Tate Exchange to launch next week

‘Bold experiment’ at Tate Modern will connect artists with audiences
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
A drop-in space where visitors can connect and work with artists is to open next week in the new Switch House extension at Tate Modern, London.

Opening on 28 September, Tate Exchange will be a “bold experiment” that hopes to attract 100,000 people a year to take part in its workshops, discussions and seminars, according to Nicholas Serota, the Tate’s outgoing director.

Speaking at Tate’s annual press conference today, Serota said the space would be “a cross between a university and an arts school”, enabling to public to talk to artists about their own works and other pieces in the gallery’s collection.

Meanwhile the organisation also celebrated what it described as an “outstanding year” for the acquisition of works by female artists.

These include Tate Britain’s acquisition of one of the earliest known oil paintings by a British woman artist, Portrait of an Unknown Lady (1650-55) by Joan Carlile.

The acquisitions are part of Tate’s drive to give more prominence to work by women, which will continue next year with a mid-career retrospective of Rachel Whiteread at Tate Britain.

Serota went on to offer his thoughts on how Brexit would affect Tate, saying he did not think leaving the EU would have a “significant impact” on the gallery’s ability to borrow from abroad.

The only concern he highlighted was “a slightly greater reluctance by some foreign organisations to accept the terms of British government indemnity”, which could result in higher insurance premiums.

Addressing the upcoming departure of Serota, who is leaving his post of 28 years to become the chairman of Arts Council England, Tate’s chairman John Browne said there would be no change to the structure of the director’s role or the organisation itself.

Browne said the board would be looking to recruit a director for the organisation who could command respect and operate both in the UK and abroad, although he said they would take care to avoid seeking another director like Serota.

“Nick Serota is a unique individual,” said Browne. “He has established an entirely new way of thinking about art. It would be foolish to search for another Nick.”

Serota is set to leave the organisation in February 2017.

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