Serpentine Gallery Names Lynette Yiadom Boakye and David Adjaye as Board Members

Artists will have a larger role in shaping the institution's program.

Hans Ulrich Obrist and Yana Peel
Photo: © Kate Berry

London’s Serpentine Gallery announced a series of new programs and partnerships, in what was the first joint press conference held by long-time Serpentine Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and recently-appointed CEO Yana Peel yesterday.

Artists will take on a larger role in the running of the institution; this includes the appointment of international artist Lynette Yiadom Boakye and award-winning architect David Adjaye to the board. (Most recently, Adjaye completed the freshly-unveiled National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.)

Related: See President Obama’s Remarks at the Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

In continuing this focus on architecture, an exhibition of works by the late Zaha Hadid—which was planned with Hadid’s collaboration prior to her death—will be presented beginning in December. Hadid, of course, famously designed the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, so her relationship to the institution is particularly special.

Obrist and Peel seem to have drawn inspiration from her for the new programming, saying, “Zaha Hadid once said that ‘there should be no end to experimentation’ and this has become a mantra for the Serpentine team.”

The Hadid exhibition promises to be a survey that provides insight into her creative process, presenting “rarely seen paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations by the architect,” digital work, and—in what truly gives a peek inside her process—Hadid’s personal notebooks will be shown in public for the first time.

The Serpentine Pavilion has invited artists and architects to submit designs for the 2017 commission; a new Pavilion “advisory board” headed by Obrist and Peel, and including Richard Rogers and again, David Adjaye, will make the final selections.

In a move apparently influenced by Jonathan Latham and Barbara Steveni’s Artist Placement Group, Obrist and Peel have implemented an artist-led “Congress of Ideas,” which promises to take on big goals by bringing together artists with “politicians, scientists and business leaders to pool knowledge and offer solutions to pressing 21st century problems.”

The changes to the program come five months after the appointment of Yana Peel as CEO, following the departure of Julia Peyton-Jones, who headed the Serpentine for 25 years.

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