Institutions in the Humanistic disciplines and Media: Galleries and the rise of the art market – Concentrating on the Tate Modern. ( UK )

The eye-popping success of the Tate Modern has threatened to overpower Tate Britain ( once the Tate Gallery. ) But, says Tate Director Nicholas Serota, Brit art was booming long earlier Hirst et al renewedLondon ‘s international position. ( Taken from The Timeout Guide to Tate Britain, Nov 2001. )

In his Foreword toTate Modern: The Handbook, Director Lars Nittve writes: every museum isunique ; Tate Modern ‘s individualism lies non merely in its aggregation or itslocation… but besides in its architecture.

Indeed, what wasonce known as the Tate Gallery has undergone a major overhaul.There are now four subdivisions: two in London ( one at Millbank ; the TateModern at Bankside ; one in St. Ives ; and one in Liverpool ) . Harmonizing toNittve, “ the Tate at Millbank used to be the large female parent ship, whereeverything sat-curators, disposal, preservation, etc. Now we ‘re traveling tosomething more like a federation. ”

This paper will takea close expression at the Tate Modern, foremost researching its remarkable history and itsarchitectural singularity. We will so concentrate on the wealth and assortment of itscollection, which is divided into four basic subjects: landscape, still life, history picture, and nudes. Finally, we will analyze the Tate Modern in thelarger model of modern-day art and media, taking note of its influence onthe UK art market, and mensurating its position in the international art universe.

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History of theTate Modern

Nicholas Serota wasappointed Director of the Tate at Millbank in 1988, and shortly after thisdecided to ship on a figure of alterations. In an effort to re-establishthe original architectural unity of the Millbank edifice, Serota decidedto take all marks of ruse. He decided to kill the false ceilingsand impermanent walls. He besides decided upon a major reorganization of thecollection.

Welcome as thesechanges may hold been, they besides brought to illume the fact that there wassimply non adequate infinite to implement all these alterations if the museum were toremain in its current scene. This finally led to the determination to spread out, amove which has had far-reaching effects in the art universe, non merely in the UKbut internationally.

The hunt for anew site finally led to the old Bankside Power Station. Originally designedand built after the Second World War, the Bankside Power Station was the workof Giles Gilbert Scott, a well-thought-of British designer. Scott besides designed the [ now defunct ] power station at Battersea, every bit good as the Liverpool AnglicanCathedral. He is best known, nevertheless, as the interior decorator of the one time ubiquitousred telephone box ( Craig-Martin, 14 ) .

MichaelCraig-Martin, one of the legal guardians assigned to look intoing possible sites forthe new Tate, notes that:

The Bankside edifice was noteworthy for itsplain ruddy brick outside and the powerfulsymmetry of its horizontal mass, bisected at the Centre by a singletall, square chimney. The edifice was articulated on three sides by aseries of immense, good elaborate Windowss. The lone ornament came fromthe brickwork battlement along the edifice ‘s edging, smartly mitigatingits great majority ( Craig-Martin, 14-15 ) .

The find ofthe Bankside Power Station opened up new views for the legal guardians of the newTate. First of all was the issue of size: the Bankside Power Station was largerthan any of them had imagined. Adjusting their outlooks to include such avast infinite opened up an wholly new position every bit good as a universe ofpossibility.

Second of all, they had assumed that they would be commissioning a trade name new buildingyet herewas the power station, fundamentally integral. They now had to see thepossibility that there would be no demand to level the bing edifice and startoverwhat if they were to work with the bing construction, and do alterations asneeded? This, clearly, would be a interruption from the manner things were traditionallydone. Thus, after sing the Bankside Power Station, the legal guardians ‘ vision ofwhat the new gallery could be began to alter, and their preconceived notionswere replaced by exciting new constructs ( Craig-Martin, 15 ) .

The being ofso many positive factors convinced the legal guardians that the Bankside site was thebest pick as the new site of the place of modern art. Not merely were thepossibilities were ask foring ; besides to be considered was the location, which wasideal ; the possibility of development ; and the involvement and support of thelocal authorities.

Location wascertainly a major consideration ; this London location boasted first-ratetransport installations, including the new tubing station at Southwark. In add-on, there was the possibility of a riverbank connexion with the Millbank gallery ( Craig-Martin, 15 ) . And the local Southwark Council wasted no clip inacknowledging the possible impact this could hold on the local community, anarea much in demand of a fiscal and industrial encouragement: The local council, Southwark, recognizing the possible impact of the Tate undertaking on developmentand employment in this mostly creaky country, enthusiastically supported it fromthe start ( Craig-Martin, 15 ) .


Resettlement to theBankside site meant opened up a wealth of chance for the Tate. Forstarters, the huge size of the edifice meant that the Tate would be able tomore than dual its capacity for demoing its aggregation every bit good as housingmajor large-scale impermanent exhibitions ( Craig-Martin, 15 ) . Beyond this, the possibilitiesseemed even more exciting: even after enlargement, there would be a huge expanseof untasted infinite, go forthing the possibilities for continued growing and capacityfor even greater acquisitions broad unfastened.

But inquiries ofhow to near and re-design this infinite still had to be sorted out. DirectorNicholas Serota enlisted the aid of Trustee Michael Craig-Martin andsculptor Bill Woodrow to see some of the newer museums of modern-day art onthe Continent, and to see them critically from our point of position asartists ( Craig-Martin, 17 ) . In this manner, Serota helped to outdo use the newspace, with an oculus on art, instead than architecture.

After sing anumber of modern museums, Martin and Woodrow found that for the most portion, modern museums better served the involvements of designers and architecture thanthose of art and creative persons. Clearly the involvements of art were non the primaryconsideration of those chosen to plan the infinite that would outdo show window it. Manyarchitects clearly considered planing a museum to be a premier chance forhigh-profile signature work. On the other manus few designers seemed genuinely tounderstand or be interested in the demands of art ( Craig-Martin, 17 ) .

They reportedthese findings to Serota and the other legal guardians, with the ultimate consequence thatthere was a displacement in the thought behind the architectural attack. Now,thecardinal concern of the design of the new edifice would be to turn to theneeds of art through the quality of the galleries and the scope ofopportunities, both sympathetic and ambitious, for demoing art. While seekingthe best possible architectural solution, we determined that the undertaking wouldbe art led non architecture led ( Craig-Martin, 17 ) .

The determination ofthe legal guardians was non a popular one in many circles. Architects in particularfelt deprived, seeing the determination merely in visible radiation of their ain potentialgrowthor deficiency thereof: Some, seeing this as the treachery of a uniquearchitectural chance for London, interpreted it as the consequence of a loss ofinstitutional nervus ( Craig-Martin, 17 ) .

Ultimately, Herzog & A ; de Meuron were selected to be the designers. They were the lone oneswhose design managed to maintain the edifice integral without doing major changesto its basic construction, to appreciate the beauty and value already built-in inthe bing construction: Herzog & A ; de Meuron ‘s was the lone proposal thatcompletely accepted the bing buildingits signifier, its stuffs and itsindustrial characteristicsand saw the solution to be the transmutation of thebuilding itself into an art gallery ( Craig-Martin, 17 ) .

Indeed, as pointedout byInsight Ushers:Tate Modern has captured the public’simagination in a rather unprecedented manner, both for its shows and itsbuilding, which establishes a brilliant presence on the South Bank ( 194 ) .

The Collection

Insight Guidesprovinces that the agreement of the aggregation makes it both moreaccessible to, and more popular with, the general populace ( 194 ) . Alternatively of achronology, the work is organized by a four offprint ( though admittedlyoverlapping ) subjects. The shows replace a individual historical history withmany different narratives of artistic activity and suggest their relationship tothe wider societal and cultural history of the 20Thursdayand early 21stcentury (Insight Guides194 ) .

The four themesare, fundamentally: landscape, still life, history picture, and nudes.

Within each ofthese wide subjects it is possible to research a rich sentence structure of purpose andstrategy, ( Blazwick & A ; Morris, 35 ) .


When one thinks oflandscapes, a assortment of scenes may come to mind: moving ridges crashing on a rockybeach ; a skyline of dark, endangering clouds ; skyscrapers silhouetted against asunset. As Blazwick & A ; Morris point out, the genre of landscape isprimarily understood as a representation of a natural or urban scene, whichmight be topographic, metaphoric or empyreal ( 35 ) . At the Tate Modern, nevertheless, the genre of landscape has been reconceived to include the zone of the fanciful, eldritch dreamscapes, symbolic visual images of anxiousness and desire ( Blazwick & A ; Morris, 35 ) .

As Jennifer Mundypoints out, landscape is an equivocal term and can hold several overlappingmeanings: much of its resonance derives from the frequently unsure boundarybetween nature and civilization, the aim and the subjective ( 42 ) . Thus alandscape may be a faithful rendition of the physical universe, such as the dreamymiddle-class countrysides of Impressionism. Or it may be symbolic rendering ofan interior landscape, such as the more vague plants of the Surrealists.

The Tate Modern’sLandscape aggregation attempts to reflect the scope and diverseness of this genre, while besides turn toing the complex menace of modern engineering. As Mundy notes, today the menace posed to the environment by modern engineering and the growthof the human population has made the natural landscape a topical, even pressing, capable for art ( 50 ) .

StillLife/Object/Real Life

Paul Moorhouseposits that among the many extremist developments in the ocular humanistic disciplines during thelast hundred old ages, one of the most important has been the extraordinarygrowth and transmutation of the genre known as still life ( 60 ) . By the periodof Cubism, still life no longer intend an apple on a home base, but instead thecomplexity of the relationship of the objects to each other and to the spectator: The inertness of such objects as a glass, a bottle, a pipe or a newspaperprovided a perfect vehicle for arousing the complex phenomenologicalrelationships between such artifacts, the environing infinite and the viewerperceiving them ( 62 ) .

The Tate Modern’scollection is a contemplation of the development of the signifier referred to as stilllife, and which today defies definition. Harmonizing to Moorhouse, this fusionof the existent and the symbolic has created the conditions for a remarkablevitality and diverseness in modern-day art ( 68 ) , a verve and diversityreflected in the Tate Modern ‘s ever-changing representations of the genre.


The construct ofhistory/memory/society is wide-ranging and ambitious, possibly intentionallyso. Public morality, political relations, political orientation, idealism and agony among otherthemes still preoccupy creative persons today remarks Jeremy Lewison ( 88 ) . The TateModern aggregation efforts to stand for these subjects as they are expressed inmodernity, while reflecting the continuum in which they needfully exist.Clearly this is an ambitious undertaking, sing the battalion of methods used toexpress and associate these constructs across the ages.

The survey ofhistory has descended to the micro degree, postulates Lewison, adding that it hasbeen, in a sense, democratised. History is no longer entirely the birthplace ofleaders and heroes ; it is instead, in the custodies of the common person. Theartists of today have followed a similar class, Lewison suggests, and, byemploying the same schemes, by opening themselves to techniques and conceptsderived from the human and societal scientific disciplines, creative persons today address issuesrelevant to modern-day life ( 88 ) .


Among the mostancient semisynthetic objects recognizable as belonging to the class that we callart are little bare human figures carved from rock or tusk postulates SimonWilson ( 96 ) . Clearly, as worlds we are obsessed with representations of thebody and this has been reflected throughout history.

The concluding decadesof the 20th century have seen singular alterations in the construct of thehuman organic structure. Significant progresss in engineering, combined with the elongated lifetimes of our population, have spurred a re-thinking of what the organic structure isindeed, at times it has seemed to go objectified. These alterations are of coursereflected in art.

As Wilson pointsout, during this clip period creative persons began to utilize their ain organic structure as theexpressive medium, ab initio making needfully passing plants in the formof what became known as Performance art ( 104 ) . This, in concurrence with useof assorted media such as movie, picture, and still picture taking, is all portion of theTate Modern ‘s programme in accurately capturing and stand foring this genre.

The Tate Modernand the International Art World

The success of theTate Modern may hold ab initio seemed to overshadow the Tate Britainhowever, aresponse like this certainly had to hold been expected. The choice of GilesGilbert Scott ‘s Bankside Power Station as its new place was itself a newsworthyevent. The subsequent pick of Herzog & A ; de Meuron as designers causedconsiderable bombilation in the art universe and the state at big. Therefore it issmall admiration that when it eventually opened its doors, the universe was indeeddazzled by the Tate Modern.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Tate Britain, writes in theForewardto Humphrey ‘s book:

the creative activity in 2000 of Tate Modern andTate Britain as typical entitieswith the Tate administration, were initial stairss towards the renaissanceof Millbank. Now, with many new galleries for shows andexhibitions, and with a future programme puting our aggregations withina overpluss of new contexts, national and international, our function here asthe universe ‘s Centre for the survey and enjoyment of British art may emergewith fresh lucidity…

There is, nevertheless, no uncertainty that the Tate Modern will play an influential function in the art world.It is alone in construct, as noted earlier, because it was carefully designedto run into the demands of the creative person, as opposed to those of the designer. AsCraig-Martin pointed out, while seeking the best possible architecturalsolution, we determined that the undertaking would be art led non architecture led ( 17 ) .

In add-on, thereis the simple, yet vitally of import issue of size and infinite entirely. Thediscovery of the Bankside Power Station opened up new views for the trusteesof the new Tate. Bankside Power Station was larger than any of them hadimagined, and the procedure of seting their outlooks to include such avast infinite opened up an wholly new position. . Not merely were thepossibilities were ask foring ; besides to be considered was the location, which wasideal ; the possibility of development ; and the involvement and support of thelocal authorities.

Beyond the merephysical belongingss such as architecture and size are the ways in which these attributesare utilised. The vision of the Tate Modern therefore far seems to be on the cuttingedge. The best museums of the hereafter will… seek to advance different modesand degrees of ‘interpretation ‘ by elusive appositions of ‘experience ‘ writesNicholas Serota. He farther asserts that the best museums will incorporate somerooms and works that will be fixed, the pole star around which the others willturn… in this manner we can anticipate to make a matrix of altering relationshipsto be explored by visitants harmonizing to their peculiar involvements andsensibilities ( 54-55 ) .

As Deuchar hassaid, we no longer take to associate a individual narration of British art andculture, but to research a web of narratives about art and about Britain, withour aggregations at its nucleus (Forewardto Humphreys ‘ book ) . And has Nittve has pointed out “ the Tate at Millbank used to bethe large female parent ship, where everything satcurators, disposal, preservation, etc. Now we ‘re traveling to something more like a federation ( Frankel ) .

The Tate Modern, thenecessary extension of this nucleus, may in fact be viewed as a pole star initself, at the head of the modern art scene, with a universe of illimitable potentialahead.

Reference List

Adams, Brooks, Lisa Jardine, MartinMaloney, Norman Rosenthal, and Richard Shone. 1997.Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection.London: Royal Academyof Arts.

Blazwick, Iwona and Frances Morris. 2000.Showing the Twentieth Century. InTate Modern: The Handbook,eds.Iwona Blazwick and Simon Wilson, pp. 28-39. Berkeley: Uracil of CA Press withTate Gallery Publishing Limited.

Craig-Martin, Michael. 2000. Towards TateModern. InTate Modern: The Handbook,explosive detection systems. Iwona Blazwick andSimon Wilsonpp. 12-23.Berkeley: Uracil of CA Press with TateGallery Publishing Limited.

Frankel, David. April 2000. Art Forum.

hypertext transfer protocol: //

Accessed May 26, 2005.

Humphreys, Richard. 2001.The TateBritain Companion to British Art.London: Tate


Insight Guides: Museums and Galleries ofLondon.2002. Basingstoke, Hants: GeoCenter InternationalLtd.

Lewison, Jeremy. 2000. History Memory/Society. InTate Modern: The Handbook,explosive detection systems. Iwona Blazwickand Simon Wilsonpp. 74-93. Berkeley: Uracil of CA Press, with TateGallery Publishing Limited.

Massey, Doreen. 2000. Bankside: International Local. InTate Modern: The Handbook,explosive detection systems. IwonaBlazwick and Simon Wilsonpp. 24-27.Berkeley: Uracil of CA Press with Tate Gallery Publishing Limited.

Moorhouse, Paul. Still Life/Object/RealLife. 2000. InTate Modern: The Handbook,explosive detection systems. Iwona Blazwickand Simon Wilsonpp. 58-73. Berkeley: Uracil of CA Press with TateGallery Publishing Limited.

Mundy, Jennifer. 2000.Landscape/Matter/Environment. InTate Modern: The Handbook,explosive detection systems. Iwona Blazwick and Simon Wilsonpp. 40-53.Berkeley: Uracil of CA Press with Tate Gallery Publishing Limited.

Serota, Nicholas. 1996.Experience orInterpretation: The Dilemma of Museums of Modern Art.WalterNeurath Memorial Lectures, London: Birkbeck College.

Shone, Richard. 1997. From ‘Freeze ‘ toHouse: 1988-94. InSensation: Young British

Artists from the Saatchi Collection.London: Royal Academy of Arts.

Wilson, David M. , erectile dysfunction. 1989.TheCollections of the British Museum.London: British MuseumPress.

Wilson, Simon. 2000. Nude/Action/Body. InTate Modern: The Handbook,explosive detection systems. Iwona Blazwick andSimon Wilsonpp. 94-107.Berkeley: Uracil of CA Press with Tate GalleryPublishing Limited.


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