Having citiqued the building in Part I, what about the contents of Tate Modern?
The Tate Modern prides itself on its unusual grouping of art works by theme rather than by artist, movement, or timeline, so you will find Braque and Picasso works scattered through several spaces, not together. It’s a bit odd. If I knew more about art I might get it…
It is a modern collection of mainly late nineteenth, twentieth and current century avant-guarde. You will be challenged by much of what is on display and forced to ask ‘is it art?’ If it is art, is it any good?
States of Flux: early twentieth-century movements Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism. From the breakaway from post-Impressionist art through Cubism, appropriation and collage, the emergence of Pop Art and on to digital technologies, sampling, mixing and montaging associated with alternative music and club cultures.
Energy and Process: transformation and natural forces through sculpture including everyday materials – industrial and organic. Through Mono Ha and Post-Minimalism to art as daily life in photography, film and installation.
Poetry and Dream: largely Surrealism, dream states, Freudian and post- psychology, free association and bizarre symbolism
Material Gestures: painting and sculpture from the 1940s and 1950s, abstraction and expressionism.
Taryn Simon: a free exhibition until 2 January 2012 by the American artist Taryn Simon. A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters was produced over a four-year period (2008-11), during which Simon travelled around the world researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories.
Contested Terrains: visiting until 16 October 2011. Four artists working in Africa who explore and subvert history and identity. Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Michael MacGarry and Adolphus Opara
Joan Miró: this is the major paid exhibition until 11 September 2011. A retrospective of on of the greatest abstract and Surrealist painters. One of the great political artists of the twentieth century.
Most of these artists function on a plane that us everyday folk seldom reach. They arrive at their works precisely by challenging everything; everything is art, art is everything. Which is why a T-shaped placement of two rusted steel sheets suddenly become significant: as a totem, a henge, a transformation of industrial detritus into a geometric form. You may think it’s brilliant and original, you may think it’s idiotic junk. But do think something.
You can always enjoy the reactions of the other patrons.
- There is no admission charge for most of the exhibits (certain visiting exhibits excepted)
- There is a lot of excellent art to see.
- The area around the front of the museum along the South bank is an impressive mix of London skyline, water and river front bars and cafes. There is a grassed area right ouside the entrance.
Mansion House tube station is a couple of stops along from Victoria; exit the station and turn left to cross the Millennium bridge – worth a walk itself.)
International modern and contemporary art
Bankside London SE1 9TG
General enquiries: 020 7887 8888
Open Sunday – Thursday, 10.00–18.00
Friday and Saturday, 10.00–22.00
Last admission into exhibitions 17.15 (Friday and Saturday 21.15)