Journalist and broadcaster Ekow Eshun has been named artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), replacing previous head Philip Dodd.
Eshun edited men's magazine Arena and writes for The Guardian
Mr Eshun said he was "delighted" to be able to ensure London's ICA "continues to present work that is passionate, provocative and speaks of now".
He became the youngest editor of a men's magazine when he was appointed to the top job at Arena aged 28.
Now 36, he is now editorial director of fashion magazine Tank.
He is a regular contributor to the BBC's Newsnight Review, The Daily Politics and Radio 4's Front Row programme and has written and presented TV and radio documentaries.
Mr Eshun also writes for publications including The Guardian, The Observer, New Statesman, Sunday Times and Wallpaper and served as an ICA council member from 1999 to 2003.
He said: "I first visited the ICA when I was 18 and I've been committed to it ever since because it's a place that remains dedicated to exploring new ideas."
ICA chairman Alan Yentob said Mr Eshun was "not only a passionate advocate for the arts".
"The breadth of his interests and experience right across the cultural spectrum will guarantee the institution a strong forward-thinking artistic vision," he said.
The ICA was created in 1947 by poet Sir Herbert Read and artist Roland Penrose to provide a creative space outside London's Royal Academy.
Its reputation for shaking up the art world took off in the 1960s when it displayed blood, worms and sperm in a psychedelic light show.
Outgoing head Philip Dodd increased the gallery's annual visitor figures by 500,000 - but the ICA was accused of losing its way under his tenure.
Under his direction, the institute staged ErotICA, a two-day event that included seminars on how to start a sex magazine and why the British are so bad at pornography.