The Tate bought 18 pieces by Abraham Cruzvillegas, including one called **** Models, which cost £16,000. It appears to be made from an old bird table on top of which there are upright metal rods with lumps of sheep excrement.
The gallery described it as “sheep excrement, dung, plaster, cardboard, steel and wood”. The artist admitted he used items he found on the street or in fields when he was in Scotland.
The installation was revealed in a document showing all the artworks bought by the Tate in the past year. Cruzvillegas’s work was bought with funds given to the Tate by wealthy benefactors. A further £229,000 was spent on a piece by Cuban Felix Gonzalez-Torres which featured two light bulbs, light sockets and cable.
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The Tate is run by Sir Nicolas Serota, who also spent £2,100 from a Government grant to buy a work from artist Ed Herring which included an old plastic card-index file.
Charles Thomson, of Stuckists, which promotes traditional art, said: “If this stuff was auctioned on eBay it would sell for a fiver. The Tate’s meant to be the national collection of modern art. It’s more like the national junk shop.”
The Tate said: “We are pleased to acquire works by these artists using funds raised by Tate.”