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Who wants to run Tate Modern?

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Will Gompertz | 16:57 UK time, Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Don't you think it's weird that in a country which - according to a plethora of commentators - has become besotted with modern and contemporary art, there is almost no discussion about the vacancy at the top of one of the world's most prestigious modern-art museums?

Look at the departure today of Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy - the story went straight into this website's top ten most-read articles.

Tate Modern

But when Vicente Todoli, the soon-to-be-leaving boss of Tate Modern, announced he was off a couple of months ago, it barely got a mention. Since then, there has been no discernable discussion about who might take over the world's most-visited museum of modern art, no short-lists of potential candidates - no conjecture whatsoever. Well, at this blog, we are interested - and not because I used to work there.

There are plenty of potential applicants, but I suspect the allure of an external candidate. And who could be more alluring than a very brainy Swiss person?

Bice Curiger is the founder of the hugely respected art journal Parkett, a senior curator at the Kunsthaus Zurich and the recently appointed director of the 2011 Venice Biennale. She is also the editor-in-chief of Tate Etc magazine and one of the most impressive, clever and interesting people I have ever met.

And then there's Hans Ulrich Obrist, who came top of last year's Art Review list of the world's most influential art-world types. Among other things, he has spent his recent past running the Serpentine Gallery with Julia Peyton Jones. I don't really know Hans Ulrich, but trust those who have told me that he is top-notch.

It is quite possible neither would want the Tate Modern directorship - but if not them, then who?


  • Comment number 1.

    Who wants to run Tate Modern?

    I do.

    I'll turn it back into a power station again and belch smoke and steam all over the City of London!!!!

    There arty types don't understand the beauty of industrial engineering. Strip off the glass box and reinstate the grim roof. It will be a sign of the times we are about to live through. Art will take second place to economic survival. In its heyday when it was operating as a power station for London it had a reason and purpose - all that is gone. It is the rotting carcase of the beached whale of our real industrial strength. It is not too late. Both it and Battersea power station must be turned back into power stations providing the vital force for London.


  • Comment number 2.

    Who cares about art when we don't even know what it is. We know what Tesco is.

  • Comment number 3.

    It may be the world's most visited museum of modern art, but I'd be interested to know how its visitor figures compare to other attractions.

    I suspect we might see confirmation that much of the modern art scene is really only of interest to a narrow, self-congratulating clique, who delight in dreaming up more and more outrageous new clothes for the emperor to wear.

  • Comment number 4.

    #3 - Tate Modern is the third most popular visitor attraction in the UK, according to this list compiled in 2009:


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