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Valuing the Tate

Chris Ofili's relationship to the Tate is part of a benign, not a vicious, circle of value

On 19th July, the Tate announced the purchase of one of the most acclaimed works by a British artist of the last five years, Chris Ofili’s 13-canvas installation The Upper Room (right). When this was first shown to the public three years ago in June 2002, the Guardian’s Adrian Searle judged it, “the bravest, and one of the most original works I have seen by a painter for years,” while the Telegraph’s Richard Dorment praised “a palette so rich, so saturated and so gorgeous that I can remember thinking when I first encountered it that I’d never seen another work…

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