Baltic Director Forced to Apologise after Discontented Staff Rebel ; HOME

By Milmo, Cahal | The Independent (London, England), July 7, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Baltic Director Forced to Apologise after Discontented Staff Rebel ; HOME


Milmo, Cahal, The Independent (London, England)


In the approach to its fifth anniversary next week, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead should have much to celebrate. It has attracted 2.5 million visitors, exhibited artists from Anish Kapoor to Antony Gormley and become one of Europe's most cutting-edge galleries.

But behind the success lies an institution in such turmoil that its American director this week felt compelled to issue an apology for the "extreme upset" caused to staff by his management style.

In a statement obtained by The Independent, Peter Doroshenko said he recog-nised that employees have felt "disenfranchised" by recent events at the [pound]50m Tyneside complex.

The mea culpa from Mr Doroshenko, who has only been in his job for two years and is the Baltic's third director since it opened, will be followed by a meeting of trustees on Wednesday to discuss proposals to restore staff harmony. Gormley, creator of Gateshead's Angel of the North sculpture, who is one of the trustees, declined to comment on the dispute.

The Baltic, a former flour mill, which was converted into Europe's largest contemporary art gallery in 2002, is widely considered to have lived up to its ambition to create the North's equivalent to London's Tate Modern. Its visitor numbers are almost double original expectations after exhibitions ranging from "Spank the Monkey", a show of urban art, to a planned display of Elton John's photo collection in September.

The Baltic has no permanent collection; it relies on a rolling programme of loans and commissions to stage exhibitions over its four floors.

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