The Independent tells the story of how the Tate developed such close relationship with the artists Gilbert & George that culminated in the 2007 retrospective that was the largest of any single artist mounted at the Museum. It all began with a long boozy lunch that nearly decimated the museum’s T&E budget:
In 1974, Tate employees, including Anne d’Offay, wife of the influential art dealerAnthony d’Offay, entertained the pair with a lunchtime binge. The artists drank “the majority” of three bottles of wine and 12 glasses of vintage port. The corresponding expense claim, 8 per cent of the Tate’s annual budget for entertaining, angered senior figures at the gallery.
“Unfortunately, Gilbert and George consumed an astronomical amount of drink,” said Mrs d’Offay, the Tate curator who submitted the expenses claim. “You can imagine that it was impossible to stop them ordering without creating a rumpus. […]
Two years after the meal, the Tate acquired Gilbert and George’s 1972 film, Gordon’s Makes Us Drunk, which shows the pair getting drunk on Gordon’s Gin. It was one of their significant early successes, cementing a close relationship with the gallery that has continued for nearly 40 years.
Gilbert and George and the Night They Drank the Tate Dry (Independent)