Iwona Blazwick

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Iwona Maria Blazwick
Talking at embassy leaning forward in yellow chair
Iwona Blazwick at German Embassy in London in 2017
Born (1955-10-14) 14 October 1955 (age 62)
Nationality English
Alma mater Exeter University
Occupation Art critic, lecturer
Known for Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery

Iwona Maria Blazwick OBE (born 14 October 1955)[1] is an art critic and lecturer, and has been Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London since 2001.[2] She discovered Damien Hirst and staged his first solo show at a public London art gallery, Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1992.[1] She supports the careers of young artists.[3] Blazwick is said to be one of the most important woman in British art[3] and was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to art in 2008.[2] She is married to Canadian philosopher and fine art lecturer at Goldsmiths University of London, Richard Noble.[4]

Early life[edit]

Blazwick was brought up in Blackheath, South East London.[1] She is the child of Polish architects who both painted and inspired her passion for art and design.[5] Her family name is Blaszczyk, but she later changed the spelling as she found people could not pronounce it or misspelled it.[6]

Education and Early Career[edit]

Blazwick studied English and Fine Art at Exeter University.[7] She wrote her university thesis on Henry Moore.[8] After university, she was hired as a receptionist for a pop art prints and books publisher. She become an assistant curator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, under the tutelage of Sandy Nairne, who is a former director of the National Portrait Gallery.[9] Her first exhibition was, Objects and Sculpture (1981), which included work by artists Bill Woodrow, Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley.[10]

Career[edit]

From 1984 to 1986, Blazwick was Director of AIR Gallery, London.[citation needed] From 1986 to 1993, she was Director of Exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, where she curated exhibitions of modern and contemporary art.[citation needed]

From 1993 to 1997, Blazwick worked as an independent curator for museums and major public arts projects in Europe and Japan, devising surveys of contemporary artists and commissioning new works of art.[11]

From 1997 to 2001 Blazwick was Curator and then Head of Exhibitions at Tate Modern. There she co-conceived a new model for the display of the Collection and a blueprint for the Museum's future program, including the Turbine Hall commissions. She co-curated the inaugural display and the groundbreaking exhibition 'Century City.' Blazwick was responsible for Tate Modern’s permanent collection becoming grouped thematically, rather than chronologically.[12]

Since 2001, Blazwick has been the Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London.[2] She is series editor of Whitechapel Gallery/ MIT Documents of Contemporary Art. Blazwick is Chair of the Cultural Strategy Group at London's City Hall, appointed by Mayor Boris Johnson.[citation needed]

Blazwick was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to art in the 2008 New Year Honours.[2] She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Art (2004) and has received Honorary Doctorates from Plymouth University (2006), the London Metropolitan University (2007), Goldsmiths College (2010), the University of the Arts (2011) and Middlesex University.[citation needed]

Writing[edit]

Blazwick has written monographs and articles on many contemporary artists and published extensively on themes and movements in modern and contemporary art, exhibition histories and art institutions. Her writings include monographs on Gary Hume (Other Criteria, 2012) and Cornelia Parker (Thames and Hudson, 2013); and contributions to monographs and exhibition catalogues on Hannah Collins, Keith Coventry, Elmgreen and Dragset, Fischli and Weiss, Ceal Floyer, Katharina Fritsch, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Alex Katz, Paul McCarthy, Cornelia Parker, Annie Ratti, Hannah Starkey, Lawrence Weiner and Rachel Whiteread; and anthologies including Fresh Cream in 2001.[citation needed] She was editor of the Tate Modern: The Handbook and Century City. She also writes art criticism for numerous periodicals. She contributes occasional reviews and commentaries for BBC and Channel Four television and BBC radio.[citation needed] She also wrote the introduction for Talking Art: Interviews with Artists Since 1976, published by Ridinghouse and Art Monthly and featuring the best interviews from the latter's 30-year run.[13] Blazwick is series editor of Documents of Contemporary Art; co-published with MIT Press these anthologies bring together the most important texts by artists, critics and historians on the big themes in art today, ranging from Participation to Failure.

Blazwick has sat on several art prize juries, including the Turner Prize (1993), the Jerwood Painting Prize (1997), the 2002 Wexner Prize (as a member of Ohio's Wexner Center's International Arts Advisory Council), the Clark Prize for Writing (2010/12) and the John Moores Painting Prize (2012).[citation needed] She is chair of the MaxMara Art Prize for Women and a standing member of the jury for Film London's Jarman Award; and a member of the Fourth Plinth Committee.[citation needed]

Blazwick is a Trustee of Harewood House in Yorkshire; and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Government Art Collection; the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art; and the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth Commission.[citation needed] She was on the Advisory Board of Documenta 13, the 2015 Istanbul Biennale, and the MAXXI Museum in Rome.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wroe, Nicholas (2006-08-18). "Interview: Iwona Blazwick". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Iwona Blazwick OBE on recognising and supporting pioneering female artists - Womanthology". Womanthology. 2015-04-15. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  3. ^ a b Salter, Kate (2015). "Iwona Blazwick: 'I could have bought a Damien Hirst for a thousand quid'". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  4. ^ "Iwona Blazwick: the high priestess of Whitechapel". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  5. ^ Salter, Kate (2015). "Iwona Blazwick: 'I could have bought a Damien Hirst for a thousand quid'". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  6. ^ Wroe, Nicholas (2006-08-18). "Interview: Iwona Blazwick". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  7. ^ Salter, Kate (2015). "Iwona Blazwick: 'I could have bought a Damien Hirst for a thousand quid'". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  8. ^ Wroe, Nicholas (2006-08-18). "Interview: Iwona Blazwick". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  9. ^ Salter, Kate (2015). "Iwona Blazwick: 'I could have bought a Damien Hirst for a thousand quid'". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  10. ^ Wroe, Nicholas (2006-08-18). "Interview: Iwona Blazwick". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  11. ^ Wroe, Nicholas (2006-08-18). "Interview: Iwona Blazwick". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  12. ^ Salter, Kate (2015). "Iwona Blazwick: 'I could have bought a Damien Hirst for a thousand quid'". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  13. ^ "Talking Art". Ridinghouse. 

External links[edit]