Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The son of a Labour education minister, Serota grew up in North London and attended the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School before taking Economics at the University of Cambridge, before switching to History of Art. He completed a Masters degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art under Anthony Blunt; his thesis was the work of Turner.
While still at the Courtauld he assisted David Sylvester in organising his Renoir exhibition for the Hayward Gallery. In 1970 he joined the Arts Council of Great Britain's Visual Arts Department as a regional exhibitions officer and in 1973 was made Director of the Museum of Modern Art Oxford . There he organised an important early exhibition of work by Joseph Beuys and formed an important working relationship with Alexander "Sandy" Nairne - son of one of the Museum's trustees who would work with Serota at various points in the following years.
In 1976 Serota was appointed Director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London's East End. The Whitechapel was widely regarded but had suffered from lack of resources and during his Directorship could only organise a limited number of major exhibitions a year. Serota assembled at the Whitechapel a talented staff including Jenni Lomax (later Director of the Camden Arts Centre ) and Susan Fergler Brades (later Director of the Hayward Gallery) organising influential exhibitions of Carl Andre and Gerhard Richter as well as early exhibitions of then emerging artists such as Anthony Gormley. In 1980 assisted by Sandy Nairn and Richard Calvocoressi he organised a mammoth two part exhibition of 20th Century British Sculpture, the scale of which had not been seen in the UK before. In 1981 he curated 'The New Spirit in Painting' again with Calvocoressi and this time Norman Rosenthal for the Royal Academy. In 1984-5 Serota took the bold step of shutting down the Whitechapel for over 12 months for extensive refurbishment. The success of this assisted in Serota's appointment in 1988 as Director of the Tate Gallery beating Norman Rosenthal for the post.
Tate Gallery Directorship
The Tate Gallery that Serota took over was in a perilous state. The UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had declared a policy that the arts would be subject to market forces. Although the Tate Gallery received a Government grant is was not enough to provide for major purchases especially at a time when the art market was inflated as it was in the late 1980s. Also the Tate Gallery was in need of expansion, exisiting space could show only 10% of the collection. The opening of the Clore Wing (1987) and branch Galleries in Liverpool (1988) and St Ives (1993) aleviated some of the problem. In 1989 Serota inaugurated a programme called 'New Displays' in which the central Duveen Galleries were restored and collection works were rotated. A more ambitious programme of special exhibitions was started with 'Late Rothko' in 1988 and the Turner Prize was redefined as a showcase for emerging contemporary art (Serota as Director has a permanent place on the judging panel for the prize).
Major expansion of the Tate Gallery had been seen as inevitable for two decades. In 1993 the creation of the National Lottery made it possible to anticipate the availability of major public funding for large Gallery. In 1995 Tate received £52 Million towards the conversion of the former Bankside Powerstation to create Tate Modern. The final cost was £150 million the remainder Serota managed to secure from a range of private sources. Tate Modern opened in May 2000 and quickly became a sightseeing fixture of London. As well as housing acclaimed new works by Louise Bougeoise and Anish Kapoor the Gallery has also provided the base for successful exhibitions of Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Matisse and Edward Hopper. Serota was awarded a Knighthood in 2001 in recognition of this achievement.
Serota's first wife was Judith Cooke. They married in 1978 and had two daughters, In the late 1980s Serota began an affair with Teresa Gleadowe who at that time was working in the exhibitions department of the British Council (Serota at the time was on the visual arts board of the British Council). The affair was pursued by using the London flat of artist Sean Scully who was later nominated for the Turner Prize. Serota and Gleadowe married in 1997.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details