Sir Nicholas Serota


Nicholas Serota (m. 1965) is an art historian and Chair of The Arts Council of England, having previously been Director of the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1973-1976), the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1976-1988) and Director of the Tate (1988-2017).

Serota grew up in Hampstead, London and read Economics at Christ’s before switching to History of Art. He completed a Masters at the Courtauld Institute, specialising in the work of J. M.Turner – he later became chairman of the Turner Prize jury, a role he served until 2007.

In his work at the Whitechapel Gallery, Serota organised influential exhibitions of Carl Andre, Eva Hesse and Gerard Richter, as well as then emerging artists such as Anthony Gormley. At the Tate, Serota inaugurated a programme called New Displays in which the central Duveen Galleries were restored and collection works were rotated. The Turner Prize was redefined as a showcase for emerging contemporary art. He was also instrumental in establishing the Tate Modern, which opened in 2000.

Serota was awarded a knighthood in 1999 and was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Christ’s in 2002.