Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern Awarded CBE in New Year Honours

9 January 2023


Originally published by Art Dependence Magazine. Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, has been awarded a CBE for her services to the arts in the New Year Honours 2023.

Frances Morris has played a key role in establishing Tate, and in particular Tate Modern, as one of the most important and popular galleries of modern art in the world. After a distinguished academic training at Cambridge and the Courtauld Institute, she joined Tate as a young curator in 1987, and when Tate Modern opened, took on the responsibility of introducing an entirely new way of seeing the national collection of modern and contemporary art, first as Head of Displays (2000-2006), and then Director of International Collections, until she took over as Director in 2016.

Frances Morris is the fourth Director of Tate Modern and the first to receive an Honour. The influence of her thinking can be seen in the way international institutions have since adopted her way of seeing and presenting art. At the same time as radically redefining the way museums approach contemporary art, she has led the geographical expansion of Tate’s collection beyond the western canon and successfully pioneered the principle of gender equality in Tate Modern’s artistic programmes. Frances oversaw the successful construction and opening of the second phase of Tate Modern’s development in 2016, and more recently she has led Tate’s public commitment to addressing the climate and ecological emergency.

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, said: “This is a wonderful recognition of everything that everyone at Tate Modern has achieved over the years. For me, the real honour is to work in an extraordinary place with brilliant and inspiring artists and colleagues, and to love every working minute.”

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate, and Roland Rudd, Chair of Tate, said: “We are delighted that Frances Morris’s contribution to the visual arts has been recognised with the award of a CBE. Frances has radically transformed the way the story of modern art is presented and led the expansion of Tate’s collection into new areas, significantly extending its international reach. She has ensured a more balanced representation of women artists at Tate, and importantly extended the repertoire of contemporary art by making space for performance and live art. She is revered by her peers across the globe as a Director who understands that art, scholarship and public enjoyment can go hand-in-hand.”

Throughout her career Frances has continued to build on her reputation as a curator. The first exhibition she curated at Tate was Paris Post War in 1993. More recently she curated major retrospectives of Louise Bourgeois in 2007, Yayoi Kusama in 2012, Agnes Martin in 2015 and Alberto Giacometti in 2017. Frances is co-curator of Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life opening at Tate Modern in April 2023. In recognition of her scholarship, Frances holds eight honorary doctorates and is an honorary fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge. She has also been a tireless champion for access to art for young people and families.

Frances shares her knowledge and expertise widely. She has served as a director of the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh and on the Board of CIMAM, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art. She is currently a Distinguished Professor, Shanghai Academy of Fine Art, and a member of the Advisory Committee, Serralves Museum, Porto; the Scientific Board, MNAC, Bucharest; the International Advisory Committee, Mori Art Museum Tokyo; and the Scientific Committee, Mudam, Luxembourg.