The Tate Britain announced today that, starting in the late fall of this year, Alex Farquharson will be the museum’s new director. Farquharson is currently the executive director of the contemporary arts center Nottingham Contemporary, which he also founded.
Since Nottingham Contemporary was founded in 2007, the arts center established itself as one of England’s premier contemporary art institutions. In particular, a 2009 exhibition of David Hockney’s work from the ’60s was widely praised by critics. More recently, Farquharson co-curated a show of Glenn Ligon’s work that traveled from Nottingham Contemporary to the Tate Liverpool.
Farquharson’s new position at the Tate Britain follows news from earlier this year that the museum’s previous director, Penelope Curtis, would be stepping down to become the director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, in Lisbon. Curtis’s rehang of the Tate Britain’s permanent collection and renovation of the museum received critical acclaim, but the exhibition slate she oversaw was seen as unimpressive.
Though Farquharson has spent most of his career working with contemporary art, he shared his excitement about working with the Tate Britain’s expansive permanent collection, which includes British art from 1500 to now. “As the home of 500 years of British art, Tate Britain has a unique and fascinating position in the cultural life of the nation,” Farquharson said in a statement to the press. “I look forward to working with a highly skilled and experienced team of curators to share these histories with audiences of all kinds.”
Tate director Nicolas Serota was also enthusiastic about Farquharson working with more art history. “Alex Farquharson has established Nottingham Contemporary as one of the leading art galleries in the U.K.,” Serota said. “He has created a program that serves local and national audiences, working closely with artists and reflecting history as well as the present.”