“ Tate is a family of galleries and operates on four sites in different parts of Britain: Tate Britain, located at Millbank, London, founded in 1897, Tate Modern, located at Bankside, London, opened on 12 May 2000, Tate Liverpool, located in the Albert Docks, Liverpool, which opened in 1988, Tate St Ives, located on Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, which opened in 1993. The Tate galleries house the national collection of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day, including the Turner Bequest, and the national collection of international modern art. „
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Tate Liverpool, one of the younger galleries in the Tate family, located on Albert Dock has become of one of the cultural hubs this year during the Capital of Culture celebrations with the first/largest British exhibition of Gustav Klimt artwork and a variety of open nights and activities for the whole family.
My last trip to the Tate was to see the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition, which needed to be paid for - the other floors of the Tate detailing a brief history of 20th Century art are free to access with a tactful (and obviously stylish) donations box. It was around 6.50, with concessions for students and the elderly though the Klimt exhibition costs more to enter so it may be priced according to how busy they expect it to be.
They provide lockers for bags (any bags over a certain size must be stowed away) which cost a pound (which you get back) and operate a cloakroom, toilets being easily accessed on any floor and there are stairs and lifts to each floor. The whole layout is very simple and airy, with attendents on each floor presumably to help with any enquires or issues.
The 20th Century floors had a mix of sculpture and paintings in various styles - surrealism, abstract, realism, romatic - with mini themes scattered throughout - nudes and sexuality led through cleverly to Andy Warhol's electric chair prints and so to more domestically based sculptures. A lot is skewed to modern work so it's possibly not a great place to go if you prefer more classical works of art.
On the first floor there is also a video room where they show videos of artists work, a children's activity room where kids can create artwork influenced by the current exhibtion and a resource room with art books and computers which lends a very informed and open feel to the whole thing - you might go there knowing very little about art but the Tate wants you to have the opportunity to learn as much as you want.
The second floor of the 20th Century exhibition left me a little cold and wasn't as memorable as the first with a series of white paiting and stone arrangements which made me understand why some people are disparaging about modern art in the first place! However, art is about creating debate and my partner liked things on this floor that I didn't and visa versa.
When we finally got to the exhibition, we were given a little guidebook with some history of the artist herself and roamed around. The exhibition was very chronologically driven and in this particular case, there was a strong development of skills and ideas that lent a visual wow factor to the whole layout. I felt that each medium was well represented and left the exhibition feeling saturated but not overwhelmed.
Afterwards, we stopped in the attached cafe which serves a variety of slightly exotic food mixed with good old-fashioned stuff, all ingredients being locally sourced of course. The waitress was very patient as we made our choices, opting for starters and fruit juice which came to about ten pounds overall. Nothing was over the seven pounds mark. My soup was piping hot and delicious and my partners meal was a little bland but satisfying.
As we left, we made the courtesy visit to the gift shop (you have to walk through there to get to the cafe, sneaky!) where we found everything a little overpriced (a trait it shares with FACT in Liverpool, actually) but a lot of the items would make great gifts for an art lover or budding artists you might know.
Overall, Tate Liverppol is great for a day out, not just on it's own merits but it's excellent location.