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Tate Modern

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Tate Modern

Tate Modern
Tate Modern is located in Central London
Tate Modern
Location within Central London
Established 2000
Location Bankside, London SE1, England, United Kingdom

4,884,939 (2013)[1]

Director Chris Dercon
Public transit access Blackfriars, Southwark
The Turbine Hall

Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London. 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).[3] It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year.[4] It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark. Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art.[5]


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. In 1992 The Tate Gallery at the British National Art Museum proposed a competition to build a new building for modern art. The purpose for the new building would help with the ever-expanding collection on modern and contemporary art. In 1995 it was announced that Herzog & de Meuron had won the competition with their simple design. The architects decided to reinvent the current building instead of demolishing it. The Tate modern is an example of adaptive reuse, the process of finding new life in old buildings. The building itself still resembles the 20th century factory in style from the outside and that is reflected on the inside by the taupe walls, steel girders and concrete floors. The façade of the building is made out of 4.2 million bricks that are separated by groups of thin vertical windows that help create a dramatic light inside. 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. This challenging conversion work was carried by Carillion.[6] 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).[7]

The galleries

A gallery at Tate Modern.

The collections in Tate Modern consist of works of international modern and contemporary art dating from 1900 until today.[8]

Tate Modern currently has seven floors, originally numbered 1 to 7, they were then renumbered 0 to 6 in 2012. Levels 0 to 4 contain gallery space.

Collection exhibitions

The main collection displays consist of 4 wings each taking up approximately half a complete floor of the main building. Each wing has a named theme or subject. Within each wing there are some rooms that change periodically showing different works in keeping with the overall theme or subject of the wing.

Previous collection exhibitions

Chimney of Tate Modern. The Swiss Light at its top was designed by Michael Craig-Martin and the architects Herzog & de Meuron and was sponsored by the Swiss government. It was dismantled in May 2008.

When the gallery opened in 2000, the collections were not displayed in chronological order but were rather arranged thematically into four broad groups each allocated a wing on levels 3 and 5 (now levels 2 and 4):

  • 'History/Memory/Society'
  • 'Nude/Action/Body'
  • 'Landscape/Matter/Environment'
  • '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. It also introduced spaces for shorter exhibitions in between the wings. The layout was:

Material Gestures (now closed)

This focuses on abstraction, expressionism and abstract expressionism, featuring work by Claude Monet, Anish Kapoor, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse and Tacita Dean.[9]

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.[10]

Energy and Process

This focuses on Arte Povera, with work by artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, Kasimir Malevich, Ana Mendieta, Mario Merz[11] and Jenny Holzer.[12]

States of Flux (now closed)

This focuses on Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism and Pop Art,[13] containing work by artists such as Pablo Picasso,[14] Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol[15] and the photographer Eugène Atget,[16]

Current collection exhibitions

As of mid-2012, a third rehang is in progress.[17] The current arrangement is:

Poetry and Dream

As above.

Structure and Clarity

Focussing on abstract art, replacing States of Flux.[18]

Transformed Visions

Focusing on Abstract Impressionism and related fields after the Second World War, replacing Material Gestures.[19]

Energy and Process

As above.

Setting the Scene

A smaller section, located between wings, covering installations with theatrical or fictional themes.[20]

It has not been announced whether the current rehang will eventually replace all four of the sections introduced in the first rehang.

Temporary exhibitions

The Turbine Hall

Ólafur Elíasson, The Weather Project (2004)
Rachel Whiteread, EMBANKMENT (2005)

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.[21] It is used to display large specially-commissioned works by contemporary artists, between October and March each year. 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.[22]

The artists who have exhibited commissioned work in the turbine hall as part of the Unilever series are:
Date Artist Work(s) Details
May 2000 – November 2000[23] Louise Bourgeois I Do, I Undo, I Redo About
June 2001 – March 2002 Juan Muñoz Double Bind About
October 2002 – April 2003 Anish Kapoor Marsyas About
October 2003 – March 2004 Olafur Eliasson The Weather Project About
October 2004 – May 2005 Bruce Nauman Raw Materials About
October 2005 – May 2006 Rachel Whiteread EMBANKMENT About
October 2006 – April 2007 Carsten Höller Test Site About
October 2007 – April 2008 Doris Salcedo Shibboleth About
October 2008 – April 2009 Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster TH.2058 About
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
July 2012 – October 2012 Tino Sehgal These associations About

Until 2012, the series was named after its corporate sponsor, Unilever. Between 2000 and 2012, Unilever had provided £4.4m sponsorship in total including a renewal deal of £2.2m for a period of five years agreed in 2008.[24]

When the series is not running, the Turbine Hall is used for occasional events and exhibitions. Most recently it has been used to display Damien Hirst's For The Love Of God [25] and a sell out show by Kraftwerk in February 2013 which famously crashed the ticket hotline and website causing a backlash from the band's fans. In 2013, Tate Modern signed a sponsorship deal worth around £5 million with Hyundai to cover a ten-year program of commissions, then considered the largest amount of money ever provided to an individual gallery or museum in the United Kingdom.[26]

Major temporary exhibitions

Two wings of the main building are used to stage the major temporary exhibitions for which an entry fee is charged. These exhibitions normally run for three or four months. When they were located on a single floor, the two exhibition areas could be combined to host a single exhibition. This was done for the [27] Currently the two wings used are on levels 2 and 3. It is not known if this arrangement is permanent. Each major exhibition has a dedicated mini-shop selling books and merchandise relevant to the exhibition.

The Tanks

The Tanks, located on level 0, are three large underground oil tanks, connecting spaces and side rooms originally used by the power station and refurbished for use by the gallery. One tank is used to display installation and video art specially commissioned for the space while smaller areas are used to show installation and video art from the collection.

Project Space

The Project Space (formerly known as the Level 2 Gallery) is a smaller gallery located on the north side of the building on level 1 which houses exhibitions of contemporary art in collaboration with other international art organisations. Its exhibitions typically run for 2–3 months and then travel to the collaborating institution for display there.

Other areas

Small exhibition spaces can be created between the wings on levels 2 to 4. These have been used used to display recent acquisitions and other temporary displays from the collection. 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 1 and the north facing exterior of the building.[28]

Other facilities

In addition to exhibition space there are a number of other facilities:

  • A large performance space in one of the tanks on level 0 used to show a changing programme of performance works for which there is sometimes an entrance charge.
  • The Starr Auditorium and a seminar room on level 1 which are used to show films and host events for which there is usually an entrance charge.
  • The Clore Education Centre, Clore Information Room and McAulay Studios on level 0 which are facilities for use by visiting educational institutions.
  • One large and several small shops selling books, prints and merchandise.
  • A cafe, an espresso bar, a restaurant and bar and a members' room.
  • Tate Modern community garden, co-managed with Bankside Open Spaces Trust

Extension project

Tate Modern has attracted more visitors than originally expected and plans to expand it have been in preparation since 2004. These plans are focused on the south west of the building and will provide 5,000m2 of new display space, almost doubling the amount of display space.[29][30]

This project was initially costed at £215 million [31] Of the money raised, 50 million pounds is coming from the U.K. government; 7 million pounds from the London Development Agency; 5 million pounds from philanthropist John Studzinski; and donations from, among others, the Sultanate of Oman and Elisabeth Murdoch.[32]

As of 2 June 2013, international shipping and property magnate Eyal Ofer pledged £10m to the extension project, making it to 85% of the required funds. Eyal Ofer, chairman of London-based Zodiac Maritime Agencies, said the donation made through his family foundation would enable "an iconic institution to enhance the experience and accessibility of contemporary art".[33] The Tate director, Nicholas Serota, praised the donation saying it would help to make Tate Modern a "truly twenty-first-century museum".[34]

The Tanks

The first phase of the expansion involved the conversion of three large, circular, underground oil tanks originally used by the power station into accessible display spaces and facilities areas. These opened on 18 July 2012 and are used to show live performance art and installations. Tate describes them as "the world's first museum galleries permanently dedicated to live art".[35]

The western block

The new western block will occupy the space no longer required by EDF Energy for their electrical substation. The original block has been demolished and a new building will be built with large gallery spaces and access routes between the main building and the new tower on level 1 (ground level) and level 4. The new galleries on level 4 will have natural top lighting. A bridge will be built across the turbine hall on level 4 to complete the upper access route.[29]

The tower

An eleven storey tower, 65 metres high, is being built above the oil tanks.[36] The new building is scheduled to open in 2016.[29]

The design, again by Herzog & de Meuron, has been controversial. It was originally designed as a glass stepped pyramid, but this was amended to incorporate a sloping façade in brick latticework (to match the original power-station building)[37] despite planning consent to the original design had been previously granted by the supervising authority. [38]

The tower will provide 22,492 square metres of additional gross internal area for display and exhibition spaces, performance spaces, education facilities, offices, catering and retail facilities as well as a car parking and a new external public space.[39]

The Chimney

The chimney is one of the most recognizable monuments on The South bank. It is directly across the river from Saint Paul’s Cathedral. The chimney stands at 325 ft, made completely out of brick except for The Swiss Light added on top by the architects Herzog and De Meuron.

Access and environs

Tate Modern on the opening day of the Millennium Bridge in 2000

The closest station is Blackfriars via its new south entrance. Other nearby stations include Southwark, as well as St Paul's and Mansion House north of the river which can be reached via the Millennium Bridge. The lampposts between Southwark tube station and 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.

Transport connections

Service Station/Stop Lines/Routes served Distance
from Tate Modern
London Buses Southwark Street / Blackfriars Road Handicapped/disabled access RV1 0.2 mile walk[40]
Blackfriars Bridge Handicapped/disabled access 381, N343, N381 0.2 mile walk[41]
Blackfriars Bridge / South Side Handicapped/disabled access 45, 63, 100, N63, N89 0.2 mile walk[42]
Southwark Bridge / Bankside Pier Handicapped/disabled access 344 0.4 mile walk[43]
London Underground Southwark Handicapped/disabled access 0.4 mile walk[44]
National Rail Blackfriars Handicapped/disabled access Thameslink, Southeastern 0.5 mile walk[45]
London Bridge Handicapped/disabled access Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern 0.7 mile walk[46]
London River Services Bankside Pier Handicapped/disabled access Commuter Service
Tate to Tate
Westminster to St Katharine's Circular
  • At the exit of Southwark tube station, orange lamposts direct visitors to Tate Modern.

Selections from the permanent collection of paintings

See also


  1. ^ a b Latest Visitor Figures, ALVA, 2014. Retrieved on 10 July 2014.
  2. ^ Top 100 Art Museum Attendance, The Art Newspaper, 2014. Retrieved on 10 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Tate On-line"History and development . Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  4. ^ "The startling success of Tate Modern". London: The Times. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "About". Tate. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  6. ^ "Tate Modern builders Carillion win £400m Battersea Power Station contract". Your local Guardian. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  7. ^ Riding, Alan (26 July 2006). "Tate Modern Announces Plans for an Annex". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 July 2006. 
  8. ^ Tate Modern: About
  9. ^ Tate Modern | Collection Displays | Level 3: Material es, Tate Online, 2006. URL accessed on 9 February 2007.
  10. ^ "Collection Displays. Level 3: Poetry and Dream". Tate. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  11. ^ Tate Modern | Collection Displays | Level 5: Idea and Object, Tate Online, 2006. URL accessed on 9 February 2007.
  12. ^ Tate Modern | Collection Displays | Level 5: Idea and Object | Image/Text (Room 11), Tate Online, 2006. URL accessed on 9 February 2007.
  13. ^ Tate Modern | Collection Displays | Level 5: States of FluxTate Online, 2006. URL accessed on 9 February 2007.
  14. ^ Tate Modern | Collection Displays | Level 5: States of Flux | Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism (Room 2), Tate Online, 2006. URL accessed on 9 February 2007.
  15. ^ Tate Modern | Collection Displays | Level 5: States of Flux | Pop (Room 7)Tate Online, 2006. URL accessed on 9 February 2007.
  16. ^ Tate Modern | Collection Displays | Level 5: States of Flux | Machine Eye (Room 4)Tate Online, 2007. URL accessed on 9 February 2007.
  17. ^ "Collection Displays". Tate. 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  18. ^ "Structure and Clarity". Tate. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  19. ^ "Transformed Visions". Tate. 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  20. ^ "Setting the Scene". Tate. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  21. ^ Brooks, Xan (7 October 2005). "Profile: Rachel Whiteread". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 20 April 2006. 
  22. ^ "Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster Chosen for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall". Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  23. ^ "The Unilever Series". Tate. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  24. ^ Gareth Harris (August 14, 2012), Tate seeks new sponsor for Turbine Hall commissions The Art Newspaper.
  25. ^ "Damien Hirst's iconic For the Love of God to be shown in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall". Tate. 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  26. ^ xMartin Bailey (January 20, 2014), Tate signs £5m sponsorship with Hyundai The Art Newspaper.
  27. ^ Tate Modern: Gilbert & George Exhibition
  28. ^ Tate Modern: Street Art
  29. ^ a b c Tate Guide, August–September 2012
  30. ^ "Vision". Tate. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  31. ^ Tate Modern's chaotic pyramid, The Times, 26 July 2006. URL accessed on 26 July 2006.
  32. ^ Farah Nayeri (April 20, 2012), Murdoch’s Daughter Elisabeth Gives Tate at Least $1.6 MlnBloomberg.
  33. ^ Pickford, James (2013-07-02). "Eyal Ofer donates £10m to Tate Modern extension". Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  34. ^ Mark Brown, arts correspondent (2 July 2013). "Tate Modern receives £10m gift from Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer | Art and design". London: Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  35. ^ "The Tanks: Art in Action". Tate. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  36. ^ "Environmental Statement non technical summary". Tate. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  37. ^ "Tate Modern extension redesigned". 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2013-01-08. 
  38. ^ "Tate Modern extension, Bankside". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  39. ^ "Tate Modern extension by Herzog & de Meuron architects". Inexhibit. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  40. ^ Google Inc. bus stop"Southwark Street / Blackfriars Road from Tate Modern"Walking directions to . Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,+Blackfriars+Road+(Stop+SM)+%4051.506820,-0.103430&daddr=51.507327,-0.1024403+to:Holland+St&geocode=FYTuEQMd-mv-_w%3BFX_wEQMd2G_-_ym5Yoj-rgR2SDGwKAk5xoUREw%3BFUDxEQMdiXP-_w&hl=en&mra=dvme&mrsp=1&sz=17&via=1&dirflg=w&sll=51.50706,-0.100851&sspn=0.002938,0.006856&ie=UTF8&z=17. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  41. ^ Google Inc. bus stop"Blackfriars Bridge from Tate Modern"Walking directions to . Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-0.1024403+to:Holland+St&geocode=Fc3uEQMdj2r-_w%3BFX_wEQMd2G_-_ym5Yoj-rgR2SDGwKAk5xoUREw%3BFUDxEQMdiXP-_w&hl=en&mra=dme&mrsp=0&sz=17&via=1&dirflg=w&sll=51.506773,-0.103469&sspn=0.002938,0.006856&ie=UTF8&z=17. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  42. ^ Google Inc. bus stop"Blackfriars Bridge / South Side from Tate Modern"Walking directions to . Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,+Blackfriars+Bridge+South+Side+(Stop+SJ)+%4051.508460,-0.104600&daddr=Park+Street,+Bankside,+London+SE1+9TG+(Tate+Modern)&geocode=Fez0EQMdaGf-_w%3BFbDyEQMdJnz-_yHnm2vgI2_8Hw&hl=en&mra=prev&dirflg=w&sll=51.508325,-0.101955&sspn=0.002938,0.006856&ie=UTF8&z=17. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  43. ^ Google Inc. bus stop"Southwark Bridge / Bankside Pier from Tate Modern"Walking directions to . Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,+Southwark+BridgeBankside+Pier+(Stop)+%4051.507490,-0.094960&daddr=Tate+Modern&geocode=FSLxEQMdEI3-_w%3BFbDyEQMdJnz-_yHnm2vgI2_8Hw&hl=en&mra=prev&dirflg=w&sll=51.5073,-0.097096&sspn=0.002938,0.006856&ie=UTF8&z=17. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  44. ^ Google Inc. "Southwark tube station from Tate Modern"Walking directions to . Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-0.1016531+to:51.5065638,-0.1002698+to:Holland+St&geocode=FePiEQMdfGX-_ymXk7REpQR2SDEVgh2BUyxR-w%3BFT_iEQMd63L-_ynd94KapQR2SDHxcGouxoUREw%3BFYPtEQMdU3j-_ynRc00urwR2SDHgKAk5xoUREw%3BFQDvEQMdwnb-_w&hl=en&mra=dme&mrsp=3&sz=16&via=1,2&dirflg=w&sll=51.506031,-0.10216&sspn=0.005917,0.013711&ie=UTF8&z=16. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  45. ^ Google Inc. "Blackfriars station from Tate Modern"Walking directions to . Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,+Middlesex+EC4V+4DY+(London+Blackfriars+Railway+Station)&daddr=tate+modern&geocode=FSMBEgMdrW3-_yGJJC6DRs3N4Q%3BFbDyEQMdJnz-_yHnm2vgI2_8Hw&hl=en&mra=ltm&dirflg=w&sll=51.508615,-0.10077&sspn=0.011833,0.027423&ie=UTF8&z=16. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
  46. ^ Google Inc. "London Bridge station from Tate Modern"Walking directions to . Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-0.093126&sspn=0.007079,0.021136&dirflg=w&ie=UTF8&z=16&saddr=london+bridge+station&daddr=51.506977,-0.0911337+to:tate+modern&via=1. Retrieved 28 February 2012.

External links

  • Official website
  • 'Tate Modern: a Year of Sweet Success' by Esther Leslie, in Radical Philosophy
  • The buildings of Bankside Power Station(Tate Modern) and Battersea Power Station compared
  • Inside Bankside Power Station with Antony Gormley 1991 on YouTube

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