Maria Balshaw

Director of Tate galleries

In her third year as director of the Tate galleries, Balshaw avoided the foot-in-mouth moments that blighted her 2018 by redirecting attention to a varied exhibition programme across the four locations: William Blake, Frank Bowling, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Otobong Nkanga, Vincent van Gogh, Franz West… and ending the year on an upswing, Kara Walker’s well-received Turbine Hall commission. When she did speak up – as at the Verbier Art Summit – it was to argue for the art museum as ‘premised on an ethics of care, for people, di§erent views, values and realities’, and elsewhere she could be heard hymning Tate’s ambitions as a global brand fostering the values of liberal democracy. Meanwhile, Tate expanded its partnership with Hyundai Motors to create a new research initiative designed to make its acquisitions and display of twenty-first-century art more ‘transnational’. Such globe-straddling aims, as much as putting on a mix of crowd-pleasing and educative shows at home, seem now at the centre of Tate’s remit.