Will Gompertz can be found roaming the halls of Britain's Tate galleries, where
he's enjoying the art—and making sure others are too. This year he was
appointed director of Tate Media, after overseeing some of the museum's
award-winning marketing efforts with Fallon, London—work that inspired not
just our industry, but a new demographic of art fans who previously may have
considered museum visits a drag or a snooty pursuit. Notably, Gompertz signed
off on the irreverent Grand Prix-winning campaign that encouraged the everyman
to think up his own Tate Britain "exhibits" like the "I'm Hungover" or "I've
Just Split Up" collections.He was also the patron to Fallon's Tate Tracks, an initiative
to bring a younger audience into the Tate Modern by enlisting underground
musicians to create original tunes inspired by the gallery's works of art.
Gompertz's goals have not been confined to museum walls, however.He's also
stepped up the Tate's presence on a global, multi-platform scale, helping it enter
the content business—online, on television and in the theaters. In 2007 he
launched an in-house production arm and executive produced programming
like the Channel 4 documentary series, Taken for a Ride. The show followed a
taxi driver and his relationship to art and to his native Liverpool, the 2008
European Cultural Capital, home to a third Tate gallery and to the Turner Prize
in '07, which last year left London for the first time since its 1984 inception.
Gompertz, on innovating in the art world: "It's capturing the excitement and
freshness of [artists'] ideas and responding to them in a way that you engage
your visitors. On the whole, the way museums present themselves to the public
tends to be incredibly conservative, very straight, and not particularly friendly.
Oddly, artists, these brilliantly flamboyant, innovative thinkers, can be intimidating.
It's crucial for Tate that we're inspired by the work, not cowed by it. We
work very closely with them [artists] in developing our ideas."