Turner Contemporary appoints new Director: Clarrie Wallis, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art (British) at Tate

Posted in – News

Turner Contemporary is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Director, Clarrie Wallis. Wallis, who has been Tate’s Senior Curator of Contemporary Art (British) since 2016 and a curator at Tate since 1999, will take up the position in January.

She takes over from Turner Contemporary’s Founding Director, Victoria Pomery, who left in September to be the new Chief Executive Officer at The Box, Plymouth after 14 years at the helm.

With 2021 marking Turner Contemporary’s 10th Anniversary, Wallis joins at an exciting time for the gallery and she brings with her a wealth of experience. At Tate, she has been responsible for leading on the strategic development, implementation and communication of Tate’s vision for contemporary British Art.

Wallis has curated many landmark exhibitions including Mark Leckey O’ Magic Power of Bleakness (2019), Mike Nelson: The Asset Strippers (2019), Cerith Wyn Evans: Forms in Space..By Light (In Time) (2017), Mona Hatoum (2016), Patrick Caulfield (2013), Richard Long: Heaven & Earth (2009), Mark Wallinger: State Britain (2007) and Tacita Dean: Recent Films and Other Works (2001). Wallis was lead curator for Steve McQueen: Year 3 (2019) which saw the development of an artwork that was the most ambitious citizenship portrait ever undertaken in Britain, drawing in 76,000 7-8 year olds, their schools and families in exploring their connection to each other and to London.

During her tenure at Tate, Wallis re-established the Art Now programme for emerging artists which is run by young curators. Recent projects include Serafine 1369, Cooking Sections, Sofia Al-Maria, Joanna Piotrowska and Lisa Brice. In addition to her work on exhibitions, Wallis played a key role in the growth of Tate’s collection, helping develop the museum’s holdings of modern and contemporary art. She is also the author of monographs on Rose Wylie, Richard Deacon, Patrick Caulfield and a Richard Long Reader.

Clive Stevens, Chair of Turner Contemporary says:
I and my fellow Trustees are delighted that Clarrie will be joining Turner Contemporary to drive the next stage of the gallery’s development. It is a very exciting time for the whole team and I know Clarrie will engage with both the art world and our local community to bring first class art to Margate.
Clarrie’s standing and knowledge is impeccable – we could not have wished for a better person to lead our gallery and build on the legacy left by Victoria Pomery.

Clarrie Wallis says:I am delighted to be appointed as Director of Turner Contemporary. This is a great opportunity to lead a world-class art gallery, develop its profile further, and inspire positive change locally. Margate is a very special place. Working with the excellent team there, I look forward to creating new experiences for visitors and to supporting artists at pivotal moments in their careers. I plan to direct an ambitious, collaborative programme for a truly broad audience, questioning what art can be and advancing the conversation about contemporary practice, as well as developing relationships within the community of Margate and further afield.”

Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, who was a member of the interview panel, says: “Clarrie was an outstanding candidate for the position of Director of Turner Contemporary and I am delighted that she has accepted the role. She has extensive experience from her successful tenure at the Tate and I am sure she will build on the firm foundations established by Victoria Pomery as the gallery moves into its second decade.”

2021 marks ten years since the opening of Turner Contemporary, in which time it has established a reputation as a major, world renowned gallery, rooted locally in Margate and Kent. Turner Contemporary has received 3.6 million visits and generated over £70million for the local economy. The building is now widely recognised as the first contemporary building to feature on a UK bank note. More than this, the gallery has built relationships widely across the community and worked with over 100,000 local children and young people to offer them access to high quality creative learning opportunities. Each year, around 6% of visits come from individuals who have never been to a museum or gallery in their lives before. The gallery has exhibited the work of over 2000 artists. In 2019, it hosted the world-famous Turner Prize.

In September, Turner Contemporary launched The Director’s Fund, which is established in honour of Victoria. The Fund will allow future Directors and creative leaders to realise their vision, working with the Trustees and leadership team, with support from leading philanthropists and donors at all levels. The Fund’s remit is to sustain research and enable artist commissions, exhibitions, learning, participation, and digital projects.

Additional Information

Notes to Editors

About Turner Contemporary
Turner Contemporary is one of the UK’s leading art galleries. Founded to celebrate JMW Turner’s connection to Margate in 2001, the David Chipperfield designed gallery opened in 2011.

Our work extends beyond showcasing world-class exhibitions, to driving the social and economic regeneration of Margate and East Kent and transforming lives in one of the most deprived areas of the UK.

Since we opened, Turner Contemporary has welcomed over 3.6million visits, put over £70million back into the Kent economy and connected with thousands of people from the local community through our world-class programme.

Entry to the gallery and all of our exhibitions is free. To ensure our doors stay open to all, we rely on donations from individuals as well as trusts and foundations.

Turner Contemporary is a registered charity, receiving public funding from Kent County Council and Arts Council England.