Art world figures snub UK prime minister’s party for Frieze anniversary


A raft of high-profile figures from the arts and culture sector attended a reception at No. 10 Downing Street earlier this week, hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, to mark the 20th anniversary of Frieze London. But not everyone accepted the invitation.

The artist Ryan Gander tells The Art Newspaper: “There is only one way out of broken Britain and that is not to entertain these idiots whatsoever.” Zoé Whitley, the director of the Chisenhale Gallery in London, also turned down the invitation.

Sarah McCrory, the director of Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in London, says: “I wouldn’t walk through the door of this government which has slashed funding to the arts and decimated arts and humanities in the school curricula… [their] destruction of public services and the NHS and their treatment of those struggling I find repulsive. Also, did everyone miss the PM’s transphobic speech at the Tory party conference? There’s no way I’d eat his hors d’oeuvres.”

According to a government statement, “the event demonstrated the government’s support for the visual arts as a key part of the success of the wider arts sector as a major contributor to the UK economy”. Art market leaders and representatives from art galleries and museums across the UK were in attendance, the government said.


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