Getting to know... the Hayward Gallery

Find out more about the six Museum of the Year finalists with our weekly Q&As. This time, the Hayward Gallery talks balloons, bees and Kanye West.

Age: I was built in 1968, making me 46 years old this July.

Describe yourself in three words: Adventurous, ambitious and thought-provoking.

What’s new with you? I don't house a permanent collection, so always have something new to show! In 2013 I put together a very challenging yet inviting programme, which included the hugely popular Light Show and a retrospective of Ana Mendieta’s work. More recently, I hosted the first comprehensive exhibition of Martin Creed’s career, complete with the infamous balloon room. I also invited some key names in the art world – like Jeremy Deller and Brian Dillon – to curate my touring programme, which was seen by 750,000 people in around 50 towns and cities across the UK last year.

What is your most treasured possession? It has to be my staff, who I value enormously. They work so hard to put together an interesting programme for those living in London, those in regions across the country and my friends internationally, from Salzburg to Sydney.

Who was your most famous visitor? I have met many in my 46-year history! But recently Bianca Jagger, Kate Moss, Jim Broadbent, Lily Cole, Kanye West, Bryan Ferry, Janet-Street Porter, Mark Hix and Paul Smith.

Is there a museum pet? My new show The Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture (open from 17 June), features a work by Pierre Huyghe that sees thousands of bees nesting on a sculpture. Please do come by and see them!

I shouldn’t leave without experiencing... The Dan Graham Waterloo Sunset Pavilion, which hosts experimental projects by up-and-coming and established artists.

You have a museum crush on... I have so many museum friends and crushes! But I guess Turner Contemporary is one of them – it's a great institution that often hosts my Hayward Touring programme.

You’re most happy when… I am busy and full of people appreciating work by all sorts of artists and in all kinds of mediums.

What do you most like about your appearance? My Brutalist architecture is definitely one of my best assets. It gets complimented a lot and has a huge impact in the work I can show.

If I was named Museum of the Year I would... Celebrate my achievement by telling the world! I would also continue to offer great exhibitions here in London, as well as part of my touring programme. A winning museum has a lot to live up to!

Visit the Hayward Gallery's Museum of the Year page.

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