Royal Academy recruits White Cube’s director of exhibitions
Tim Marlow to be in charge of artistic programmes at prestigious London institution
By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 06 March 2014
The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) has created a new post, director of artistic programmes, and Tim Marlow will be the first person to fill it. The director of exhibitions at the London gallery White Cube since 2003, a well-known broadcaster, and former editor of the Tate’s magazine, Marlow will be responsible for the RA’s exhibitions as well as its collection, architecture and education.
He is looking forward to working in an artist-led institution that is “establishment and at the same time anti-establishment”, he says. The prestige of the Academy, and the goodwill that the Academicians have generated over the years, plus former exhibitions secretary Norman Rosenthal's “personal magic” has enabled the RA to organise many world-class exhibitions, Marlow says.
The small size of the RA compared with its peers among public art museums is also an advantage when it comes to nimble programming. However its collection is also quite small. “It’s true that the Academy has not got a collection that it can ‘trade’ for loans,” Marlow says, “but it does have unbelievable works of art”, referring to John Constable’s The Leaping Horse and Michelangelo’s Taddei Tondo.
Works from the collection are heading to Australia for a show that is then due to travel to venues in Japan. While the RA’s international activities are increasing, Marlow expects that after White Cube—which has spaces in London, Hong Kong and São Paolo as well as booths in the world's major art fairs—his air miles will halve.
The RA has a major retrospective of the German artist Anselm Kiefer planned for September, which is being organised by Kathleen Soriano, the Academy’s outgoing director of exhibitions. Marlow says that he lives with “perceived conflicts of interest” and is prepared for inevitable questions if and when another artist whose galleries include White Cube gets an RA show. “There’s nothing on the horizon,” he says.
The run up to the 250th anniversary of the RA in 2018, when it plans to complete link between its two main buildings in Piccadilly, Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, is firmly in Marlow’s sights. The redevelopment will result in more exhibition space to programme.
Charles Saumarez Smith, the secretary and chief executive of the RA, said in a statement that Marlow’s success at White Cube “coupled with his knowledge of art history and experience in arts broadcasting will be of great value as we continue the renewal of the Royal Academy”.
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