Art

Director, Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester and Manchester City Galleries
Now set to succeed Nicholas Serota as director of the Tate, Maria Balshaw first realised her passion for visual arts after seeing Cornelia Parker’s 1991 installation Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View. At the Whitworth in Manchester she has been responsible for coordinating a number of acclaimed exhibitions and revitalising the Manchester gallery. In 2011 Balshaw became director of Manchester City Galleries, a dual-directorship between the University of Manchester and Manchester City Council. She has united the two, creating a renewed interest in the city’s galleries on both local and international levels. She is also director of culture at Manchester City Council and on the board of Arts Council England.
Artist
2016 has seen Phyllida Barlow secure the much coveted role as Britain’s representative at the 2017 Venice Biennale, despite the fact that a decade ago she was struggling to sell work and was unrepresented by a commercial gallery. Barlow studied at the Chelsea College of Art and the Slade, where she went on to teach, becoming professor of fine art and director of undergraduate studies. Her breakthrough as an artist came when she exhibited at the Serpentine in 2010, after which she gained representation by Hauser & Wirth.
Artist
In 2016 mixed-media artist Sonia Boyce became a Royal Academician and received an award from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, which gives the UK’s largest individual awards for the visual arts. Initially favouring large pastels and photographic collages, Boyce has also worked in film, photography, installations, drawings and sound. She has taught at a number of art colleges and is currently a professor at Middlesex University and University of the Arts London, where she hopes to create the first database of works by black artists.
Founder and Director, Sadie Coles HQ
One of the most recognisable names on the international art scene, Sadie Coles’s contemporary art gallery in Mayfair shows both established and emerging artists, and she has been credited with promoting and championing many of the Young British Artists. Having left Middlesex University with a degree in art history and film studies, Coles spent six years working for art dealer and curator Anthony d’Offay, creating her own project space for young artists. She set up Sadie Coles HQ in 1997.
Director, National Portrait Gallery
Curator and art historian Nicholas Cullinan was announced as the new director of the National Portrait Gallery in January 2015, becoming, at 37, its second-youngest in its 157-year history. Prior to his directorship, Cullinan was curator of international modern art at the Tate Modern and worked for two years as a curator at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. He studied for his BA, MA and PhD at the Courtauld Institute and has recently expressed his concern at AQA’s decision to scratch art history A-levels, citing the value of art history both to students and to the visual arts economy.
Director, Tate Britain
In 2015 Alex Farquharson replaced Penelope Curtis as director of Tate Britain. Prior to this appointment he founded Nottingham Contemporary, a museum he built into one of the UK’s leading galleries with a programme seeking to appeal to both local and national audiences. Hailed as a brilliant curatorial talent, Farquharson has lectured on curating at the Royal College of Art, and sits on the Arts Council Collection’s Acquisitions Committee. As part of his role he also chairs the jury for the influential Turner Prize.
Director, National Gallery
National Gallery director Gabriele Finaldi became interested in art aged 16 when he saw Rembrandt’s Girl at a Window. He went on to study Art History at the Courtauld, followed by a stretch at the National Gallery, before moving to Madrid to work in the Prado as deputy director for collections and research, staying for 12 years. Finaldi is a respected scholar, having published many articles, and the National’s critically-acclaimed Beyond Caravaggio has been followed up with by an exhibition of Australian Impressionists.
Art Dealer, Writer and Historian
Art historian Bendor Grosvenor has identified a number of important paintings by Old Masters and presents BBC4 series Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, as well as appearing on BBC1’s Fake or Fortune. Having studied at Cambridge, he went on to specialise in Old Masters and British pictures. His first major discovery was in 2003, when he unearthed a portrait by Regency artist Sir Thomas Lawrence. His favourite artist is apparently Sir Anthony van Dyck.
Artist
Painter, printmaker, set designer and photographer David Hockney was one of the leading pop art figures of the 1960s, and has remained prolific and highly popular ever since. Hockney attended the Royal College of Art and moved to Los Angeles in the ’60s where he created his iconic sun-drenched swimming pool paintings; he later returned to Yorkshire to paint his famous vivid landscapes. 2016 saw a new body of 82 portraits by Hockney exhibited at the Royal Academy, and his next project is to design a stained-glass window in Westminster Abbey in honour of The Queen.
Artistic Director, Royal Academy
Tim Marlow joined the Royal Academy of Arts in 2014 as artistic director. His remit includes the RA’s exhibition programme and collection, as well learning, architecture and publishing. Prior to this he was director of exhibitions at White Cube. He has worked with many important and influential artists including Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Tracey Emin and Gilbert & George. He is also an award-winning radio and television broadcaster who has presented over 100 documentaries, the founder editor of Tate magazine and the author of numerous books and catalogues. He has lectured, chaired and participated in panel discussions on art and culture in more than 40 countries.
Sculptor
2016 Turner Prize winner Helen Marten also won the 2016 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, opting to split her £30,000 winnings with her fellow nominees in the spirit of ‘communality’. Judges praised her hybrid works, which are composed of found and fabricated objects, for their ‘refined craft and intellectual precision’, while critics have commented on her astonishing attention to detail. Marten attended Central St Martin’s and the Ruskin, and started out producing work from her parents’ garage. She exhibited at both last year’s Venice Biennale and this year’s Biennale in Sydney, and was also shown at the Serpentine.
Director, International Art Collection, Tate Modern
Appointed in 2016, Frances Morris is Tate Modern’s first female and first British director. Morris joined the Tate Gallery as a curator in 1987, becoming head of displays at Tate Modern when it opened in 2000 and director of its international art collection in 2006. The gallery grew 60% in size in 2016 when it opened an 11-floor extension, and Morris delivered on her promise to represent more female artists with a high profile retrospective of American modernist Georgia O’Keefe.
Artist
Named Artist of the Year by Apollo Magazine in 2016, Cornelia Parker is best known for her large-scale installations, notoriously Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View depicting an exploded shed, which made her name when it was first exhibited in 1991. Parker’s work often focuses on themes of fragility, destruction and resurrection, and her most recent installation, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), was constructed from the salvaged remains of a red barn. A 30-foot high replica of the house from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, it was commissioned for display in the Cantor Roof Garden of New York’s Met Gallery.
CEO, Serpentine Gallery
In June 2016 Yana Peel became the new CEO of London’s Serpentine Gallery where she now works in partnership with artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist, overseeing eight exhibitions a year. Peel, who has described herself as ‘pathologically curious’, was born in Russia and studied in Montreal and London. After a stint at Goldman Sachs, she co-founded the Outset Contemporary Art Fund, where she worked for seven years, raising millions for galleries and museums. In 2009, she moved to Hong Kong and co-founded Intelligence Squared Asia, which organises debates and discussions.
Artist
Grayson Perry’s talents span many disciplines: he is a Turner Prize-winning artist, Reith lecturer, writer and double-BAFTA-winning presenter of documentaries on gender and identity. In 2016, he was awarded an honorary RIBA Fellowship for his architectural work Julie’s House and published a book, The Descent of Man, which focuses on gender studies in men. Born in Chelmsford, Perry graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic with a degree in fine art and later enrolled in an evening pottery course. Also well known for his female alter ego, Claire, Perry is chancellor of the University of the Arts London.
Documentary Maker and Writer
Writer and film-maker Hannah Rothschild is chair of the National Gallery’s Board of Trustees, responsible for protecting the gallery’s collections and ensuring entry remains free. Her 2015 debut novel The Improbability of Love, which tells the story of a woman who discovers a lost masterpiece by Watteau, won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. She has also made documentaries on subjects including Peter Mandelson and her own great-aunt, who rebelled against her famous family to pursue a relationship with jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. Rothschild was a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery and the ICA, and co-founded charity Artists on Film.
Director, Frieze Fairs
Victoria Siddall has one of the biggest jobs in the commercial art world as director of Frieze Art Fairs since 2014. Frieze began life as a magazine founded in 1990 by Matthew Slotov and Amanda Sharp, who went on to stage their first fair in 2003. Taking place annually in Regents Park, it is now one of the most prominent art fairs in the world, and in 2016 it included work by Grayson Perry and Anish Kapoor. Siddall worked at Christie’s for three years before joining Frieze, where she launched Frieze Masters and Frieze New York.
Artist
Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shobinare’s many notable works include Globe Head Ballerina at the Royal Opera House, which features a life-sized spinning ballerina in a glass globe, and Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, displayed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Shobinare was born in London, but spent most of his childhood in Nigeria before returning to London in his teens to study Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Much of his work explores issues of race and class, and his use of a range of media questions the meaning of culture.
Director, Courtauld Institute
Deborah Swallow has been director of prestigious history of art and conservation college The Courtauld since 2004. The institute’s many illustrious alumni include Anita Brookner, Lavinia Greenlaw, National Gallery director Gabriele Finaldi and Nicholas Cullinan, the current director of the National Portrait Gallery. In 2016 it launched a £50 million redevelopment programme aimed at making its collections more accessible, partly through an online archive. Swallow previously worked at the V&A, where she was responsible for the Asian department and served as director of collections. In addition to her managerial role, she also teaches courses in curation and History of Art.
International Gallerists and Collectors
Contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth has locations in London, Somerset, New York, Los Angeles and Zurich and represents artists including Phyllida Barlow, Louise Bourgeoise and Henry Moore. The gallery was set up by Swiss husband-and-wife team Iwan and Manuela who met after Wirth, as a young art dealer, asked Hauser’s mother if she wanted to help him buy a Chagall and Picasso. They were placed top of the ArtReview Power 100 in 2015, and third in 2016. Hauser & Wirth has also published over 100 art books and is due to open a new gallery in New York in 2018.
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