Julia Peyton-Jones to Leave Serpentine Galleries After 25 Years at the Helm

She has been the director since 1991.

Julia Peyton-Jones (2013). Photo: © Greg Funnell.

After 25 years as director, Julia Peyton-Jones has announced plans to resign from London’s Serpentine Galleries next July.

Former New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who was named the Serpentine Galleries’ chairman this past January, praised the outgoing director in a statement saying, “She has spent 25 years making the Serpentine one of the most valued and visited institutions in London, and as a result its future has never looked brighter.”

Appointed director in 1991, Peyton-Jones was joined in 2006 by the inimitable Hans Ulrich Obrist. The two share the title of co-director and co-director of exhibitions and programs, and spearheaded the opening of the Serpentine Sackler, designed by Zaha Hadid, in 2013.

The new Serpentine Pavillion at night Photo: courtesy The Serpentine Gallery

The new Serpentine Pavillion at night.
Photo: courtesy The Serpentine Gallery.

“There is never a good time to leave an institution but I wanted to leave the Serpentine at a time of strength and success,” said Peyton-Jones in a statement. “In particular, I want to pay tribute to Hans Ulrich Obrist, our collaboration over the last 10 years to further develop the Serpentine’s international reach across all its programs and, to coin our phrase, ‘to think the unthinkable,’ has been an incredible privilege.”

Peyton-Jones was responsible for introducing the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission, now in its 15th year, which commissions an international architect who has not yet worked in the UK to create a landmark structure. This year’s edition, featuring Spanish firm SelgasCano, featured a playful and colorful design that glowed at night.

Inside the new Serpentine Pavillion<br />  Photo:  © Iwan Baan courtesy Serpentine Gallery

Inside the new Serpentine Pavillion.
Photo: © Iwan Baan courtesy Serpentine Gallery.

The Serpentine opened in 1970, and in the years since, has featured an impressive 2,876 artists, architects and designers, showcasing the work of artists from Louise Bourgeois andGerhard Richter, to architects like Rem Koolhaas, and Oscar Niemeyer. Altogether, the institution welcomes some 1.2 million visitors a year. It is now in the process of finding Peyton-Jones’s successor before Peyton-Jones departs in July.

The Serpentine’s current programming includes the “Palisades,” the first solo show from video artist Rachel Rose (also the subject of an exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art opening October 30), which is on view through November 8.

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