Iwona Blazwick

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Iwona Maria Blazwick
Born (1955-10-14) 14 October 1955 (age 61)
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 director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.

Early life[edit]

Blazwick was brought up in Blackheath, South East London.[2] She studied English and Fine Art at Exeter University[3] before becoming 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.[4] Her first exhibition was, Objects and Sculpture (1981), which included work by artists Bill Woodrow, Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley.[5]


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.[6]

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.'

Since 2001, Blazwick has been the Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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]


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.[7] 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]


External links[edit]