Maria Balshaw CBE (QuarARTine special episode)

Russell and Robert chat to Maria Balshaw CBE, Director of Tate, a family of four art galleries in London, Liverpool and Cornwall known as Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. Balshaw is Tate’s first female Director.

We discuss the effect of the lockdown on Tate museums, filming guided tours for their website of the on-hold blockbuster Andy Warhol and Aubrey Beardsley exhibitions for the public to access during lockdown, the increased global usage of their website during the pandemic in particular as a resource for children's art education, her passion for gardening, the lasting influence of Derek Jarman (and his music videos for Pet Shop Boys), the great news that Jarman’s house ‘Prospect Cottage’ has been saved for the nation by Artfund’s campaign and some inspiring lessons learned from collaborating with artist Marina Abramović.

We learn of Maria's admiration for Steve McQueen's artwork and his recent epic portrait of London’s Year 3 school pupils (exhibited at Tate Britain), her love of Cornelia Parker's installation 'Cold Dark Matter' (which she first saw at Chisenhale gallery in 1991) and her longterm commitment to redressing the imbalance of representation for women artists, artists of colour and queer artists in museum collections and exhibition programmes. Recently a number of watercolours by Emmeline Pankhurst’s daughter Sylvia Pankhurst, best remembered as an activist/campaigner for the UK Suffragette movement, became part of Tate Collection. Finally we reminisce about Anne Imhof's now legendary live performance series at Tate's Tanks in 2019.

We explore her years working as Director of the Whitworth, University of Manchester and Manchester City Galleries, when she oversaw the £17 million transformation of the Whitworth, which was subsequently awarded the Art Fund Museum of the Year award for 2015. She was also Director of Culture for Manchester City Council from 2013-2017, played a leading role in establishing the city as a leading cultural centre for the UK. She is currently a Board Member of Arts Council England, the Clore Leadership Programme and Manchester International Festival. Maria was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the arts in June 2015.

Follow @MariaBalshaw on Instagram & @MBalshaw Twitter and @Tate on all social media platforms. Tate's website is: For images of artworks discussed in this week's episode please visit @TalkArt and we are now on Twitter too @TalkArtPodcast. Thanks for listening!


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