Alex Farquharson appointed as director of Tate Britain
The executive director of Nottingham Contemporary will replace Penelope Curtis, who will be going to Portugal to head up the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.
Farquharson, who will take up his role at Tate Britain in the autumn, launched Nottingham Contemporary in 2009 with an exhibition of David Hockney’s work from the 1960s. The gallery was founded by Farquharson and a board of trustees.
Before joining the gallery the 45-year-old worked as a curator and co-curated the British Art Show 6 at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. He also co-curated the exhibition Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisions, shown recently at the Nottingham Contemporary and currently on display at Tate Liverpool.
Pablo Bronstein, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jeremy Deller, Gary Hume and Gillian Wearing are among the artists Farquharson has worked with on solo exhibitions.
Nicholas Serota, the director of Tate, said that Farquharson had created a programme for Nottingham Contemporary that serves local and national audiences “working closely with artists and reflecting history as well as present”.
However, some commentators on social media noted that Farquharson’s appointment means that all the national galleries in the UK are headed by men.
Penelope Curtis' "departure and Farquarson’s arrival means all the national art galleries in the UK are run by men." http://t.co/BMCJ4URGac— Helena Bonett (@helena_bonett) July 29, 2015
@helena_bonett Yet staff seem to be predominantly female these days - what's going wrong?— Allie Nickell (@alliethinks) July 29, 2015
Tweeters also referred to the difficulties experienced by Curtis during her time as the director of Tate Britain.
@alliethinks Astonishing isn't it. But the experience Curtis had of putting her head over the parapet suggests why many women wouldn't dare.— Helena Bonett (@helena_bonett) July 29, 2015
@helena_bonett I would hope her experience wouldn't discourage other women, it was an unlucky coincidence.— Allie Nickell (@alliethinks) July 29, 2015
Curtis led the £45m redevelopment of Tate Britain, but was criticised in the national newspapers for some of the exhibitions she oversaw, including the Sculpture Victorious exhibition.