The Tate Museum

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Official Tate website:

  • DISSENTING VIEW: "The Tate Modern, which opened in May and is a branch of the older Tate Gallery up the river, is surely the most hyped building of the year. Modern art doesn't thrive in demure surroundings, and the notion of placing it in the gritty venue of an abandoned power station seemed appropriate. Unfortunately, the architects of the renovation, Herzog & de Meuron of Switzerland, a respected firm, have succeeded in bleeding away most of what should have been a thrilling confrontation of art with architecture." Boston Globe 09/21/00

  • THE TATE IS A FRAUD? Jed Perl is down on the new Tate. "People tell me that they love Tate Modern. When I ask for specifics, they don't seem to be able to say why. The public has such an insatiable hunger for the best things in life - which, needless to say, include museum visits - that they would rather suspend judgment than go away disappointed. There are no more than four dozen paintings or sculptures of consequence dribbled through Tate Modern's nearly endless galleries, yet somehow this does not matter. The museum has become a funhouse enclosed in a gigantic site-specific sculpture." The New Republic 06/19/00

  • WHERE'S THE MODERN IN TATE MODERN? So the opening of the Tate Modern was the art event of the century. But there are a few problems, aren't there? "The Tate owns fewer than 700 pieces of international art - not all that many really. It wasn't created to be a museum of world art at all - in fact, at about the time that the Museum of Modern Art was being established in New York, the Tate was turning up its nose at the work of Gaudier-Brzeska, and didn't really start buying 20th-century international art until well after the Second World War. The consequence of this is that, although the Tate owns 38 Picassos, it also has enormous gaps in its collection." New Statesman 05/23/00

  • HEY - IT'S ONLY A BUILDING: "And the opening of Tate Modern. My reaction? Stunned. Literally stunned. Suddenly, London has become the greatest city the world has to offer, the city that is positively buzzing with energy and optimism and sheer in-your-face modernity." The Guardian 05/19/00

  • PLAY NICE AND SHARE: As the £134.5 million Tate Modern opened to wild acclaim last week, other London arts venues, including the South Bank Centre and Royal Opera House, have been struggling to meet development goals. Why isn’t the funding boom felt by all arts institutions alike? “The term 'arts community' is a callous misnomer. The performing arts, in Britain and most other places, are shackled by a stifling self-interest that prevents collaboration, communication and common decency.” The Telegraph 05/17/00

  • DOWN TO BUSINESS: Tate Modern opens to the public. The Art Newspaper 05/16/00

  • DISSENTING VIEW: So what's so great about the opening of the Tate Modern? "A coterie of celebrities celebrating their own celebrity in a palace largely paid for by the poor and largely dedicated to artists whom most of the public regards as imposters. Among the gullible plutocrats, aesthetes and vamps swilling champagne with Prime Minister Tony Blair and his courtiers, the only person there who could claim to represent popular taste (though, of course, she would never dream of doing so) was the Queen. Yet what strikes one first about the whole grotesque event is not its intellectual snobbery, but its philistinism; not art for art's sake, but vulgarity for vulgarity's sake." The Age (Melbourne) 05/15/00

  • DEFINING MOMENTS: The new Tate Modern has high ambitions about making us look at modern art in new ways. But what most visitors will be looking at first and foremost is the architecture. "Bankside is a defining moment for architecture. Just like Piano and Rogers's Pompidou Centre in the Seventies and James Stirling's Staatsgalerie in the Eighties, it will be the benchmark for gallery architecture for a decade." The Observer (London) 05/14/00

  • FABULOUS SPACE/ABSURD LAYOUT: The building's wonderful, but what the curators have done to the art... Sunday Times (London) 05/14/00

  • RENEWED FOCUS: Will the new Tate shift the focus of the artworld back on Britain? Philadelphia Inquirer 05/14/00

  • THE BRANDING BEGINS: The Tate's snazzy bookshop with all its souvenirs makes you think you're in a "sublime airport." The Observer 05/14/00 

  • DESTINATION LOCATION: The Tate's restaurant/bar has one of the best views in London. The Observer 05/14/00

  • THE STARS COME OUT: The Tate Modern opens with a powerhouse collection of high-wattage luminaries. The Guardian 05/12/00

  • ART CENTERPIECE: Britain's newest and brightest museum. The Independent 05/12/00

  • POWERHOUSE OPENING: A big night for London. The Telegraph 05/12/00

  • INAUGURATION OF A NEW QUEEN: London Times 05/12/00

  • MASTERVISION: "The old Bankside Power Station, a grim, unlovely brick hulk designed in the 1940s and outmoded and mostly unused by the 1980s, has been injected with a breathtaking dose of industrial chic by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron. Rarely have steel, concrete, rough-cut oak and glass looked so downright ethereal. The tonic effects of light and space seem to have guided the designers' hand." Los Angeles Times 05/12/00

  • THE ART OF ARCHITECTURE: "By weaving together the original brick structure and a more slippery aesthetic of transparent and translucent surfaces, it suggests a world of multiple realities. The feeling, as you walk through it, is of a culture that has finally settled comfortably into its own. Los Angeles Times 05/12/00

  • A BIG BUILDING: "People will go there even if they're not going to look at art." CBC 05/12/00

  • ART FOR ALL: The Queen cut the ribbon to officially open the Tate Modern to a gala crowd last night. Today the public gets it first look inside. Sydney Morning Herald 05/12/00

  • QUEEN ELIZABETH opens the eagerly-anticipated Tate Modern today. Gala parties to follow. BBC 05/11/00
  • THE GLOBAL MUSEUM SWEEPSTAKES: The cliche in art these days is that museums are the modern cathedrals. Who cares if there isn't enough art to go inside? Increasingly visitors come to experience the architecture - "an experiential encounter that competes with, and often dwarfs, our encounters with the art inside." Thus opens the new Tate Modern. LA Weekly 05/11/00
  • SUBJECTIVE OPINION: Instead of hanging art chronologically at the new Tate Modern, curators have taken a thematic approach, jumbling eras and ages to trace themes. The Art Newspaper 05/11/00 
  • GREAT AT THE TATE: "I've got complaints about Tate Modern - but because they perhaps have less to do with the museum than my own un-grooviness, I'll save them until later. Art is what counts; and the art at Tate Modern - much of it heaped up and hidden away until now in the vaults of the old Tate Gallery (now become Tate Britain) - is marvellously served." National Post (Canada) 05/11/00
  • ART CATHEDRAL: In the time of Frank Gehry, one may begin to think an innovative new museum requires an innovative new structure to house it. But the new Tate Modern has found its home in a reused power station that has been transformed into a work of art unto its own. “With one neat sidestep Sir Nicholas Serota avoided all the controversy that would inevitably have raged had he commissioned a new building. He picked a site which makes the most of that much-underused London asset, the Thames, and has a stunningly powerful relationship with St Paul's Cathedral.” The Telegraph 05/10/00

  • DANGER - 650,000 VOLTS: That pretty much describes the impact the new Tate Modern has. "We are trying both to create a museum of modern art and rethink what a museum of modern art is." San Francisco Chronicle 05/10/00

  • OR THE LATEST BEHEMOTH? “What are people going to say in 100 years about all these new museums for modern art that we're building, which seem to be getting almost as big as the Met?” New York Times 05/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

  • TIME WILL TELL: “Sinister, bleak and elitist? Or cool, beautiful and welcoming?” London’s new Tate Modern opens officially on Thursday, but three days of parties and lavish preview receptions - expected to draw 10,000 people - are already underway. And no one’s without an opinion on how the new gallery will or will not transform the city’s cultural life. The Telegraph 05/09/00  

  • "WATERSHED OF BRITISH CULTURAL LIFE": The big bold Tate Modern "signals the importance of the art of our times, and its centrality in our culture." The Guardian 05/09/00
  • THE FASCINATING TATE: "The intense interest in this latest Tate is not just to do with the fact that it has cost £134 million, is constructed within Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's monumental Bankside power station by the iconoclastic Swiss modernists Herzog and de Meuron; and is about to open with a gruelling round of celebrity parties. Nor is it just about the negotiation with a wealthy American collector, Kent Logan, over the possible gift of a chunk of his £100m Saatchi-esque stash of contemporary art. No: it is the fact that the collection on display has been, so to speak, jumbled up." Sunday Times 05/07/00
  • TAKING ON THE TATE: Among the building excitement about this week's opening of the new Tate Modern in London, not all the critics are enthusiastic. "Tate Modern is a graceless, gimmicky name for a building that is Britain's best example of fascist architecture, speaking in its modern abstract classicism of Hitler, Mussolini and Atatürk rather than the timid aspirations of Attlee in 1947, the year of its foundation." London Evening Standard 05/05/00
  • MUSEUM WITH A PLAN: London's new Tate Modern opens next week. "From the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, examples of museums promoting urban renewal are plentiful. But for the Tate this angle proved a useful marketing tool. Having picked the site for an annex, museum officials needed to raise $214 million to convert the abandoned power plant. And they understood that a museum that promised economic and social benefits to the city would be an easier sell than art for art's sake."  New York Times 05/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • ART CAPITAL: Modern London is bursting with museum openings this year. "There is a tremendous on-rush. Wherever you look, there are things happening," said Richard Cork, art critic for the Times of London. "It is incredibly important, particularly the Tate Modern. At last we've got the full-fledged museum of modern art in this country that we've needed for 50 years. Finally, Britain is taking modern art seriously." Los Angeles Times 04/30/00
  • STARS OF BASEL (AND LONDON): Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are architecture stars of the moment with this month's opening of London's new Tate Modern. "All famous architects have mighty egos, and Herzog is unusual only in the openness with which he displays his. If he weren't brilliant he would be insufferable, but it isn't unduly flattering to say that he is brilliant. His immodesty is also redeemed by a talent for collaboration with others, most notably his childhood friend and business partner de Meuron. Both are turning 50 this year. They are young - in the slow-moving world of architecture - to have got to their present status." London Evening Standard 04/29/00
  • MUSEUMS BUSTING OUT ALL OVER: London is bursting with new cultural venues - new museums, new art. It's a feast paid for with national lottery proceeds. "The Lottery is clearing out the musty nooks and attics of London's large and small art galleries and museums, and with them the crabby spooks of the curators, scholars and civil servants whose eccentric decisions were embedded in the buildings' fading fabric." London Evening Standard 04/21/00
  • TUT TUT TATE: The newly renamed Tate Britain aims to re-present British art thematically. Does it work? "The Tate, it seems, has fallen into the hands of experts, not in art, but in marketing and presentation, and the pun in representing, worn thin already, is thrust home in every printing of the word as Representing - how much did they pay the wit who thought of that?" London Evening Standard 04/19/00
  • THE POWER OF ART: Five years ago, a derelict power station on the south bank of the Thames fit right into its desolate surroundings. Now, £135 million later, the building has been transformed to house the new Tate Modern, one of the great modern art collections in the world. Sunday Telegraph 04/09/00
  • TICKET TO THE BIGS: Designing a major new museum has become the price of admission into the architectural big league. Now it's happening for Herzog & de Meuron. The Observer 04/09/00
  • THE TATE USED TO BE A MUSEUM: But with its makeover into the House of Britain, it's fallen down on the job, writes one critic. "Now it is a card table on which teams of spectacularly ignorant modern curators play snap with the nation's heritage. Here's a 17th-century portrait of a squat Englishman. Here's a 20th-century portrait of a squat English dog. They're both squat, so let's hang them together. Snap!" The Sunday Times 04/02/00





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