Tate Modern, London
Tate Modern is a museum of modern art in London, part of the Tate network together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St. Ives.
Located on the southern embankment of the River Thames in the Bankside district, the London Borough of Southwark, the museum was opened to the public on May 12, 2000, and presents works by many among the world’s best-known modern and contemporary artists.
The museum is housed in the former Bankside Power Station, an imposing brick-clad building designed by the British architect Giles Gilbert Scott in the 1950s; the historic building has been redeveloped after a design by Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. The renovation project is widely regarded as one of the best examples of the conversion of a disused industrial building into a modern state-of-the-art cultural venue.
Possibly the most iconic space of the museum, the Turbine Hall, which once accommodated the electric generators of the power plant, is a monumental open space on the ground floor with an internal height of about 20 meters / 55 feet; it is frequently used as a gallery for large temporary art installations commissioned by the museum to famed international artists.
The Turbine Hall gallery on the ground floor of the former Bankside Power Station building. Photo © Riccardo Bianchini / Inexhibit
Tate Modern, cross-section looking east; the Turbine Hall is the 4-story-high space in the center. Image Herzog & de Meuron
A view of the Tate Modern building from the Millenium Bridge. Photo © Inexhibit
The 2016 extension
In 2016, the Tate Modern has been expanded through the Switch House, a 22,500-square-meter / 242,000-square-foot extension designed again by Herzog & de Meuron.
The extension is a 65-meter-high, 11-story brick-clad tower, connected to the old building at levels 1 and 2 and through a pedestrian bridge at level 5, that contains exhibition spaces, education rooms, performance rooms, offices, catering spaces, retail stores, panoramic terraces, and a parking garage.
The extension project also included the redevelopment of three underground oil tanks into spaces, called The Tanks, for performances of art and interactive installations.
The “Switch House” extension of the Tate Modern complex, opened in 2016 after a design by Herzog & de Meuron. Photo © Iwan Baan.
Collection and permanent exhibition
The permanent collection of the Tate Modern is housed on levels 3 and 4 of the Switch House extension and on levels 2 and 4 of the former power station building, while two floors are used for temporary exhibitions. As mentioned earlier, the Turbine Hall space is reserved for changing sculptural installations and special commissions.
As a museum, Tate Modern mostly focuses on international art from the origins of modernism, in the early 20th century, to the present.
Comprising over 70,000 pieces – paintings, sculptures, installations, and video works – the museum’s collection includes masterpieces made by world-renowned modern and contemporary artists such as William Blake, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, John William Waterhouse, William Turner, Claude Monet, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Georges Braque, Salvador Dalì, Joan Miro, Max Ernst, Piet Mondrian, Edvard Munch, Alberto Giacometti, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Francis Bacon, Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, and Anish Kapoor.
Some of the most impressive artworks on view include the Seagram Murals painting cycle by Mark Rothko (1958-59), Pablo Picasso’s Figure dans un Fauteuil (1910), one of the monumental Water-Lilies paintings by Claude Monet (1916), la Guitare by Georges Braque (1910), Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale Attesa (1960), and Mountain Lake by Salvador Dalí (1938), to name just a few.
Tate Modern also features a series of interactive activities and hands-on exhibits spread across the museum’s complex part of the Bloomberg Connects digital art project.
The program of activities and events of the Tate Modern includes temporary exhibitions, conferences, lectures, workshops, research programs, live performances, guided tours, and special events. The building of the museum, fully accessible to physically impaired people, also accommodates a cafe, a panoramic restaurant, and three shops.
Mark Rothko’s Red on Maroon 1959 and Black on Maroon 1958 on display as part of Rothko and Turner at Tate Britain; © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko ARS, NY and DACS, London. Photo © Tate (Joe Humphrys)
The Turbine Hall with Richard Tuttle’s installation “I Don’t Know. The Weave of Textile Language”, 2014. Photo © Inexhibit
Two interior views of the Switch House extension. Photos © Iwan Baan.
The Turbine Hall book and the museum’s book and gift shop. Photo © Inexhibit
Bloomberg Connects is a network of interactive kiosks and digital installations spread across the Tate Modern. Photo © Inexhibit
Cover image: Tate Modern, the north facade facing the River Thames. Photo © Inexhibit
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The New Tate Modern in London, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opens on June 17, 2016 after an architectural expansion and a complete exhibition redesign
Bloomberg Connects, an ensemble of interactive digital projects supported by Bloomberg, is active from September 2013 at the Tate Modern in London
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