Tate buys Wei Wei sunflower seeds - but won't say for how much

March 5 2012

Image of Tate buys Wei Wei sunflower seeds - but won't say for how much

Picture: Graham Turner/Guardian

The Tate has bought 8m of Ai Wei Wei's porcelain sunflower seeds. More details in The Guardian. But, intriguingly:

The Tate acquired the work with the help of a grant from the Art Fund charity, but has not revealed the price.

Why not? For more on Wei Wei seed prices, see my earlier post

Update: the ArtFund, which supported the purchase, has put up a statement on their site, but also makes no mention of the cost. This appears to be unusual for the Fund. Their own conditions state:

The Art Fund may publicise the amount and purpose of a grant in whatever way it thinks fit, other than in relation to grants for the purchase of objects coming up at auction or in other cases in which the Art Fund agrees that it would be appropriate to waive this right. The Art Fund will publish the cost of all Art Fund-assisted Objects unless the Beneficiary can satisfy the Art Fund that there is a valid reason why such information should be withheld.

I'm intrigued as to what the 'valid reason' in this case is, if there is one. If public money is involved, it had better be a good one, don't you think?

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