image Charlotte Moth

Joanna Drew and the art of exhibitions

Available in bookstores from June 2019:

joanna Drew

Caroline Hancock. Edited by Helen Luckett. With contributions from Dawn Ades, Lutz Becker, Alan Bowness, Andrew Brighton, Martin Caiger-Smith, Rory Coonan, David Elliott, Isobel Johnstone, Catherine Lampert, Tim Llewellyn, Roger Malbert, Bridget Riley, Nicholas Serota, Roy Strong, Alister Warman, Richard Wentworth. Designed by Herman Lelie. Layouts by Stefani Bonelli. Published by Skira, Autumn 2018. 192 pages.

A new book about a key figure working in the British art world in the second half of the 20th century “

Unquestionably the most powerful individual in the British art scene.”
Tim Hilton, The Guardian, 27 August 1992

Joanna Drew (1929-2003) was one of the most influential figures in the British cultural sector from the 1960s to the 1990s. Her impressive career began in the early 1950s organising exhibitions for the Arts Council of Great Britain, including landmark exhibitions at the Tate Gallery such as Picasso in 1960 with Roland Penrose – the world's first blockbuster exhibition – and Henry Moore in 1968 with David Sylvester. In 1975, Drew became Director of Exhibitions for the Arts Council, and, from 1978, Director of Art in charge of funding and policy for the visual arts, including grant-aided exhibition venues in London and the regions, as well as the direct running of the Serpentine and the Hayward galleries and the Arts Council Collection. The Hayward Gallery became the leading venue in the UK for thematic exhibitions of Western and non-Western art, championing cross-historical, modern and contemporary art exhibitions: Art in Revolution: Soviet Art and Design since 1917 (1970), The New Art (1972), The Arts of Islam and The Human Clay (1976), Dada and Surrealism Reviewed (1978), Outsiders: An Art without Precedent or Tradition (1979), In the Image of Man during the Festival of India (1982), English Romanesque Art 1066-1200 (1984), Art in Latin America: The Modern Era 1820-1980 and The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain (1989), Doubletake: Collective Memory and Current Art (1992). Significant solo shows included Jasper Johns, Anthony Caro, Bridget Riley or Cartier-Bresson or old masters such as Leonardo, Rodin, Renoir.

In the 1980s, the Hayward Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery were both devolved, the former to become part of the new Southbank Centre after the abolition of the Greater London Council, and the latter an independent client of the Arts Council. Joanna Drew then became Director of the Hayward Gallery and its regional programmes from 1987 to 1992. She retired in 1992 and continued to serve on prestigious committees such as the Henry Moore Foundation and The Elephant Trust. Thanks to generous donations, the Joanna Drew Travel Bursary was set up in 2004, creating valuable opportunities for artists and curators.

Joanna Drew began her career in a culture of public service, collegiality and anonymity, before the word “curator” acquired its connotation of a personal imprint. Her intelligence, discerning eye, ability to set high standards and collaborate with artists and specialists commanded great respect nationally and internationally. She mentored and inspired a generation of younger curators, exhibition makers and cultural managers. Her five decade-long working life saw the rise of temporary exhibitions and the transformation of the British cultural sector from a peripheral role in post-World War II times to being a major international attraction. Out of her department came future directors of the Serpentine Gallery, Whitechapel Art Gallery; Oxford Museum of Modern Art and Kettles’ Yard in Cambridge. Her department was a springboard for many of the people who were to shape the gallery and exhibition world.

This chronological account of Joanna Drew’s working life and its relation to the art world of her time draws on the memories of artists, friends, colleagues and contemporaries who served on the Arts Council’s many advisory committees. Joanna Drew’s own perspective is drawn from the extensive interviews conducted in 2002 for the British Library’s National Life Stories and from interviews conducted by Andrew Dempsey and Caroline Hancock. First-hand accounts referring to be specific times or exhibitions have also been written by prominent specialists who worked closely with Joanna Drew.

With support from The Henry Moore Foundation, The Elephant Trust, Fluxus Art Grant and private donors.

Caroline Hancock is an independent curator, writer, editor and translator based in Paris. She trained in Art History at the University of Warwick and the École du Louvre. She worked as an exhibition organiser at the Hayward Gallery between 2002 and 2008. In 2008, nominated by the artist Tacita Dean, Hancock was awarded the Joanna Drew Travel Bursary to research in Algeria.

Helen Luckett, colleague of Joanna Drew at the Hayward Gallery, currently freelancing as a writer and as an editor for the National Gallery.
Editorial committee
Dr Dawn Ades, art historian and curator.
Andrew Dempsey, colleague of Joanna Drew at the Arts Council and the Hayward Gallery, 1966- 71; 1975-92. Roger Malbert, colleague of Joanna Drew, currently Head of Hayward Touring Exhibitions, Southbank Centre. Alister Warman, colleague of Joanna Drew and Principal of the Byam Shaw School of Art, London.

Andrew Dempsey. Foreword and acknowledgements
Nicholas Serota. Preface
Caroline Hancock. “Allez les verts!”
Chapter 1.
Caroline Hancock. Organising Picasso: Arts Council exhibitions before 1968
Joanna Drew. Visiting Picasso
Alan Bowness. Exhibition provision in the post-war period
Bridget Riley. “What do you mean by tone?”: Some notes on working with Joanna Drew and the Arts Council
Chapter 2.
Caroline Hancock. A national exhibition gallery: The first years of the Hayward Gallery 1968-1982
Lutz Becker. Art and Revolution (1971)
Dawn Ades. Dada and Surrealism Reviewed (1978) and Art in Latin America (1989)
Catherine Lampert. “The sensitive humanity which is yours”: Joanna Drew and the Festival of India (1982)
Martin Caiger-Smith. Architects in the Hayward
Chapter 3.
Caroline Hancock. Exhibitions and Politics: The Hayward Gallery in years of change 1983-1992
Roy Strong. “I took firm line with Joanna”
David Elliott. “A no-nonsense island of calm and common sense”
Rory Coonan. A most civilising servant
Chapter 4
Caroline Hancock. Joanna in her garden
Joanna Drew. “I've always had pictures, but I've never been a collector”
Richard Wentworth. Rear view mirror
Tim Llewellyn. Joanna at the Henry Moore Foundation
Andrew Brighton. Envoi

Exhibition Lists
Roger Malbert. Touring Exhibitions
Isobel Johnstone. Arts Council Collection
Alister Warman. The Serpentine Gallery

'Women in the Arts: Julia Peyton-Jones', Frieze, 3 December 2018

"My first boss was Joanna Drew; she was director of art at the Arts Council and was also responsible for the Hayward and Serpentine galleries and the Arts Council’s programme of touring exhibitions. She had this incredible authority and was a fantastic teacher and leader. She employed David Sylvester to curate shows for the Hayward, and the two of them became my art-world parents. They led by example. (...) Joanna’s authority was so steady; anybody who worked for her loved and admired her and if she had asked us to walk off a cliff we would have – she really was exceptional."

Mark Haworth-Booth, 'The most powerful figure in the British art world',
The Art Newspaper, May 2019.

Joanna Drew

Laura Raicovich, "Diary Entries From a Feminist Curator's Encounters with Picasso", Hyperallergic, 19 September 2019