PRESS RELEASE - Tate’s Ben Borthwick appointed CEO OF Artes Mundi

Date posted: May 17, 2011

Ben Borthwick has been appointed Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Artes Mundi – the UK’s largest art prize.

Borthwick is a curator and writer who specialises in contemporary art, with particular focus on sound and socially engaged practices . He joins Artes Mundi after seven years at Tate Modern where he was Assistant Curator and curated the exhibitions including Gilbert & George, Rodchenko and Popova and the Turbine Hall installation Bruce Nauman: Raw Materials. In 2007-08, he devised Tate Modern’s Level 2 Gallery programme of emerging artists where he has also curated exhibitions by Meschac Gaba, Latifa Echakhch and Rosa Barba, forthcoming in September.

In 2008, Borthwick co-founded Butcher’s, a non-profit arts organisation that produces projects in high street locations and public spaces. Butcher’s is currently doing a collaborative residency with artist Graham Hudson on the King’s Cross Central construction site that culminates in an exhibition and series of films distributed by The Guardian. He is one of the inaugural curators of Latitude Contemporary Art, a new strand of public space commissions at the 2010 Latitude festival. Prior to Tate, he worked on a number of public art projects with Artangel, Liverpool Biennial and Henry Moore Foundation and was a regular contributor to The Wire music magazine from 1998 to 2008.

Ben Borthwick said: “I am delighted to join the team at Artes Mundi, having watched it go from strength to strength with each prize. I believe art can transform our understanding of who we are and the world in which we live so it is a real privilege to continue Artes Mundi’s commitment to artists who engage with the key questions of our time. The chance to build on the networks Artes Mundi has established at the local, national and international level in order to create greater dialogue and exchange between artists and audiences from around the world is very exciting. I am looking forward to this challenge.”

William Wilkins CBE, Chairman of Artes Mundi said: “Ben Borthwick’s years of experience in one of the world’s leading art organisations and his understanding of the international art scene have equipped him well to build on the success of Artes Mundi’s first eight years and to take the exhibition and Prize to the next level of international recognition.“

Established in 2003, Artes Mundi is an international contemporary visual arts initiative, committed to recognising exciting artists from around the world whose work stimulates thinking about the human condition and adds to our understanding of humanity. Artes Mundi’s programme of activity culminates in a biennial exhibition of shortlisted artists and a £40,000 award recognising work of the last five to eight years.

Borthwick will take-up his post as Artes Mundi enters its fifth cycle in September 2010. The next exhibition and prize announcement will be in 2012 and is planned to take place in newly refurbished exhibition galleries at National Museum Cardiff.

The 4th Artes Mundi Prize of £40,000 was awarded to Yael Bartana (Israel) in May. Previous winners are NS Harsha (India) 2008, Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland) 2006 and Xu Bing (China) 2004.

Borthwick takes over from founding CEO & Artistic Director, Tessa Jackson, who leaves to become Chief Executive of Iniva – the Institute for International Visual Arts, London.

Press information:
Jeanette Ward at Theresa Simon & Partners +44 (0) 20 7734 4800 | +44 (0) 7729 930 812

 Further information: and


  1. Artes Mundi was established with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff Council, Arts Council of Wales and National Museum Wales. Artes Mundi Prize Limited is an independent charitable trust and a company limited by guarantee.
  2. National Museum Cardiff is one of National Museum Wales’ seven museums. It has hosted the Artes Mundi exhibition, which remains free thanks to the Welsh Assembly Government, since its inception.

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