Tate Modern Museum has one of the best modern and contemporary art collections in the world. The museum, which is also much spoken with its extraordinary architecture, is among the most visited museums in the world with its exhaustive exhibitions and extraordinary experience it offers to its visitors. Let’s take a look at the innovative approaches offered by this significant museum located in Bankside, London.
A short history of its background…
The collection, which was donated to the National Gallery by the industrialist Henry Tate, was containing the most valuable artworks by British artists, was not accepted at the time because there was not enough space at the National Gallery, but different venue alternatives were started to be sought. In 1897, the National Gallery and Henry Tate Collection commence being exhibited together at the building located in Millbank, known today as Tate Britain, which is opened with a generous donation by Henry Tate. Thirty-five years after the opening of the gallery, it officially took the name of Tate in 1932, and became completely independent in 1955 and continued to grow.
Tate Gallery and Museums
Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St. Each of Ives, museums and art galleries takes viewers on a journey through different time zones. Each of the four museums in four different locations is named according to its place, its collection, and the exhibitions it offers to the audience. The most valuable works of British art are on display at Tate Britain, which is the first museum that met the audience in 1897 at Millbank. After the first museum, Tate Liverpool is opened which addresses the younger audience with its British and international contemporary and modern art collection and organizes active educational programs, offers an alternative experience to art lovers. Opened in 1993 and renovated in 2017, St. Ives Gallery hosts artists who are living, have lived or produced their artworks in this small city. Finally, Tate Modern, which met the audience in 2000, is a must-visit place of art lovers in London with its new enormous building added in 2016 and its growing new collection.
Tate Modern: Extraordinary Architecture and Memorable Experiences
The Tate Modern Museum is one of the most spoken, visited and admirable structures of London with its architecture as well as the world’s most important artworks in its collection. The building, which was used as a power station until 1981, located at the side of the Thames River, has been restored by the famous Swedish architectural design company Herzog & De Meuron and promises a unique museum experience with its splendid new extension building. While the old rectangular structure of the building, which is two hundred meters long, was restored and met with the audience for the first time in 2000, the museum, which constructed with its new pyramid architecture added in 2016, offers visitors the opportunity to experience artworks from many different disciplines. Today, museum architecture is divided into three main sections; Turbine Hall, Natalie Bell Building and Blavatnik Building. While the renewed Turbine Hall and Natalie Bell Building are located within the same building, the galleries in the Blavatnik building, which were added later, are connected to the galleries of Natalie Bell building by a bridge.
Must-see areas of the museum…
The Turbine Hall
The Turbine Hall, which is known as the heart of the Tate Modern Museum, extends along with the Natalie Bell building, connects Natalie Bell and Blavatnik buildings with the twenty-five-meter long bridge on the west wing, and is breathtaking with its space and worldwide exhibitions. The hall, where power generators used to be present, bears traces of the past with its brick walls, high windows and a ceiling height of 35 meters. The artists exhibited at the hall are commissioned to create site-specific works, large-scale sculptures, performances, and interactive installations, and the exhibitions at the hall attract a lot of attention and are extraordinary with the integrity of the space.
Blavatnik Building, formerly the Switch House
In this building, which fascinates the visitors with its extraordinary structure, contemporary artworks after the 1960s are exhibited. With the eleven-stories, the rotating pyramid-shaped building added to the museum by Herzog & de Meuron in 2016, the exhibition areas of the museum increased by sixty percent. While the brick covering used on the exteriors and interiors of the building maintains the historical traces of the old main building, it also allows liberal and innovative approaches for the curatorial practice by considering the space and light. The extension building, which is opened in 2016 with the name, Switch House, was renamed after a generous donation of Russian-British billionaire Leonard Blavatnik as Blavatnik Building in 2017.
Tanks are located under the area where the Blavatnik Building is today. When viewed from above, Tanks have a structure similar to a cloverleaf and located nine meters below the ground, are among the most interesting gallery areas of the museum. While three large cylinder tanks were used as oil tanks while the building used as a power station, they were transformed into a gallery place by the Herzog & de Meuron. For the first time in a museum, a specific area is dedicated to art for live performances, installations and film screenings. Risen from the Tanks to the sky, from the terrace on the top floor of the Blavatnik Building which is open everyone, Thames River, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf, and Wembley Stadium can be viewed.
Notable Temporary Exhibitions at the Museum
Dora Maar is one of the leading figures of the surrealist movement who is known for her extraordinary collage and photomontage works. Maar is considered as one of the important female artists of the 1930s. The exhibition takes the audience to a short journey throughout the artist’s life. The exhibition which offers a visual feast contains artworks from the beginning to the end of her career, it also covers the documents of the artist’s intimate relationship with the renowned painter Pablo Picasso. The works Maar and Picasso produced together, and the paintings that Picasso represent Maar can be seen. Commercial photographs taken by Maar such as fashion and advertising photos are also on display. One of the most important retrospectives organized by Tate Modern span nine galleries, the exhibition can be visited until March 15.
In the Turbine Hall, there are two sculptures produced by the world-renowned American artist Kara Walker, sponsored by Hyundai. A 13-meter-long giant fountain called Fons Americans, produced by the artist is inspired by the Victoria Monument located in front of Buckingham Palace. Next to this giant fountain, a smaller 13-meter long fountain, as well as a smaller scale oyster statue, can also be viewed at the Turbine Hall until April 5.
New Exhibition to be Launched in Tanks: BMW Tate Live Exhibition
Three artists selected as part of the BMW Tate Live Exhibition, which will be held for the fourth time this year, promise an unforgettable experience to visitors. The participant artists are; Faustin Linyekula, Okwui Okpokwasili, and Tanya Lukin Linklater question how history leaves traces on the body, as well as the visibility and permeable boundaries of art. The exhibition, which will begin on March 20 and will last for ten days and six nights, will include site-specific installations as well as live performances at the Tanks, known as the underground area of Tate Modern.
Tate Modern’s 2020 Must-See Exhibitions
Steve McQueen, February 13 – May 11, 2020
The exhibition of Turner Prize and the Academy Award-winning British artist Steve McQueen is open. Apart from his films, fourteen artworks produced in different disciplines such as photography and sculpture can also be discovered at the exhibition. Exodus, the artist’s first film with Super 8 camera, is on view for the first time, and his movie End Credits, produced in memory of African-American artist, actor, activist Paul Robeson can also be seen. The exhibition which covers the 20 years of McQueen includes the artist’s extraordinary approach to film production, his transitions to different techniques. Unique and touching portraits of space and time can be witnessed throughout the exhibition. The exhibition can be seen until May 11, 2020.
Andy Warhol, 12 March – 6 September 2020
The retrospective of Andy Warhol, superstar of American Pop art, will be open on March 12, will be one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of the artist to date. Warhol’s cult works such as Marilyn Diptych, Coca Cola, and Campbell Soup Cans, as well as works that have never been exhibited in England, can also be discovered. Twenty-five works of Black, Latinx Drag Queens and Trans-Women portraits from the Warhol’s Ladies & Gentlemen series will be shown for the first time and will be on display for the first time in thirty years. The exhibition can be visited until September 6.
Zanele Muholi, 29 April – 18 October 2020
The first comprehensive exhibition of South African artist Zanele Muholi will be open on 29 April. The brave, intimate, challenging portraits of black, bisexual, trans, gay, lesbian, queer individuals featured in the photos of activist artist Muholi challenge the heteropatriarchal ideologies and conventional canons.
The exhibition will include extraordinary and sincere photographs of Muholi, which also reveal the liberal attitude of the activist artist in her art practice. The Zanele Muholi exhibition can be visited until October 18.
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