Tate Modern

December 17, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Posted in General, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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Quite a few Saturday nights ago I went to Tate Modern (it’s open late on Friday and Saturday) night with free entry unless it’s a special exhibit. On this particular night none of the exhibits interested me so I only made my way through the standard gallery. One of the notable features of the Modern at the moment is Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth or otherwise known as that giant crack in the floor. The basic premise of this giant crack running the length of the Tate’s floor is to highlight division between peoples. I’m not opposed to the message or the method of application however what was most curious was the reaction of the onlookers. Generally they just seemed surprised to see a crack in the floor. The BBC and The New York Times have pieces outlining the contrasting opinions of the crack. I’m just glad it wasn’t an Australian who fell down/in/over it.

The standard gallery is laid out in a linear progression but generally focusing on one theme or another (e.g poetry and dream). Within each gallery there is generally quite a bit of scope to wander around and take your time to look around all the different artwork. Sometimes there might be a bit of crush of tourists thus reducing the time you have to ponder a piece but as yours truly isn’t an art aficionado this didn’t pose a significant problem.

As to be expected from any modern art gallery there are a variety of mediums employed by the artists to convey the spirit of their work and message. Sometimes I’m completely bewildered by what message is being said and I feel daft and a fraud for walking in the door and at any moment a curator will march me out for invading this space of culture. Fortunately, with people like me in mind most of the art has a small description detailing the purpose of the work and artist.

The Tate also features a variety of cafes and there is also a balcony overlooking the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s which is quite cathartic to stand and watch the world go by. Presumably if you go on a busy day you may have the completely opposite reaction to standing out on the balcony!

The Tate is interesting and varied and it was certainly miles and kilometres ahead of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Even so, I couldn’t help but get bored by it all. Or is the better word overwhelmed? There is a lot of art to cover and process so perhaps I was just fatigued by it all – but in a good way?

Once again I’m caught in the mental trap of not knowing if I like something because I find it informative and engaging or only because I think that’s the reaction I should have. Regardless, as with any review of an artistic institution if you already like modern art go to the Tate (you don’t even need my recommendation do you?) and if you’re not sure about it or want to expand your artistic horizons then why not go, give it a shot and maybe learn something about art/ yourself in the process.

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