After the departure of its previous CEO amid allegations that she was connected to a tech firm with potentially unsavory business dealings, the Serpentine Galleries in London has named a new CEO.
Bettina Korek, current executive director of the Frieze Los Angeles art fair, will be the new CEO of the Serpentine Galleries. She starts at the London institution in March, meaning that she will be at the L.A. fair when it opens its second edition in February.
“This is the only opportunity that could inspire me to leave Los Angeles,” she said in a statement. “Some of the most compelling qualities of L.A. as a city are embodied by the Serpentine as an institution: intrepid innovation, fluidity across disciplines, an irresistible preoccupation with the future.”
Prior to working at Frieze Los Angeles, Korek served for 15 years as the leader of ForYourArt, an arts organization that she founded to promote art events throughout L.A. Briefly, the organization also operated a physical space where some events were held. In a statement, Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, said that Korek has a “visionary understanding of art and its contexts.”
The news comes several months after the Serpentine saw the resignation of its prior CEO, Yana Peel, amid controversy over her possible sources of income. In June, a Guardian report claimed that Peel, who had long been an advocate for socially engaged art, could be connected to the tech firm NSO Group, which has been accused of helping produce spyware used by the government of Saudi Arabia. Peel has denied the claims. Shortly after the report came out, Peel resigned, saying in a statement, “I am saddened to find myself in this position.”