Zoé Whitley, senior curator at the Hayward Gallery in London, has been appointed director of Chisenhale Gallery in the city’s East End. Whitley will take the helm of the contemporary arts space, which prides itself on commissioning and supporting international and UK-based artists, in March. She succeeds Polly Staple who was hired as director of the Tate’s collection of British art in October and took up the post earlier this month.

“We are thrilled that Zoé is to be the next director of Chisenhale Gallery,” Alice Rawsthorn, chair of Chisenhale Gallery’s board of trustees, said in a statement. “Her exceptional record as a curator and as a champion of cultural diversity and inclusivity equip her brilliantly for the role. We look forward to working with Zoé as she sustains Chisenhale’s rich history of experimentation by delivering a dynamic new vision for the gallery.”

Whitley recently served as curator of artist Cathy Wilkes’s presentation for the British pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Prior to joining Hayward Gallery, Whitley held senior curatorial roles at Tate Britain and Tate Modern—where she coauthored Tate’s Africa acquisitions strategy and cocurated the critically acclaimed exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power” (2017)—from 2013 to 2019. Previously, Whitley worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum and earned her Ph. D. from the Center for Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire.

Commenting on her new job, Whitley said: “I’ve been inspired by Chisenhale Gallery’s program since I first became a curator. I’m honored to have been selected to lead its next chapter as director and excited by the challenges and possibilities for artistic collaborations to come. I plan to build upon Chisenhale’s reputation for risk-taking and timeliness, which was synonymous with Polly’s leadership. I am dedicated to working with artists at pivotal stages in their careers; and to ensuring Chisenhale’s future program breaks new ground creatively and resonates publicly.”


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