The Tate Gallery, London
12 May 2006
“Tate” has lost the definite article and “Tate” would like us to refer to the institution as simply, “Tate” and no longer “The Tate”.
The first time I noticed this we were waiting at the lift on the Ground Floor of “Tate” formerly known as “The Tate”. A simple bland sign directing art lovers towards something or other left out the definite Article, and I pointed this out to Mrs Monk who loves to scold me and school children about grammar and spelling.
We soon realised that this was not a mistake, because everywhere from the cloakroom to printed menus the same usage prevailed.
In the current, “Tate Etc” The “Tate” quarterly publication, it is clear that every contributor has been directed to refer to the gallery in this modish way, but after scanning a few articles it is also clear that the writers are struggling to keep this up. Yes, I found some lapses, and even a paragraph where both methods were used in close proximity.
I’m no purist about language and I actually enjoy the bending and twisting of the language especially in Essex, where it usually evolves from the street. However, “Tate” has messed with the language at an executive level, and has imposed it on the great British liberal art loving public that likes to make up its own mind about such things.
Mrs Monk is an English teacher and she says, “Cut it out” Shoestring Chronicle