An abandoned power station on the banks of the Thames is the ideal home for Britain’s national gallery of modern art.
The Tate Modern presents the established giants of modern art as well as the new vanguard. It occupies the abandoned Bankside Power Station, which was stylishly redesigned in 2000 by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron.
Walk through the Tate Modern’s entrance into the spacious Turbine Hall, which runs the building’s entire length. Now gutted of machinery, the space houses grand-scale temporary exhibits, which often shock and awe. Past the power station’s boiling chambers, the permanent collection has priceless pieces by Matisse, Dali, Picasso and other giants from impressionism to surrealism.
Explore the building’s four wings housing works of the 20th century up to today. The wings are organized according to theme rather than period. In 2012, Tate Modern completed a glass tower dedicated to photography, video and graphical art. Be sure to check the ever-changing program for The Tanks on 0 level. These cavernous former oil storage tanks are extraordinary spaces in themselves and now showcase performance art and events.
Visited by four million people each year, the Tate Modern is one of the most popular modern art galleries in the world. Its growing prominence and sometimes controversial exhibits are popular with all ages, even those not interested in traditional art.
While modern art can sometimes be challenging to fully understand, the Tate Modern endeavors to make its collections and exhibits accessible. Join one of the 45-minute guided tours for an even deeper appreciation of the collection. And don’t forget to write down the numbers of pieces you particularly love, as postcards and prints are available from one of the three gallery shops.
Take a break from the exhibits and head to the riverside café or the restaurant on level 6, which has terrific views of London. Should you feel inspired to see even more art, jump aboard the Tate to Tate boat for the upriver cruise to the Tate Modern’s sister gallery, Tate Britain.
Tate Modern is located in the center of London, near many other attractions. It’s open daily. Admission is free except for special exhibitions. The Southwark tube station is a short walk away.