Tate’s artist-in-residence quits in protest of director’s comments on sexual harassment

Liv Wynter. Photo: Holly Whitaker

British artist Liv Wynter has resigned from Tate’s artist-in-residence position, which is based within the education department, claiming institution has failed to address sexual harassment issues and promote diversity. In an open letter, Wynter explains her resignation is largely a response to Tate director Maria Balshaw’s comments on sexual harassment in a Times interview. Balshaw was quoted ‘I personally have never suffered any such issues. Then, I wouldn’t. I was raised to be a confident woman who, when I encountered harassment, would say, ‘Please don’t’… or something rather more direct.’

Although Balshaw later apologised, Wynter says the comments were a ‘huge slap in the face’ in the midst of the artworld’s reckoning with sexual assault and harassment. Wynter, who identifies as queer and working class, also claimed there were inequalities at the core of Tate, noting that every director is white, and accused the institution of using their work with artists from marginalised communities as a ‘distraction technique’. In response to these claims, Balshaw reasserted her commitment to making Tate ‘the most culturally inclusive museum organisation in the world’.

9 March 2018