Tate steps up security for Whiteread's Turbine Hall installation amid demonstration fears

Guards are on red alert to prevent a possible publicity stunt by Fathers 4 Justice which could prove fatal


Security at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall has been stepped up to prevent a publicity stunt by militant groups such as Fathers 4 Justice.

Last weekend six guards were patrolling Embankment, the newly-unveiled installation of 14,000 polyethylene casts of boxes by Rachel Whiteread. Their job is to stop visitors from climbing the towers of stacked boxes, one of which is 39 feet high. But they have also received briefings about campaigners such as Fathers 4 Justice.

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, a guard on duty in the Turbine Hall said: “We’re terrified Fathers 4 Justice will try a publicity stunt here. We’ve had several meetings about this and we’ve all been told to be extra vigilant. The boxes are hollow so if anyone tries to climb one of the towers, they will crash straight through and injure themselves and others, or worse. It would be terrible publicity for Tate.” Fathers 4 Justice campaign for the rights of fathers and grandparents to see their children. Over the last two years the group has organised a series of highly-effective publicity stunts which have included throwing a purple flour bomb at the Prime Minister from the Strangers’ Gallery in the House of Commons. On another occasion a campaigner dressed as Batman (left) occupied a narrow ledge at the front of Buckingham Palace for five hours.

Another Tate guard confirmed that he and his colleagues had been instructed to look out for visitors dressed as superheroes. Following a request for comment, Tate released the following statement: “Like all installations and exhibitions at Tate, Embankment has been subject to a full health and safety inspection and relevant security measures and routines have been put in place according to perceived risks. For reasons of security these cannot be discussed in any detail including the number of gallery assistants or security officers attending the installation. While we anticipate general issues around health and safety in gallery spaces, we are not aware or expecting particular action by particular groups.”

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Tate guards on red alert for militant fathers'