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I am a Philistine with a Capital P
Tate Modern (London)
Member Name: scotia1949
Tate Modern (London)
Date: 21/05/01, updated on 22/06/01 (43 review reads)
Advantages: stunning building, well laid out, terrific content
Disadvantages: shop prices
22 JUNE UPDATE AT END
When it comes to art I can take it or leave it, I never get too excited. Modern art I have always treated with disdain, I belong to the "you cannot call that art" brigade.
So, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I paid a visit to the Tate Modern. I had business in London, several hours until my train, and it was piddling down, and the Tate Modern is FREE.
What can I say, I was blown away. The place is breath taking. The building is colossal, you don't get many small power stations now do you? The idea of keeping the main turbine hall wide open so that you have a seven storey straight drop from the top level was great.
The whole place is stunning. Its so full of work which is effectively displayed in neat little galleries. Everything is properly explained, only in English mind you. However, our overseas guests are well catered for too with these neat little telephone gizmoes which you can hire. On most of the main exhibits there is a number, key it into your phone and out comes the data in your own language.
I particularly liked the full wall Liechtenstein painting and a fantastic grand piano, suspended upside down from the ceiling, whose insides spewed out every now and again.
At the moment there are permanent displays on only two floors, but it took me nearly two hours to go round one floor and I had to rush the other one in an hour. There is a third level which is also used for temporary exhibitions.
I want to go back. I feel I didn't have enough time to take it all in properly. I have been on the road to Damascus, I am converted. My only teensy weensy gripe is that although the entrance is free their shop prices are an absolute rip-off, but there again nobody is forcing you to buy anything.
Well, I finished before with "I want to go back". I now have been back and have taken my wife with me this time. She wo
rks for an Art College and this was the first time she had been. I found the experience even better the second time around, especially having somebody to discuss things with. We ran out of time and now she would like to go back again too. It really is that kind of place.
I do have one or two gripes, but not about the Tate Modern itself but about some of its surroundings. The Tate Modern has maximised its views with fantastic big windows where you can sit and look out over the Thames. It is also very accessible with that very handy Millennium Bridge popping up right at its front door. Oh, yes, I did say I had a gripe didn't I. When are they going to finish fixing that bridge, it must be a year now. Lots of folk visit the Tate but how many more would do so if the bridge was open. My other gripe is that a bit more could be made of the area around the gallery. Some of the paths to the front door were closed for no apparent reason and the Gallery is not very well signposted from the river bank. OK, as a local I know that it is the thing with a huge chimney, but tourists might not.
On this visit I also sampled the restaurant/cafe on the ground floor. This is actually quite expensive. The cheapest thing you can get for lunch is an egg sandwich at £2.75 but my wife and I had an excellent ciabatta sandwich at £4.25 each, which although expensive was filling and very good quality. A large Americano coffee was £2.50 and a 330ml bottle of London Pride was £2.75. They also put a "discretionary" service charge of 12.5% on the bill. So, my two sandwiches, beer and coffee came to just over £15. Having said that, the views are lovely, the service was excellent and the quality of the food was first rate. AND It costs you nothing to get in to the Gallery, so all told, think of it as a part of your day out.
In conclusion, we shall certainly be back again, you cannot do the place justice in one day. Go, and take a friend.
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