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Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama, via tumblr.com

New Tate Modern director vows to celebrate women artists

Frances Morris says, ‘There is a commitment now to show the contribution made by many women who have been overlooked for many reasons’

It’s only been two weeks since Frances Morris was appointed as Tate Modern’s new director, and she’s already shaking things up. As well as promising a greater focus on international art, she’s said the gallery will celebrate women artists more. 

“It isn’t like we are celebrating women for six months and then all the chaps come back,” she said, reports the Guardian. “There is a commitment now to show the real history of art and the contribution made by many women who have been overlooked for many reasons.”

And this isn’t just talk. Morris, who was the gallery’s head of displays before becoming its first British and first female director, has been committed to the work of women artists since she joined Tate in 1988. She’s curated three major retrospectives of female artists at Tate Modern – Louise Bourgeois (2007), Yayoi Kusama (2012) and most recently Agnes Martin (2015).

Morris’s comments come as the gallery begins to enter its new era. In June, the gallery’s £260m extension will open, giving its 60 per cent more space. The 10-storey extension includes an Artist Rooms hub gallery – and the first artist to be featured there? Louise Bourgeois. “We feel very committed to recognising women’s achievements and it’s true to say that women’s achievements in the arts for many years have not been recognised...” Morris said. “We’ve tried to bring out of the shadows people who have been overlooked.”