Frances Morris

Article excerpt

Since joining the staff in 1997, Frances Morris's main responsibility has been to develop a scheme for the hanging of the permanent collection. A harrying task? Surprisingly, Morris describes the early stages of this process as a luxury. It was a year in which she was able to talk over plans and proposals at length with colleagues, especially head of exhibitions and displays Iwona Blazwick and education program officer Caro Howell, before inviting outside historians and critics to join in the debate.

"The thing we don't want," says Morris, "is for Tate Modern to become a museum of the twentieth century in the twenty-first. There's no point in getting rid of one fixed idea of art history, only to replace it with another." Instead, Morris plans for a presentation in which artistic chronology is in dialogue with documentary evidence of wider historical contexts. The outcome is the structure of four suites of galleries, each devoted to a broadly interpreted genre and related concerns: landscape, matter, environment; still life, object, real life; nude, action, body; and history, memory, society.

Morris came to the Tate from Bristol's Arnolfini, where she had been working as exhibitions organizer, in 1987. …