Dr Yasufumi Nakamori is Tate Modern’s new photography curator

Dr Yasufumi Nakamori has been appointed new senior curator, International Art (Photography) based at Tate Modern, heading up the development of Tate’s collection of photography and programme of photography exhibitions and displays. He’s taking up the post in October, filling the gap left by Simon Baker back in January (when he became director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris).

For the last two years, Nakamori headed up the photography and new media department at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, staging exhibitions with image-makers such as Omer Fast, and making key acquisitions “which transformed and diversified the museum’s photography collection”. From 2008-2016 he was curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where he created exhibitions such as Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture, Photographs by Ishimoto Yasuhiro (which won the 2011 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums), and For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979.

Nakamori is a noted scholar of Japanese art and architecture, who has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues and taught graduate seminars at Hunter College and Rice University. He is a 2016 fellow of the Getty Leadership Institute, and holds a Law degree from the University of Wisconsin; an MA in Contemporary Art from Hunter College, the City University of New York; and a PhD in the History of Art and Visual Studies from Cornell University.

Portrait of Kate Bush © Science Museum Group, where she was head of photography before joining Tate Britain as adjunct curator in September 2017

Tate was famously slow to institutionalise photography, staging its first photography show in 2003 (Cruel + Tender: The real in the 20th century photography), and appointing its first photography curator in 2003 (Simon Baker). But Nakamori’s appointment “continues Tate’s commitment to collecting and exhibiting photography”, according to Tate’s official statement, which also points out that the number of photographs in Tate’s collection has increased five-fold over the past decade. Tate acquired Martin Parr’s 12,000-strong photobook collection in September 2017, with the support of the LUMA Foundation.

Nakamori joins Emma Lewis, who was appointed assistant curator at Tate Modern after Shoair Mavlian left in January to head up Brighton’s Photoworks. Kate Bush was appointed adjunct curator at Tate Britain in September 2017 – a new role which sees her researching and building the collection of British photography and curating exhibitions and displays at Tate Britain.


Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy