The Director of Tate galleries and future Chair of Arts Council England has reacted with disbelief at ACE plans to use Quality Metrics to measure artistic quality.

Photo of Nicholas Serota

The incoming Chairman of Arts Council England (ACE) has reacted with disbelief at news of ACE’s plans to roll out its controversial Quality Metrics pilot.

Forty minutes into an interview for the programme Tate Modern: The Reunion on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Tate boss Sir Nicholas Serota responded with disbelief to presenter Sue MacGregor when she told him of ACE’s plans to introduce Quality Metrics to measure artistic quality and said “the Arts Council is going to say if it doesn’t tick these boxes we’re not going to give money to it.”

Serota responded: “I suspect you caricature the decision”, which MacGregor denied, saying: “No, I’m almost quoting it word for word from the press release.”

The concept of measuring the quality of artistic work is unlikely to sit comfortably with Serota, who earlier in the interview had said that his legacy at Tate would be “a generation of people who have the confidence to engage and question, confident in trusting their own judgments looking at the unfamiliar rather than the familiar.”

In relation to the notion of using tick boxes he said: “I think the boxes will have to get larger.”

Serota’s comments come after a week of negative comments on Twitter reacting to AP’s coverage of ACE’s plans, which will require its larger National Portfolio Organisations to use its new measurement system to assess artistic quality.

Liz Hill