The new Tate Modern will open to the public on Friday 17 June. The new Switch House building is designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, who also designed the original conversion of the Bankside Power Station in 2000. It is the most important new cultural building to open in Britain since the British Library. The world’s most popular gallery of modern and contemporary art is now even more international, diverse and engaging.
Tate’s collection of modern art has been completely transformed since Tate Modern first opened in 2000, in order to show that great art is made all over the world. As a result of a focused and intensive international acquisition programme over recent years, the collection is now far more diverse, including more photography, performance and film, as well as more work by women artists.
The completely re-hung free collection displays feature 800 works by over 300 artists from over 50 countries from Chile to India, Russia and Sudan to Thailand. The new displays tell a broader story of modern and contemporary art over the last 100 years. Seventy-five percent of the art on show has been acquired since Tate Modern first opened and half of the solo displays are dedicated to women artists. The works are displayed across the existing Boiler House and the newly built Switch House.
The Switch House increases the size of Tate Modern by 60% and offers a huge new variety of experiences for visitors. They range from the subterranean concrete Tanks, the first permanent museum spaces dedicated to live art, to new spaces for Learning and the magnificent panoramic public viewing terrace on Level 10, offering a completely new perspective on London. The Turbine Hall now becomes the central space of the museum.
Much-loved masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko and Henri Matisse, are joined by recent acquisitions from around the world which open out the history of modernism. These include 1930s photography by Lionel Wendt from Sri Lanka, 1950s collage by Benode Behari Mukherjee from India, and 1960s sculpture by Saloua Raouda Choucair from Lebanon. There are also major works of contemporary art, including a giant tower of 800 radios by Cildo Meireles from Brazil, a room full of human hair and car bumpers by Sheela Gowda from India, a tapestry of thousands of bottle tops by El Anatsui from Ghana and an immersive 8-screen film installation by Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Thailand.
The opening will be celebrated by free live performances, new commissions and a host of other special events. Three weeks of live art will animate the displays. This free programme, part of the BMW Tate Live partnership, includes work from Tate’s collection staged intermittently throughout the building, from Tania Bruguera’s police on horseback to Tino Sehgal’s gallery attendants bursting into song. The Tanks will host new performance commissions running every day from 17 June to 3 July 2016, highlighting the place of live art in the 21st century museum.
To celebrate the opening, the new Tate Modern will stay open until 22:00 each evening this weekend for a series of special events, supported by Uniqlo. The centrepiece will be a specially-commissioned choral work by artist Peter Liversidge, performed at 17:00 on Saturday 18 June by over 500 singers from community choirs across London. Free screenings of film and video works from Tate’s collection will be held throughout each day in the newly refurbished Starr Cinema, while special events for young people and families will take place across the weekend.
Digital technologies are now more fully integrated into the experience of Tate Modern than ever before, through an expansion of the Bloomberg Connects initiative. In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, who have supported Tate Modern since it first opened in 2000, Tate has created new interactive spaces and an innovative new app to bring the museum’s collection to wider audiences in new ways. These are joined by the Timeline of Modern Art touchscreen and the popular Digital Drawing Bar, as well as Tate Shots, the hugely successful online series of weekly short films.
Before the opening, 3,000 school children from across the UK, from Orkney to St Ives, will be the first members of the public to see the new Tate Modern at a special preview on Thursday 16 June 2016. Welcomed by artist Bob and Roberta Smith, they will get an exclusive opportunity to explore the displays and the new building, and be inspired by modern and contemporary art from around the world.
Later this year Tate will launch Tate Exchange, an ambitious ‘open experiment’ occupying an entire floor of the new Switch House building. Over 50 organisations will participate in Tate Modern’s creative process for the very first time, running events and projects on site and using art as a way of addressing wider issues in the world around us. The programme will bring together artists such as Guerrilla Girls and Tim Etchells alongside charities, community radio stations, universities and healthcare trusts.
The displays have been curated by the curatorial team at Tate Modern led by Frances Morris, Director; Matthew Gale, Head of Displays; Ann Coxon, Curator, Displays & International Art; Mark Godfrey, Senior Curator, International Art; Catherine Wood, Senior Curator, International Art (Performance); Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International Art (Film); and Simon Baker, Senior Curator, International Art (Photography).