The British Council has appointed Emma Dexter – Exhibitions Director at Timothy Taylor Gallery - as its new Director, Visual Arts.

Emma has run Timothy Taylor Gallery’s exhibition programme since 2007 and has introduced many new artists to the London gallery. Prior to that, she was a Senior Curator at Tate Modern from its opening in 2000 until 2007, curating numerous exhibitions including Pierre Huyghe, Frida Kahlo, Luc Tuymans, and Bruce Nauman’s Turbine Hall commission.   As Director of Chisenhale Gallery, London  (1988-1990), and as Director of Exhibitions at the ICA during the 1990s she was an early champion of future British Pavilion and Turner Prize short-listed artists including: Rachel Whiteread, Steve McQueen, Mark Wallinger, Gary Hume, Tacita Dean, Fiona Rae, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Mark Leckey.

Emma will join the British Council in September this year, replacing Andrea Rose who is stepping down after 20 years in the role. As Director, Visual Arts, Emma will lead on the British Council’s extensive work connecting the UK’s visual artists constituency with the world, which includes overseeing the programme of high profile international exhibitions, the British presentation at the Venice Biennale and the running of the British Council Collection, one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary British art with over 8,500 works used for exhibition and display worldwide. 

In the last decade, ground-breaking British Council shows have included Anish Kapoor’s first solo exhibition in India in 2010, and Turning Points, an exhibition of 20th century British sculpture, from Henry Moore to Damien Hirst, at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 2004. Upcoming highlights in the British Council’s Visual Arts calendar include Sarah Lucas at next year’s Venice Biennale, the newly launched World Series touring exhibition programme, and forthcoming seasons connecting the UK with Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

Emma Dexter said:

The British Council Pavilion for the Venice Biennale has always been a benchmark for me as curator, for the highest standards of selection and display of the very best of British Visual Art practice.  I am delighted that I have been given this opportunity to share my passion for British Visual culture with a global audience.

Graham Sheffield, the British Council’s Director, Arts, said:

I am delighted that Emma will be joining us in September as our new Director, Visual Arts. She’ll bring with her a wealth of experience and ideas as to how we can best work with the excellence and diversity of the UK's arts institutions, established and emerging artists to connect the UK to the world and the world to the UK.