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Art Market & You : TATE STAFF LAYOFFS

Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore troubles at staff layoffs at the Tate.

Our Director Divvya Nirula presents reports from the international art market with the view to assist our collectors, investors, and all lovers of art.

Despite shutdowns, the Tate managed to pay its staff salaries through April. The institution saw a revenue dip due to Coronavirus. Yet, management made good on its promise to pay employees at all Tate’s galleries. These included Tate Modern, Tate Britain and the galleries at Liverpool and St. Ives. The culture sector has suffered tremendously due to the COVID-19 shut down. In light of this, Tate’s decision was lauded.

However, more recently, the institution has announced plans to cut 300 jobs. Positions at the gallery’s commercial wing – Tate Enterprises – are now at risk. The announcement has drawn severe backlash from employees and the PCS union.

Trimming the ‘Excess’

The news of Tate deliberating layoffs is sad, yet not surprising. Global art institutions can expect to face a series of challenges in the post-pandemic world.

Tate recently re-opened its doors after a 4 month lock down. And they’ve already landed themselves in trouble. But such financial concerns are not theirs alone.

Several American museums had begun sacking employees during the shutdown itself. The Whitney Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Cleveland Museum of Art to name a few. Back in the UK, several other cultural institutions have also announced layoffs. The Hayward Gallery has announced about 400 jobs will be lost. Other arts institutions such as the National Theatre have also let go of employees due to lack of funds. While the shut-downs may slowly be lifting, survival continues to remain a challenge.

A Bleak Future

Globally, the art & culture sector has been weak over the past decade. Still reeling from the financial crash of 2007-08, now we have post-pandemic financial woes. The UK government reportedly has plans for a bailout for the arts. However, the amount of bailout and effectiveness of its use is yet to be seen.

Furthermore, one mustn’t exclude upcoming markets from this narrative. The art markets in China, India and other Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries will suffer major setbacks. And challenges they can ill afford. Unfortunately, the protests at the Tate seem like a mere glimpse of what is to come.


To read more on facts and opinions, visit Art Market & You.

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