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Tate Modern

  • Art
  • Bankside
  • price 0 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out Says

5 out of 5 stars

The Tate Modern is one of London - and the world’s - most iconic art galleries. As well as having an international collection of modern and contemporary artworks that few can beat, it's a historic piece of architecture worth visiting in its own right. It’s hard to imagine how empty London’s modern art scene must have been before this place opened, but we’re sure glad it did. Tate Modern is one of four Tate venues in the UK, and it welcomes a stonking 5 million visitors through its doors each year.

The gallery opened in 2000, making use of the old Bankside Power Station. The imposing structure on the banks of the Thames was designed after WWII by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the same architect behind Battersea Power Station. It was converted by Herzog & de Meuron, who returned to oversee a massive extension project. This started with the opening of the Tanks in 2012, and ended with the brand-new Switch House extension in 2016.

The twisted pyramid-like structure marked the most significant new opening of a cultural institution since the British Library on Euston Road. Like the rest of Tate Modern, it’s well worth having a gander at its super-stylish outside - but for the real treats, you need to head indoors. The Switch House gave Tate Modern an additional 60% of space, and they’ve used it wisely. Their international focus means their collection of over 800 works are by artists hailing from over 50 different countries. They’ve also tackled the gender debate in a much more pro-active way than most art galleries, with their solo displays split 50-50 between male and female artists.

Along with their permanent collection (featuring big names including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Barbara Hepworth), Tate Modern’s blockbuster temporary exhibitions never fail to pull in the crowds.


Tube: Southwark/Blackfriars
Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions
Opening hours:
Mon-Thu, Sat, Sun 10am-6pm; Fri 10am-10pm (last adm 45 mins before closing)
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What's On

Lubaina Himid review

  • 4 out of 5 stars

Lubaina Himid wants you to feel like an actor, a performer on the stage set of this exhibition. It’s a nice idea, but actors are fed lines to repeat, they play roles, they do as they’re directed. Instead, this show works best when it forces you to question, confront and undermine the ideas it presents, not perform them. Himid – Turner Prize-winner and one of the most quietly influential artists working in the UK today – helps you along with questions painted across the walls: ‘what does love sound like?’, ‘what are monuments for?’, and most importantly ‘we live in clothes, we live in buildings – do they fit us?’ It sets you up for an exhibition that makes you question, well, everything. Earlier paintings here show imaginary buildings that twist and morph impossibly, windows that look out onto geometric patterns, houses filled with simple furniture. It feels like Himid imagining what life would be like if she was her own architect, if she could build her own environment instead of living in one made by an uncaring society. There are jelly moulds covered in African fabric patterns and Black faces, a wagon painted with fish, a wave represented by undulating planks of wood: it’s Himid reshaping her world, and encouraging you to question yours. It’s brilliant, clever, vibrant and often very beautiful. It’s brilliant, clever, vibrant and often very beautiful Far less good are the sound installations dotted around the space. Do you need a voice reading out the word ‘blue’ in differ


  • Galleries

Soapbox is a peer-led art session for people near or beyond the age of 60 to meet up and engage with art through friendly discussion and debate. Joining Soapbox at Tate Modern will allow you to challenge your thinking and explore art with like-minded art lovers. Led by Penny Lumley, this session will invite you to contemplate how artists have approached the theme of suffering through diverse media.

Surrealism Beyond Borders

Forget your Dalis and your De Chiricos and your Magrittes, because the Tate is going deep on surrealism, bypassing all the megastars and exploring the outer reaches of the twentieth century's most popular art movement. This show is all about the way surrealism spread from Paris out across the world. So while you've got big names here, the real attraction is seeing what artists in Japan, Argentina, Egypt and Mexico were using surrealism to say. Ceci n'est pas un surrealism exhibition. 

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