Tate Britain has named its first female director. Dr Penelope Curtis was selected to replace the current director, Dr Stephen Deuchar who is leaving after eleven years in the post.
In a press release Dr Curtis, currently curator of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, said of her appointment: ‘Tate Britain has a unique remit – historic and contemporary, national and international – and I look forward to exploring and expanding those areas’. The Tate’s director, Sir Nicholas Serota said he was ‘delighted’ at Dr Curtis’s appointment and that she would bring her ‘scholarship and original vision to the presentation of British art’.
Dr Curtis studied for a PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art after studying modern history at Oxford. She began working for Leeds Museums and Galleries in 1994 where she was appointed head of the Henry Moore Centre, which under her leadership, was developed into the Henry Moore Institute, renowned for both its exhibitions and research. Before her work at the Henry Moore Institute, Dr Curtis was the exhibitions curator at Tate Liverpool. As a specialist in sculpture and 20th century British art, Dr Curtis has written publications on the topic including Sculpture 1900-1945 and Patio and Pavilion: The Place of Sculpture in Modern Architecture.
Only one other woman has been director of a Tate gallery, Susan Daniel-McElroy was director at Tate St Ives in Cornwall but left the post in 1997. Dr Curtis will begin her new role in April.