Nicholas Serota & Frances Morris

Outgoing Tate director and new director Tate Modern

It’s been quite a year for Tate director Nicholas Serota. In April he turned seventy and in June he celebrated the opening of Tate Modern’s new Herzog & de Meuron-designed Switch House building, to great attention and largely popular acclaim. Providing 60 percent more space and the opportunity to rehang the galleries, the addition put into practice Tate’s ongoing remit to show more women artists as well as more global artists. Of the 1,008 works acquired by Tate in 2015–16, 676 were by artists from outside the UK. Major exhibitions at Tate galleries by women artists during the same period included Marlene Dumas, Sonia Delaunay, Agnes Martin, Mona Hatoum and Barbara Hepworth. With new directors for Tate Modern (Frances Morris) and Tate Britain (Alex Farquharson) in place, and with his legacy secured, it was no great surprise that in September, after nearly 30 years at the head of the institution, Serota announced he would be step ping down. Another long-term relationship with Tate also came to a close when oil and gas company BP announced that it would be ending its 26-year sponsorship deal with the institution. BP cited the ‘challenging business environment’, but that didn’t take away the victory of activist collective Liberate Tate, who had been protesting the institution’s association with the company since 2010. Liberate Tate is now refocusing its campaign on other BP-sponsored art institutions. Serota isn’t ready for retirement either. In February 2017 he’ll be taking over from Peter Bazalgette in the (albeit Part-time) role of chair of Arts Council England.