Michael Stanley 1975 – 2012

I was incredibly saddened to learn this weekend of the sudden death of the director of Modern Art Oxford, Michael Stanley. I got to know him a couple of years ago when he took up the post at Oxford and always found him to be an enthusiastic and determined advocate for the arts, ambitious for his museum and plans for its expansion. I enjoyed more than one intellectual discussion with him about the state of arts funding and patronage in Britain today. He was a gifted curator and his exhibitions programme was carefully thought-out and scholarly; my favourites were George Shaw’s selection of Graham Sutherland and, just finished, Exercise (Djibouti) by John Gerrard, beautifully presented in the Old Power Station, an outpost of the museum. There is no doubt in my mind that Michael easily had the ability and charisma to reach the top of his profession and would have had a great deal more to contribute to contemporary art. It is a tragedy; the art world has lost one of its good guys.