English curator Simon Baker, former director of photography at the Tate in London, was appointed director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, in Paris, on Wednesday 24 January 2018, succeeding Jean-Luc Monterosso, director and founder of the institution, whose mandate will end on March 31, 2018. Monterosso has run the Maison Européenne de la Photographie since it opened in 1996 and was also the founder in 1978, with Henry Chapier, Francis Balagna and Marcel Landowski, from the Paris Audiovisual Association that foreshadowed the creation of the MEP.
Preselected by a jury chaired by Jean-François Dubos (president of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie) and made up of Xavier Canonne (director of the Charleroi Photography Museum), Alain Fleischer (director of the Fresnoy – National Studio of Contemporary Arts), Françoise Gaillard (vice-president of the Board of the MEP), Jean-Louis Milin (treasurer of the board of the MEP), Agnès Sire (general secretary of the Board of the MEP) and three representatives of the City of Paris, the candidacy of Simon Baker has been approved by the Board of Directors of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.
A Ph.D. in art history, a graduate of the University College of London (UCL), he was a professor of Art History at the University of Nottingham (2004-2009). He joined Tate Modern in 2009 as a curator at the International Photography and Art Department, before being Chief Curator of the same department in 2015, rethinking Tate’s strategy of acquisition, conservation and orientation of exhibitions.
At Tate, Simon Baker has directed major exhibitions including those devoted to Boris Mikhailov, Sirkka-Liisa Kontin, Guy Bourdin, Yutaka Takanashi, Bernd and Hilla Becher. Recently, Salt and Silver (2015), Nick Waplington / Alexander McQueen: Working Progress, Performing for the camera and The radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir John Elton Collection (2016) were among the most recognized.
Known to be a specialist in Japanese photography, Simon Baker has unveil eight Japanese photographers during the superb exhibition Another Language in Arles (2015). Last year, he also conceived the exhibition Masahisa Fukase, The Incurable Selfish in Arles. He is also the author of a monograph on Daido Moriyama (Daido Moriyama, London, 2012).
Last September, the Tate appointed Kate Bush as adjoint curator of the photographic department. She will likely be in charge of the department before the appointment of Simon Baker’s replacement.