Tate announced today that Dr. Penelope Curtis, Curator of the Henry Moore Institute, has been appointed the new Director of Tate Britain.

Dr. Curtis (48) has been Curator of the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds since 1999 where she has been responsible for developing an acclaimed and distinctive programme of exhibitions, presenting sculpture of all periods. Alongside this she has also overseen the development of the Leeds collections, with the acquisition of significant works by Rodin, Epstein and Calder as well as contemporary artists such as Martin Boyce and Eva Rothschild, and has built up a unique archive of sculptors’ papers.

Joining Leeds Museums & Galleries in 1994 as Head of the Henry Moore Centre for the study of sculpture, she led its transformation into the Henry Moore Institute, where research and collections have played an important role alongside the exhibitions programme. Previously she was the first Exhibitions Curator at Tate Liverpool when it opened in 1988 where she was closely involved with Tate’s British collections. Major exhibitions she has curated include Barbara Hepworth: A Retrospective at Tate Liverpool in 1994 and the current exhibition at the Henry Moore Institute Sculpture in Painting.

Penelope studied Modern History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1979–1982) followed by a Masters and Ph.D. at the Courtauld Institute of Art (1983–89). She is an established scholar and author with particular interest in 20th-century British art. Her publications include Sculpture 19001945 in the Oxford History of Art (Oxford 1999) and Patio & Pavilion: the place of sculpture in modern architecture (Ridinghouse/Getty 2007). She was on the British Council Committee for the Venice Biennale in 2008 and a member of the Turner Prize Jury in 1997.  She is currently on the Advisory Committee for the Government Art Collection and a member of Art Commissions Committee for the Imperial War Museum.

Penelope Curtis said, ‘I am delighted to be appointed Director of Tate Britain which has a unique remit - historic and contemporary, national and international - and look forward to exploring and expanding those areas.’

Tate Director, Sir Nicholas Serota, said: ‘Penelope Curtis has made an outstanding contribution to the study of sculpture and especially to our understanding of British sculpture in the twentieth century. I am delighted that she will bring her scholarship and original vision to the presentation of British art at Tate Britain.’

Penelope Curtis will take up the appointment of Director, Tate Britain in April 2010.

Notes to Editor

Tate Britain is the world centre for the understanding and enjoyment of British art and works actively to promote interest in British art both here and abroad. The displays at Tate Britain present an unrivalled picture of the development of art in Britain from the time of the Tudor monarchs to the present day and feature selections from the collection in a chronological sweep from 1500 to now. Within this chronology, individual rooms explore particular themes, or show one artist in depth, and displays are changed on an annual basis. Displays of the permanent collection are complemented by a programme of temporary exhibitions on broad themes of British art, as well as the work of individual artists. Tate Britain also houses the largest collection in Britain of the work of JMW Turner in the Clore Galleries.

The founding Director of Tate Britain, Dr Stephen Deuchar, leaves Tate in December 2009 after eleven years in the role to become the Director of The Art Fund.

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