Maria Balshaw, a yoga instructor, would prove an inspired choice to run the Tate

Maria Balshaw
Maria Balshaw Credit: Rex

Maria Balshaw is front-runner for the biggest job in British art – and could prove a breath of fresh air at Tate

Tate’s likely new director, and the most powerful figure in British art, is a feisty, plain-speaking Brummie, a mother of two with a love of glittery gold boots, who recently qualified – on top of other huge responsibilities – as a yoga instructor. Maria Balshaw made her name as a museum director not amid the gilded portals of London’s great cultural institution nor, dare I say it, “abroad”, but in Manchester, where she ran the two principle galleries, the Whitworth and the Manchester Art Gallery, with huge success, dramatically boosting the city’s profile as an art centre.

At a time when plum jobs in British art seem to go foreign incumbents as a matter of course (think of Hartwig Fischer at the British Museum) and the public are, we are constantly told, sick of metropolitan elites,...

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