As Head of Collection Displays (Victorian to Contemporary), I lead the curatorial team developing the programme of new displays and interpretation for the Victorian to Contemporary period as part of the Gallery’s Inspiring People project. As Senior Curator 20th Century Collections, I am responsible for acquisitions, displays and research relating to the collection within the period 1914 - 2000. I also curate and advise on exhibitions within that period. Since joining the Gallery in 2005, I have curated several exhibitions: Giacometti: Pure Presence (2015-16), The Great War in Portraits (2014), The Queen: Art and Image (2011-12), Gerhard Richter Portraits (2009) and Pop Art Portraits (2007). My next exhibition at the NPG is Howard Hodgkin Portraits in 2017. In 2006 I introduced a new series of monographic loan displays, Interventions, which explores innovatory and unconventional approaches to 20th century portraiture through the work of leading international artists. To date, the series has included Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon, Jim Dine, Bridget Riley, Anthony Caro, Frank Auerbach, John Gibbons, Patrick Heron, Tony Bevan, Thomas Struth, and Jack Smith. The next displays in the series are Leon Golub and Antony Gormley. I am a member of the Gallery’s Senior Management Team.
My first degree was in English and Philosophy. Subsequently I took a post-graduate teaching certificate (PGCE) in English and Art. I also hold an MA in Art History from London University. My curatorial career in London began as Curator, Government Art Collection. From 1985 to 2005, I was Curator, Modern Collection at the Tate Gallery, latterly Senior Curator and Acting Head of Contemporary Art. In addition to planning the inaugural displays for Tate Britain and Tate Modern, I organized the monographic exhibitions Anthony Caro (2005), Bridget Riley (2002), Michael Andrews (1999), Leon Kossoff (1995), and Anthony Caro: Sculpture Towards Architecture (1991). Exhibitions I have curated at other institutions include: Andy Warhol (Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, Moscow (2014), Warhol/Icon: The Creation of Image (Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens (2009), John Hoyland (Royal Academy of Arts, London (1999) and The Transformation of Appearance (Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (1991). Among several external advisory roles, I am a Trustee of the Royal Academy Chantrey Bequest, a member of the art advisory panel for St Martin in the Fields, and was a member of the AHRC grant awards panel. I am a Trustee for various artist estates.
At Tate, my specialist area was painting and sculpture, post- 1945. Since joining the National Portrait Gallery my research interests also embrace international 20th century portraiture. I curate exhibitions, lecture and publish widely in both these fields. As part of my independent curatorial interests I also write and curate exhibitions in the field of contemporary Chinese art. Since first visiting China in 2012 I have curated a number of exhibitions and published several catalogues on contemporary Chinese art. I am currently curating the exhibition Structures of Recollection, a survey of work by contemporary western and eastern artists who have foregrounded the use of unconventional materials in their work, to be held in Hong Kong in 2016. Recent publications include the book Giacometti: Pure Presence to accompany the National Portrait Gallery exhibition in October 2015, an essay on Liu Ye for the catalogue raisonné published by Hatje Cantz in 2015 and a published conversation with Bridget Riley to accompany the exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion in 2015. Forthcoming publications include an essay on Bridget Riley to accompany her exhibition at Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield in 2016; the first monograph on Bridget Riley (volume one to be published by Thames and Hudson in 2016); an essay on Gerhard Richter’s Overpainted Photographs for the related catalogue raisonné (to be published by Heni in 2016); and two essays on the Royal Academy and Modernism for the 2-volume History of the Royal Academy (to be published by Yale in 2017). I am currently researching Howard Hodgkin and Cindy Sherman for exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
In addition to numerous exhibition catalogues and other publications (see Selected Publications), recent books include: Giacometti: Pure Presence (2015), The Great War in Portraits (2014), Cindy Sherman (2014), A Guide to Twentieth Century Portraits(2013), Anthony Caro: Presence (2010); Bridget Riley From Life (2010); Pop Art Portraits (2007).