Clare Lilley has been appointed the director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP), England, replacing the founding director Peter Murray who is retiring in March after 45 years at the helm. YSP is set within the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire; Lilley joined YSP in 1991 and will be the second director of the park, which opened in 1977.
In her role as the Director of Programme, Lilley has organised numerous exhibitions dedicated to artists such as Fiona Banner, Damien Hirst, Amar Kanwar, Kaws, Kimsooja, Alfredo Jaar, Shirin Neshat, and Giuseppe Penone. She is currently organising the late US artist Robert Indiana’s first major UK sculpture exhibition, which is due to open 12 March.
“The exhibition explores the nuanced character of Indiana’s practice and his perception of the darker side of the American dream. Unity, acceptance and love are themes that run throughout Indiana’s work and that remain relevant today, such as movements against racism and discrimination towards the LGBTQIA+ communities,” says an online statement.
“Lilley has been integral to a number of YSP’s buildings, including The Weston designed by Feilden Fowles, which in 2019 was shortlisted for the eminent RIBA Stirling Prize,” adds a statement. Since 2012, she has organised the Frieze Sculpture display in London’s Regent’s Park, appeared in the Landmark public art TV series on Sky Arts and also sits on the advisory committee of the Government Art Collection.
In 2020, YSP was awarded £804,013 from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The park, an independent charity, closed from March that year, partially reopening the following July “losing £4 in every £5 of its income as a result, during peak trading season”, says the park website. The current full-price admission is £6.
“As we all face environmental and social challenges that are exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, I’m confident that YSP’s exceptional staff, trustees and supporters are well placed to face the challenges ahead and I relish the opportunity to make YSP even more dynamic and resilient,” Lilley says in a statement.
Current YSP exhibitions include a display of sculptures and tapestries by the UK artist Annie Morris (When A Happy Thing Falls, until 6 February) and Rachel Kneebone: 399 Days (until 24 April), on show in the 18th-century on-site chapel.