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Tate director Serota to step down

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Nicholas Serota, the influential director of the Tate who oversaw a series of major building projects for the art museum, is to step down later this year

During Serota’s 28 years at the arts organisation, he has driven forward ‘a dramatic period of building expansion’ which includes the extension of James Stirling’s Tate Liverpool in 1998, the opening of Herzog & de Meuron’s Tate Modern in 2000 (and its recent addition) and Caruso St John’s revamp of Tate Britain in 2013.



Caruso St John’s revamp of Tate Britain

He was also behind the creation of Tate St Ives and the new building designed by Eldred Evans and David Shalev and has helped pushed through Jamie Fobert’s current extension plans for the Cornish gallery.

A former director of the Whitechapel Gallery in east London, Serota joined the Tate in 1988 having studied History of Art at Christ’s College, Cambridge.

Tate’s chairman, Lord Browne said: ’Serota [is] one of the world’s greatest museum directors and a leader for the visual arts on a global stage. Under his leadership Tate has become a pre-eminent cultural organisation nationally and internationally and one of the most visited in the world.

‘He has championed British art and artists throughout the world while at the same time ensuring that Tate has become a much loved, open and accessible institution for the public. He leaves Tate in a strong position on which to build for the future. We wish him well as he takes on new responsibilities which will be for the benefit of all the arts.’ 


Serota said: ’Over the past 30 years there has been a sea-change in public appreciation of the visual arts in this country. Tate is proud to have played a part in this transformation alongside other national and regional museums and the new galleries that have opened across the country in places like Walsall, Margate, Wakefield, Gateshead and Nottingham.

Tate has always been fortunate to have enjoyed the support of artists and to have benefited from the international acclaim for the work of British artists in recent years. I leave an institution that has the potential to reach broad audiences across the UK and abroad, through its own programmes, partnerships and online.

Serota will take up the part-time role of chairman of the Arts Council on 1 February 2017 and will continue at Tate until later in the year.


Mary Douglas, the AJ’s head of engagement

’The news that Nicholas Serota is to leave Tate is about the biggest story in UK art all year. Routinely voted among the most influential art figures internationally, Nick - as he is known by all Tate staff - has made an enormous personal impact on fulfilling Tate’s mission to collect and display art for the nation.

’During his tenure as director he transformed the organisation - most notably by the creation of Tate Modern. As a former staff member, I experienced Nick’s leadership first-hand. His calm and measured approach to leadership earned him much respect among his teams. He has left some big shoes to fill.’ 

AJ building studies: Tate Modern (2000) and Caruso St John’s Tate Britain revamp (2014)

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