With a network of four sites in three places throughout the country the Tate Museum’s art works are not only to be found in London, but that’s for another time. Liverpool and Cornwall can wait! Let me tell you about their two main Museums that you can find easily on your trip to London.
An art lover’s treat in two ( large) nutshells
The Tate Museum network is home to the largest collection of British art – with Tate Britain featuring national art from 1500 until this day and Tate Modern focusing on modern and contemporary art of both national and international background.
Tate Britain used to be a prison and opened its doors as an art gallery in 1897 under the name the National Gallery of British Art. The name Tate surfaced officially in 1932 and if you ever buy cane sugar in the uk you will discover Tate & Lyle on the shelves of any supermarket. Their founder, Sir Henry Tate kickstarted financially what was to become the network of galleries Tate Museum. Their first and original site, namingly Tate Britain is accessible by foot from the station Pimlico or by boat at Millband Millenium Pier. But since Tate Modern is just down the river near London Bridge, you might opt for transportation via the waterways, visiting both of the impressive museums in one day.
You might have heard of the Turner prize, a competition honouring British artists after shortlisting four nominees for their outstanding work in the past year. It is named after Joseph Mallord William Turner ( 1775–1851 ) who was a landscape and marine painter, described as the ‘father of modern art’ by John Ruskin. The collection of his work can be viewed on permanent display at Tate Britain along a dedicated space for the winners of the price in his name. To gain more then an overview of the museum’s collection I recommend going on a guided tour where you’ll be able to follow a red line in the history of British painting. Topics change every four months highlighting under-represented narratives. Until late October you can come along to expand your understanding of Western European art by looking at African heritage beyond the narrative of slavery and subjugation.
Tate Modern is loved for its striking industrial appearance and that it hosts modern and contemporary art. It has recently expanded into a live art programme that is not to be missed! The former powerstation had its oil tanks made accessible with a dedicated area for performance art, large scale installations and video art. It is called The Tanks and is featuring its own eclectic programme including sound events day and evenings. Further, Tate Modern’s latest physical extension of raw concrete in 2016 gave home to Tate Exchange. Here active and interactive approaches have been given attention through a series of participatory events, talks and discussion – a hands-on opportunity for those of you wanting to engage with art and art-making today.
Back in the days of Bankside Power station.