Newest Review: ... and giving up, we eventually found the entrance and walked into the spectacular Turbine Hall. In hindsight (after finding the front of th... more
Its NOT Battersea, its in SOUTHWARK... d'oh
Tate Modern (London)
Member Name: norton501
Tate Modern (London)
Advantages: Spectacular building with fantastic collection- Monet, Picasso's.. awesome
Disadvantages: Other visitors taking flash photos etc.,
Recently, My husband and I took advantage of a free work excursion for a free day trip to London. We were dropped off at the London Eye (Waterloo station area) and our first port of call was going to be Tate Modern as we had worked out that was the closest of all the attractions we wanted to see from where we were dropped off. I had seen there is a POP Art exhibition on and I have always wanted to see the Jeff Koons Rabbit sculpture, so I was adamant we had to get to the Tate Modern to see it.
We bought a tube ticket and attempted to take the Jubilee line from Waterloo to Southwark station for the Tate Modern. We were duly informed by a tube announcement the ENTIRE Jubilee line was closed for the day (Saturday).
Having little knowledge of London (with hindsight we should have bought a map and a compass), we couldn't immediately think of how else to get from Waterloo to Southwark so decided to walk along the Thames Path from the London Eye. Part way along the walk we found a sign saying it is an 18mins walk from the London Eye to the Tate Modern (but gave us no indication of the correct direction- the Tate Modern on the diagram was to our right, we were walking in that direction, so we continued to walk).
An HOUR later... we found ourselves at BATTERSEA Power station- which we had assumed was the Tate Modern as the building looks kind of the same (ie an old power station). Exhausted after walking about 3 miles by this time and wondering why there were no people around... and growingly increasingly lost... we eventually saw a bus and realising we had spent an hour walking in the wrong direction, we took the bus to Southwark to try again to get to the Tate Modern.
Getting off the Bus at Southwark (we took the Liverpool Street bus from Battersea), we spotted a sign pointing towards the Tate Modern. So we followed it.... and found we were at the Tate Modern, but could not find the way in. We had walked towards the gallery and were at the back of the building- we found the Staff entrance then some contractors and building works and were a little frazzled and exhausted (by this point it was 2 hours after we had started trying to get to the Tate Modern). At the point of crying and giving up, we eventually found the entrance and walked into the spectacular Turbine Hall. In hindsight (after finding the front of the building by the Thames we did laugh at our earlier issues finding the way in as the entrance is HUGE and the gallery by the Thames has "Way In" all over it!).
As soon as you walk in, you find yourself inside a huge empty hall which seems to go up forever- the Turbine hall itself is just a sight to behold. Entrance to the Tate Modern and its Art collections is free- you will need tickets for special exhibitions.
We walked past the shop and took an escalator up to Level 3 where the POP Art exhibition is currently showing. The venue was busy, but not too busy. We got there at 2.30pm on Saturday and there was a queue of around 20 people at the Ticket desk just infront of the entrance to the secial exhibition we wanted to see. We queued for our tickets (£11.50 full price, £10 for concessions and job seekers for the exhibition) finding the ticket desk's computer and ticket printer was on the verge of crashing (just another thing after the day we had had so far!) and went in to the 12 roomed special exhibition. The guy on the door took our tickets off us leaving us with no exhibition souvenir-- just something to note if you like keeping your tickets. The tickets had no tear off section indicating to me they take everyone's tickets from them as there is no residual part for you to keep.
There were three rooms in this particular exhibition which were restricted to over 18's and I found you had to either physicaly go through a door with a "Warning for over 18s only" sign or the rooms were well signed with a Gallery Assistant sat on a chair to ensure no children go in to these areas.
Upon leaving the POP Art exhibition, we had a look around the shop on the same level (there was also a cafe section but we did not stop for anything) and decided to explore the rest of the gallery.
There are seven levels in total:
Ground floor: Large gallery shop, ticket desk, cloak rooms, research room, toilets
Level 2: Shop. Cafe, seminar room, small Gallery
Level 3: 20 rooms of free to look around gallery: currently: "Poetry & Dream" (De Chirico, Surrealism and Beyond, Francis Bacon, Picasso, Beuys, Realisms, Cornelia Parker etc). And "Material Gestures" (Francis Bacon, Anish Kapoor, Viennese Actionism, Expressionism, Gerhard Richter, Monet, Abstract Expressionism, Jackson Pollock...)
Level 4: Special Exhibitions (ie POP Art £11.50/£10 tickets)
Level 5: 23 rooms of free to look around gallery: currently showing "States of Flux" (Marcel Duchamp, Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism, Cubist Drawing, Paolozzi, POP, Jeff Koons, Warhol, Ed Ruscha) and "Energy and Process" (Richard Serra, Anselm Kiefer, Ana Mendieta, Landscape and Action etc).
Level 6: Members Room
Level 7: Cafe, Bar and "East Room" (this could be a members only room).
There are excalators, stairs and lifts for accessibility, there are toilets on all levels for visitors - the toilets are free to use.
We rushed around the gallery as we only had one afternoon in London and wanted to see the POP Art exhibition at the Tate Modern and visit some other major galleries, so we limited our time at the Tate Modern but could have EASILY spent all day there. People often say you could spend all day somewhere, but really- even if you have little knowledge of Art, there are artworks at the Tate Modern you will have seen on TV or on cards- there are several Picasso's, a Monet, a few Jackson Pollock pieces, there are pieces by Andy Warhol etc
There were a lot of people at the Gallery, but it catered well for a lot of visitors and there is plenty for everyone to do so not everyone there is trying to see the same thing at once or is in the same place at the same time- for example we saw several areas specifically designed for children with activities and colouring/ drawing materials.
There are lots of educational resources on site- on the ground floor there is a room where you can go in and read books about the artists featured and find out things. We saw people sat on the in the gallery rooms with watercolours actually painting or drawing. The Gallery caters for all ages and I did not see a single bored looking child- everyone seemed to be occupied with a work book or a notepad. There are free trails and guided tours and talks you can get involved with.
As with all Art Galleries- Photography is not allowed, Smoking and eating and drinks are not allowed in the gallery rooms and mobile phones are not allowed for the benefit of other guests.
There were a handful of people I saw taking photos with flash photograhy and one man in particular with a massive camera around his neck with loads of lenses looked dumbstruck when the Gallery attendants said "No photography please", totally ignored them and kept snapping away. I thought it was common knowledge photography is not allowed in galleries.... That was annoying as the man taking the photos was disturbing the other visitors with the bright flashes and the gallery attendants having to keep shouting "No Photography" broke the calm silence of people having a nice day walking around a gallery. If I had worked there, I would have taken the guy's camera off him. You can buy postcards of all the major exhibits in the shop priced at 60p.
Tate Boat: runs every 40 mins between Tate Modern and Tate Britain.
We tried to get to Southwark tube station but the jubilee line was closed.
You can also catch a bus to Southwark.
We learned the next time we visit London we really need a street map as well as a tube map.
The gallery is easily accessed directly across the Millenium Bridge from St Paul's Cathedral.
Sun- Thurs: 10am to 6pm.
Fri and Sat: 10am to 10pm
The gallery is open every day except 24, 25 and 26 December.
The Tate Shops (three in total) open 10am to 6pm daily.
More information can be obtained from:
www.tate.co.uk : there is a ink tab for the Tate Modern.
The information given above re the artists on show is valid up to January 2010.
I would recommend visiting the Tate Modern to anyone of any age irrespective of whether of not you like what you consider to be "Modern Art". It is not a room filled with pieces like you see on the News for the Turner Prize. It is a fantastic gallery with an amazing collection. I would never have exected to see a Monet or so many Picasso's there. Definitely worth going to!
Summary: Well well well well worth a visit. It is free unless you go to special exhibitions.
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