Tate Britain announced that it is going to rehang its entire collection thematically and increase the amount of wall texts accompanying the works in order to improve visitors’ experience of the museum, Hannah Furness reports in The Telegraph. Alex Farquharson, who became the head of Tate Britain when former director Penelope Curtis departed for Lisbon in March 2015, is spearheading the initiative.
The rehang will reverse Curtis’s decision to display the collection chronologically and to drastically reduce wall labels so that museumgoers would have to make their own interpretations of the works. While some museum professionals applauded her vision, Farquharson advocated for the return of the labels and criticized the chronological approach to exhibiting the collection, arguing that it requires visitors to have prior knowledge of art history to understand the works.
“We want to look at how social factors caused art to take the forms it did,” Farquharson said. “So there could be big themes, like London as an urban space in the eighteenth century or Britain in the postwar age of anxiety.” In 2018, the museum will mount the first exhibition of the work of pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones held in London in forty years, as well as “All Too Human,” which will present the “intense experience of life” through figurative painting by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, RB Kitaj, and Paula Rego.