Alex Farquharson Announced As New Director of Tate Britain

Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary has been appointed as the new Director of Tate Britain, it was announced today. He replaces Penelope Curtis who will now take up a new position as Director, at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon.

Mr Farquharson (45) is the founding Director of Nottingham Contemporary. Under Alex’s leadership since 2007, Nottingham Contemporary has become one of the leading visual arts institutions in the UK. He launched the gallery in 2009 to public acclaim with an exhibition of David Hockney’s work from the Sixties. Its programme is known for pairings of solo exhibitions and imaginative group exhibitions, many of which combine historic, modern and contemporary art. In the first five years Nottingham Contemporary attracted over 1 million visitors. 

The new Director is an established curator of British art and before joining Nottingham Contemporary he co-curated the British Art Show 6 (2005-6). Alex co-curated Glenn Ligon: Encounters and Collisionsshown recently at Nottingham Contemporary and currently at Tate Liverpool. British and UK-based artists he has worked with on solo exhibitions over the last twenty years include Pablo Bronstein, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Jeremy Deller, Gary Hume, Mark Leckey, Richard Long, Gustav Metzger, Bridget Riley and Gillian Wearing. 

Mr Farquharson studied English and Fine Art at the University of Exeter (1988-1991) followed by a Masters in Arts Criticism at City University, London (1992-1993). He was on the selection committee for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2009 (Steve McQueen), the Deutsche BörsePhotography Prize in 2011, and Paul Hamlyn Foundation – Awards for Artists in 2012. He is an independent writer and critic contributing to arts publications including Frieze, Artforum and Art Monthly. His publications include Isa Genzken (Phaidon) and Richard Wright (Dundee Contemporary Arts). He was a visiting Tutor and Research Fellow, Curating Contemporary Art MA at the Royal College of Art, London (2001-2007). He sits on the Arts Council Collection’s Acquisitions Committee and the Board of Raven Row.

Alex Farquharson said: “I am delighted to be joining Tate as Director of Tate Britain. As the home of 500 years of British art, Tate Britain has a unique and fascinating position in the cultural life of the nation. 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, Nicholas Serota, said: “Alex Farquharson has established Nottingham Contemporary as one of the leading art galleries in the UK. He has created a programme that serves local and national audiences, working closely with artists and reflecting history as well as the present.” Alex Farquharson will take up the appointment of Director, Tate Britain in late autumn 2015.

Photo: Paul Black © Artlyst 2015