The Serpentine Galleries announced today that it has found a replacement for former chief executive Yana Peel. An active human rights campaigner, Peel vacated her position in June, after The Guardian reported that she had ties to an Israeli cybersecurity firm whose software has allegedly been used by authoritarian governments to spy on dissidents—the company was acquired by her husband’s equity firm Novalpina Capital in February. Peel’s successor is Frieze Los Angeles executive director Bettina Korek, who will assume her responsibilities in March 2020.
“Bettina Korek has a visionary understanding of art and its contexts and an incredible track record in supporting artists and their communities,” said Serpentine Galleries artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist. “I have come to appreciate her strategic acumen first-hand through frequent projects undertaken together in Los Angeles, where she has been a singular force in evolving a culture of civic engagement and patronage. I am delighted to be welcoming her to the Serpentine and to London at this moment when we are looking to expand our program beyond the gallery walls and into the future.”
With more than fifteen years of experience as an arts advocate and administrator, Korek is a Los Angeles native and founder of ForYourArt, a collaborative organization and alternative space that helps realize artist initiatives and produces a free, weekly guide to local exhibitions and events. Last year, Korek was tapped to lead Frieze Los Angeles and oversaw its inaugural edition at Paramount Pictures Studios. Under her leadership, the February 2020 fair has expanded its programming. Bettina Korek has also served as president of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, of which she has been a member since 2011.
Commenting on her new role Korek said: “This is the only opportunity that could inspire me to leave Los Angeles. Some of the most compelling qualities of LA as a city are embodied by the Serpentine as an institution: intrepid innovation, fluidity across disciplines, an irrepressible preoccupation with the future. I am honoured to share the responsibility of leading the Serpentine into its fiftieth year with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Monica Varriale and the trustees. I am thrilled to begin this endeavour and to continue to cultivate creative and philanthropic synergy between London, the US, and the rest of the world.”