the photos away again. After all the event was private with guests being signed in.
A photo propped behind the wines...
... now on its way out...
A seething and glum Tim Atkin MW showing one of his photos during the tasting
Safe I think to assume that Wines of Argentina will not be rushing back to The Whitechapel Gallery for an event and probably not any other wine trade event organisers. Rather than worry about a few photos, the Gallery staff's time would have been better occupied mending the air conditioning, which had apparently broken down. This made the smallish room along with the often very butch Malbecs uncomfortably warm.
Message sent today from Ronald Atkin, Tim's father:
For the attention of Iwona Blazwick, Director of The Whitechapel Gallery
Dear Iwona Blazwick
I attended the above tasting at the Whitechapel Gallery yesterday, along with 300 others, and was shocked to find the photographs of Argentina and Argentinians which accompanied the tasting being removed by members of your staff on the spurious grounds that they constituted an exhibition which had not been officially approved.
I would have hoped such Jobsworth attitudes might not have percolated down to organisations such as yours. I am sure that somewhere in the Gallery's rules there exists a sub-section VIII which would explain - but certainly not excuse - the crass and rude behaviour of your staff towards Wines of Argentina, the company which rented the room from you, and Tim Atkin, the highly-respected Master of Wine who travelled to Argentina to judge the wines and whose photographs of that trip were deemed unworthy of being looked at.
Since the other parts of the Gallery, from my own observation, were certainly sparsely attended yesterday the fact that your staff managed to insult and alienate so many people could be deemed a PR disaster of Titanic proportions. As a journalist myself, I can imagine the headlines now - "The Gallery Where You Can't Show Pictures". Ridiculous.
father of Tim Atkin, Master of Wine
Latest news (17.30, 10th May 2012)
Tim's 20 photos from his December trip to Argentina will be exhibited at the Kensington Wine Rooms, W8 from Monday 28th May.