The highest profile vacancy in the art world has finally been filled with the appointment of Vicente Todoli as the new director of Tate Modern

A Spaniard for Tate Modern


Chosen over domestic contenders, Mr Todoli comes to Britain from the respected but small Museu Serralves in Porto, where he has served as the founding director since 1996. Here he oversaw a major new architectural project and, through a combination of excellent exhibitions and astute collecting, built up 300,00 visitors a year and the respect of the international art community. Prior to this, Mr Todoli served as chief curator (1986-88) and then artistic director of the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM, 1988-96) in his home town of Valencia. At the same time he has been on the Advisory Committees of the ICA Amsterdam and the Reina Sofia National Museum of Art in Madrid, and was an adviser for “Future, past, present” at the 1997 Venice Biennale. He currently serves on the commission which reviews potential acquisitions for, and advises the director of, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), and he is a member of the board for Manifesta.

Mr Todoli’s tastes in art are international and he has already worked with many of Britain’s leading artists. Over the years he has organised exhibitions of work by John Baldessari, James Rosenquist, Richard Tuttle, Tony Cragg, Franz West, Gary Hill, Hamish Fulton, Lothar Baumgarten, Roni Horn, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, among others. He is currently preparing exhibitions on the work of Richard Hamilton/Dieter Roth and Francis Bacon, which will be his last show at the Museu Serralves before his departure at the end of the year.

Mr Todoli’s appointment follows the return to Sweden of Lars Nittve, his predecessor, in June of last year, a decision which, when coupled with the departure of Iwona Blaswick, head of Tate Modern exhibitions to the Whitechapel, gave an indication of problems at the top of Britain’s biggest new museum not long after it opened to the public. The demands of Tate Modern, as tourist attraction, collection and curatorial platform, are intense and somewhat contradictory, and it remains to be seen how much latitude Sir Nicholas Serota, overall director of the multiple Tates and known for his reluctance to delegate, will give to meet these challenges.

Mr Todoli’s appointment illustrates the fluid internationalism of the contemporary art world and his pan-European pedigree should push Tate Modern towards a more central role in the European art scene.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'The art world ronde'