Tate Modern in London

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Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London, England. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group (together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online). It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year. It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of Central London.


Main article Bankside Power Station

The galleries are housed in the former Bankside Power Station, which was originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect of Battersea Power Station, and built in two stages between 1947 and 1963. The power station closed in 1981. The building was converted by architects Herzog & de Meuron and contractors Carillion, after which it stood at 99m tall. The history of the site as well as information about the conversion was the basis for a 2008 documentary Architects Herzog and de Meuron: Alchemy of Building & Tate Modern. The southern third of the building was retained by the French power company EDF Energy as an electrical substation (in 2006, the company released half of this holding).

The galleries

The collections in Tate Modern consist of works of international modern and contemporary art dating from 1900 until today.

The Tate Collection is on display on levels three and five of the building, while level four houses large temporary exhibitions and a small exhibition space on level two houses work by contemporary artists.

Collection exhibitions

When the gallery opened in 2000, the collections were not displayed in chronological order but were rather arranged thematically into four broad groups: 'History/Memory/Society'; 'Nude/Action/Body'; 'Landscape/Matter/Environment'; and 'Still Life/Object/Real Life'. This was ostensibly because a chronological survey of the story of modern art along the lines of the Museum of Modern Art in New York would expose the large gaps in the collections, the result of the Tate's conservative acquisitions policy for the first half of the 20th century. The first rehang at Tate Modern opened in May 2006. It eschewed the thematic groupings in favour of focusing on pivotal moments of twentieth-century art, with further spaces allocated on levels 3 and 5 for shorter exhibitions. The layout is:

Level 3 - Material Gestures

This focuses on abstraction, expressionism and abstract expressionism, featuring work by Claude Monet, Anish Kapoor, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse and Tacita Dean.

Level 3 - Poetry and Dream

This features a large central room dedicated to Surrealism while the surrounding rooms feature works by artists influenced by Surrealism and its methods.

Level 5 - Energy and Process

This focuses on Arte Povera, with work by artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, Kasimir Malevich, Ana Mendieta, Mario Merz and Jenny Holzer.

Level 5 - States of Flux

This focuses on Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism and Pop Art, containing work by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and the photographer Eugène Atget,

Temporary exhibitions

Level 1 - The Turbine Hall

The Turbine Hall, which once housed the electricity generators of the old power station, is five storeys tall with 3,400 square metres of floorspace. It is used to display large specially-commissioned works by contemporary artists, between October and March each year in a series sponsored by Unilever. This series was planned to last the gallery's first five years, but the popularity of the series has led to its extension until at least 2012.

The artists that have exhibited commissioned work in the turbine hall are:

Date Artist Work(s) Details
May 2000 - November 2000 Louise Bourgeois Maman, I Do, I Undo, I Redo About, Photos
June 2001 - March 2002 Juan Muñoz Double Bind Introduction, Photos
October 2002 - April 2003 Anish Kapoor Marsyas About, Images
October 2003 - March 2004 Olafur Eliasson The Weather Project About
October 2004 - May 2005 Bruce Nauman Raw Materials About, Audio
October 2005 - May 2006 Rachel Whiteread EMBANKMENT About
October 2006 - April 2007 Carsten Höller Test Site About, Images
October 2007 - April 2008 Doris Salcedo Shibboleth About, Images
October 2008 - April 2009 Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster TH.2058 Curator's Essay Images
October 2009 - April 2010 Miroslaw Balka How It Is About
October 2010 - April 2011 Ai Weiwei Sunflower Seeds About
October 2011 - March 2012 Tacita Dean Film About

Level 2 - The Level 2 Gallery

The Level 2 Gallery is a smaller gallery located on the north side of the building which houses exhibitions of cutting edge contemporary art. Its exhibitions normally run for 2 – 3 months.

Level 4 - Major temporary exhibitions

As with levels 3 and 5, level 4 is broken into two large exhibition areas. This is used to stage the major temporary exhibitions for which an entry fee is charged. These exhibitions normally run for three or four months. The two exhibition areas can be combined to host a single exhibition. This was done for the Gilbert and George retrospective due to the size and number of the works.

Other areas

Small temporary exhibition spaces are also located in the space between the two galleries on levels 3 and 5. These are sometimes used to display recent acquisitions. Works are also sometimes shown in the restaurants and members' room. Other locations that have been used in the past include the mezzanine on Level 2 and the north facinging exterior of the building.

Access and environs

The closest tube station is Southwark, although a further pedestrian approach to Tate Modern is across the Millennium Bridge from St Paul's Cathedral or Mansion House tube station. Blackfriars Tube is closed until 2011. The lampposts between Southwark tube station and the Tate Modern are painted orange to show pedestrian visitors the route.

There is also a riverboat pier just outside the gallery called Bankside Pier, with connections to the Docklands and Greenwich via regular passenger boat services (commuter service) and the Tate to Tate service, which connects Tate Modern with Tate Britain.

To the west of Tate Modern lie the sleek stone and glass Ludgate House, the former headquarters of Express Newspapers and Sampson House, a massive late Brutalist office building.

Extension for 2012

Tate Modern has attracted more visitors than originally expected and plans to expand it have been in preparation for some time. These plans have focused on three areas for expansion all to the south of the building:

  1. The area no longer required by EDF Energy.
  2. Three large, disused, underground oil tanks originally used by the power station.
  3. A major new extension building to be built above the oil drums.

The design of the new extension building, also designed by Herzog & de Meuron, has been controversial. It was originally designed as a glass stepped pyramid, or zigurat, but this has recently been amended to incorporate a sloping façade in brick (to match the original power-station building) after the feedback on the original design was unfavourable. The extension will include galleries dedicated to photography, video, exhibitions and the community.

This project will cost approx. £215 million and is scheduled to open in 2012, in time for the 2012 Olympic Games being held in the city. Additionally, the Tate Britain will be undergoing refurbishment.

Transport connections

Service Station/Stop Lines/Routes served Distance
from Tate Modern
London Buses Southwark Street / Blackfriars Road RV1 0.2 mile walk
Blackfriars Bridge 381, N343, N381 0.2 mile walk
Blackfriars Bridge / South Side 45, 63, 100, N63, N89 0.2 mile walk
Southwark Bridge / Bankside Pier 344 0.4 mile walk
London Underground Southwark 0.4 mile walk
National Rail Blackfriars First Capital Connect, Southeastern0.5 mile walk
London Bridge First Capital Connect, Southern, Southeastern0.7 mile walk
London River Services Bankside Pier
Commuter Service
Tate to Tate
Westminster to St Katharine's Circular
  • At the exit of Southwark tube station, the orange lamposts will direct visitors to Tate Modern.

See also

  • List of museums in London

External links

Source en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tate_Modern