We strongly recommend you buy the latest issue of the New Yorker which carries an excellent profile of Sir Nicholas Serota. The piece is accompanied by a startling Thomas Struth portrait of the Tate director you can see here.
The profile, by Calvin Tomkins, reveals among other things that Sir Nicholas studied Italian Renaissance painting at Cambridge and wrote his graduate thesis on Turner. His true genius however, was in embracing contemporary art in the 1960s and ’70s, when others in the UK were, to an extent, ignoring it. It references the fuss surrounding Serota’s exhibition of Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII. The piece also carries a telling quote about Serota’s career from Larry Gagosian: “Nick really caught the wave. He saw the possibilities, the wealth coming in and he kind of harnessed that,” the uber dealer says.
It also reveals that Serota got the Tate directorship over Norman Rosenthal and John Elderfield (former MoMA curator who now works for Gagosian), and turned down a meeting to disucss a possible MoMA directorship some time ago. Oh, and he also prefers tubes to taxis. It’s an enlightening read and is out now.
Serota, is of course famously a big fan of Phaidon's Art and Ideas Series. "Art & Ideas has broken new ground in making accessible authoritative views on periods, movements and concepts in art," the Tate director said recently. "As a series it represents a real advance in publishing." We'd second that.