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We were visiting the City of Liverpool for a mini-break, and one of the places we really wanted to go to was the Tate museum. We have been to the one in London and enjoyed it, so thought as were staying very near to the Albert Dock area it was well worth a visit.
Entry to the Tate is free, although it is recommended that you donate £3 to keep it free for everyone. This is via an honesty box, and we were quite happy to put this amount in to see the works in there.
The first thing we needed to do was go and use the cloakroom facilities as you are not allowed to take large bags into the museum. There was a cloakroom with lockers that you pay for as well as an attendant in the basement. This was secure. There were also toilets down here, which were clean and at a convenient location. We also managed to pick up leaflets here for other attractions that we might want to see, some of which were not in Liverpool but gave us ideas for future trips. I liked that you could do that.
The ground floor had something to do with the Picasso exhibition (Peace and Freedom) that is currently going on. You had to pay extra for this section so we did not go in, and went straight up to the first floor. Here there were a selection of works in one big room. Some were by artists we knew like Salvador Dali, but the majority were by artists that are less famous. Some were interesting in terms of providing a historical record, but most of this work was what i would describe as a bit abstract and not my sort of thing. One was on the floor as you first went in - it consisted of lots of small bits of wood that were arranged in a large circle. I liked this but i don't feel this sort of thing requires that much talent compared to paintings. One item i really didn't like was a set of hubcaps from cars that had been crushed together to form a weird shape. Again, i think you could see this sort of thing in a scrapyard quite easily. I don't think i understand the motivation to do this type of work.
The bit that interested us most in this room was that the Museum had arranged for some of these works to be taken to different points around liverpool, and they had filmed what people thought about them. You could watch the videos of what they said. This is very interesting to me as i am greatly into people watching.
The next floor was equally modern and abstract, but over a few rooms. I liked this floor a lot better than the 1st floor, but my husband again was not that impressed. It had a piece of work by Antony Gormley which was basically a pile of toast that had been built around himself to leave the imprint of a body. The focus on this floor seemed to be words. There were a lot of pictures of print screens, and one room had an interactive poetry wall where you could take a magnetic word from a bag and arrange it on a wall to make sentences/poetry. There was also a notebook that visitors could record their thoughts and poetry in, and this was very interesting to look at.
Another weird feature to this floor was a display that was 2 televisions featuring a male actor on one screen and a female on the other screen both reading our the same scripts. The video was over an hour. We just caught the end of one loop and the start of the next. They start reading a set of words in a totally inanimate way, then as they read through each time they get more and more animated. I found this really a bit scary when the actors were shouting at the end of the loop. I wouldn't have wanted my young children to see it as it was very weird and also contained some profanities. The gallery had stated this at the door to the room, but not made clear it was spoken words. I would probably have assumed printed profanitites before i entered. I sat and watched this one for about 10 minutes as it did really intrigue me as you can hear it wherever you are in the room while looking at the other works so it seemed as though it got into my consciousness a bit and i couldn't move away from it. I don't think i would have stayed there an hour, but it caught my attention a lot.
The final floor was my favourite one. Again, it was in 2 rooms. The room we liked best was set up strangely. You got a guide book and a set of earphones as you went in. I didn't really read it properly before we went in, so kind of expected to hear something about the work as we went round. Instead, we were hit with Disco music on the setting i chose, and in the middle of the room is a huge dancefloor. I think they were wanting people to go and dance on it, but being British, we were all very reserved walking round.
This had sculptures on this floor again, and was mostly more traditional art that is the sort i see more purpose too. The first thing we saw was a very huge and realistic sculpture of a young girl in a swimming costume, which was again a bit scary.
It also showed a dwarf, and a couple of sadomasochistic poses (a woman in stockings who was in a weird postion on her back - a chair seat on her bottom and her legs acting as the chair back.) There were more works by Gormley where he had been wrapped in a cast in 3 different postions and then the work made into these black figures on the floor. They looked a sort of rubber material, and seemed a bit pointless to me.
I guess i like art when it is quite traditional, and i am not that fond at all when it is abstract and contemporary work. This collection is mostly of the latter. I had expected it to be more of a mix of the different styles like the Tate in London. I guess as it is a smaller building it isn't possible to house that diverse of a collection and that is why they have a floor dedicated to different temporary exhibitions.
If you have time to kill when you are in Liverpool, then it is a cultured way to kill an hour or two, but i can't imagine anyone being that wowed by the stuff that is in there. It was good that Art is so readily available and you can enter for free. I can't imagine i would want to go back on another visit to Liverpool unless they had a temporary exhibition that i really wanted to see.
Maybe it is me that is not cultured enough to appreciate it.
I certainly wouldn't have taken my kids there as they would have been pretty bored to be honest.
This is a hard review to write, but I feel that strongly about it that I think something should be said.
It was my birhday this week and my partner asked where I would like to go "Tate Liverpool " was the request, its somewhere I`ve really longed to go , I`ve been to London and spent a few days wandering the galleries so this was an extention to that.
Albert Dock where Tate is situated is a product of Liverpool winning the European Cultural award, lots of money has been spent and its a great place to be with plenty of places to eat, boutiques and scenery. A great setting for the Tate, I think you`ll agree.
On entering the Tate theres a reception desk , where you can buy the tickets for the Afro exhibition on the top floor. Entry to the other 3 floors is completely free.
Down to the basement is a cloakroom as bags over a certain size can not be taken inside.
Theres a recommended donation of £3 per peson for the upkeep, but you just put this in a big see through case if you want to .
On the ground floor at present there is a display by Mark Rothco called the Seagram Murels. There are 9 paintings in this collection covering the whole of the ground floor.
Can I firstly say I am not a professional artist, I use watercolours and paint Dali, landscapes or things that interest me. I personally see an artist as a person who spends time "shaping, cultivating" a work of art.
Mark Rothco is famous, why? its completely beyond me, the paintings probably 3 metres x 3 metres are a block of colour, (dark red) with a line painted on it, the lighting which the artist requested is dark. The walls have been painted grey as the artist requested.
I just dont get it. I expect to goto a museum to see a masterpiece, not a nursery picture. I can honestly say these comments were made by me and numerous other, and to the elderly lady who came in and said "theres nothing in here" you made my day.
On the 1st floor theres some exhibits which were not to my taste either I`m afraid. The displays were a mix of "a urinal" which has been designated as art, some old wooden draws. Some stones. A Dali which is unique and out of place, and a picasso which is also out of place. There are other items like a frame painted black, but nothing of note, it was so strange, I felt no effort had been put into these things.
The floor above was for sculptures and I`m not really one for sculptures but spent most of my brief visit there as I can appreciate the effort these people have put into these things.
I didnt see the Afro exhibition on the top floor, I felt that if the standard of exhibits on the other floors were any thing to go by, it wasnt for me.
I had looked forward to this trip fo a very long time and was so disappointed, I had booked a three day stay at a hotel just for this and I thought I had totally wasted my birthday .
The Tate is open
10.00 - 5.30 Tuesday to Sunday
But on Wednesday it opens at 10.30 because of staff training.
Tate has a gift shop and a cafe but I didnt use this, I went to NOSH which was just down the road. As the Tate didnt have a very large selection of meals.
One of the 4 Tate galleries across the UK (Tate Britain, Modern, St Ives being the others), Tate Liverpool is situated in the quaint Albert Dock, fifteen minutes from the city centre, and offers a range of free and ticketed exhibitions and activities as one of the best galleries around.
*Location and building*
Tate Liverpool is situated in one of the nicest areas of the city where the old Dock buildings have been renovated mostly into trendy new shops, bars and restaurants. Across the idyllic flat water of the dock, which artistically reflects the changing city, light and sky, are the grand orange pillars that stand outside the Tate; its open glass cafe doors and revolving gallery door. The building is comprised of 4 floors, the first containing a large reception area with reception desk and a range of seating, a shop leading into the cafe, the first small gallery area and access to a downstairs cloakroom and toilets. There is a lift which goes to all floors.
Above are 3 further gallery spaces, the first two devoted to a free exhibition (currently DLA Piper Series: This is Sculpture), and also containing space for family activities, and the top floor to a ticketed exhibition which costs around £7 per adult. Inside the building has a winding staircase, white walls and huge metal-framed windows, a perfect setting for the art inside. I often find myself staring at the views out of the windows as pieces of art in themselves. The exhibitions wind round nicely with partition walls, but the order and direction is not always easy to follow.
*Exhibitions and activities*
The exhibitions at the Tate are various and change about twice a year. Generally they display a range of artists' reflections on a particular theme (e.g. sculpture, colour, human nature) which are incredibly diverse, in media, style and concept, and thus have a brilliant interplay. This is better than most galleries which seem to display a batch lot of one artist, which can become a bit one-dimensional and is dependent a lot on taste (whether you like the artist or not).
In the downstairs gallery is usually a large installation across the back wall (currently Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #1136), along with some video stations showing how the work was made, or some performance art. This is just a small taste of what is to come. Currently on the second floor is a display of "sculpture", including bronze sculpting, holes in canvas sculpting and mechanical device-type sculpting. Artists range from the classically old to the frustrating contemporary and everything in between, including famous names such as Matisse, Picasso, Lowry in most collections. It is art that speaks (in literal words), stretches boundaries (a floor made of stone squares is one piece, which some were unsure was part of the exhibition), is mind-bending (a strange machine symbolising an orgasm), beautiful, direct, dark, obscure, fun, detailed, colourful... Everything can be found here.
On the 3rd floor was a tour of sculptures of men through time, accompanied bizarrely and brilliantly by headphones with disco music and a dance floor at the centre of the exhibition. It is gestures like this which make the Tate a new experience at every visit.
I have never participated in any activities, but a quick look on the website shows highlights as: The Colour Tent (a session for 13-25 year olds with live bands and artistic experiments), Lighting Lab (playing with shadows and coloured-light effects), and a live musical performance with a score fit to the current colourful exhibition on the first floor. All of these, and most other, activities are free. There are family 'Explorer' tours every Sunday, and lots of activities for kids.
*Shop and Cafe*
The shop is colourful and filled to the brim with books, postcards, toys and arty gifts. They have a brilliant range of specialist art books on specific artists, movements, architecture etc. and best of all some really fun and unusual toys for children, such as a funky colouring-in style book but which provides the starting points for their own imaginations (e.g. some heads and "make some funny faces", a mouse in a plane "what is the message in the trail?"), and I personally bought some 3D paper and glasses which makes your pictures pop out. Though more niche books and gifts are expensive, I picked up a small hardback on the complete works of Gaudi for £6.
The cafe is open over the morning and lunch and serves Paninis, salads, cakes, coffees and soup and I imagine would be good for tourists, though a little pricey (as most cafes at attractions are). They are very child-friendly - I often see families and babies having a good time in there . However, there are a couple of other cafes and sandwich shops on the Albert Dock to choose from instead.
Late at Tate: first Friday of every month, 6pm-10pm
I would recommend at least two hours to visit the free exhibitions and shop, or three for the paid exhibition as well.
The Tate is a wonderful experience, free for the most part, for families, students, tourists, artists, male chauvinists, Buddhists, dentists - I mean everyone! It is a great gallery for inspiration, with really friendly staff, and an asset to the Capital of Culture.
International modern and contemporary art.