London

Top Attractions

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Tate Modern London is located at Bankside in the heart of London, and is Britain’s International Gallery for Modern Art. Created in 2000, it is housed in the spectacularly converted disused Bankside Power Station, and is easily accessed on foot from the opposite side of the Thames via the Millennium Bridge. The collection ranges from the 1900’s up to the present day, with all the major modern art movements being represented it has proved to be a major attraction, not only to dedicated lovers of the modern arts, but also to the public as a whole.

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The original structure was designed as a power station by Giles Gilbert Scott, with the challenging task for the conversion from power station to art gallery being carried out by a Swiss company of architects, Herzog & de Meuron. Even with this huge space available, there is still not enough room to display all of the gallery’s collection at any one time, so for this reason, the displays are changed on a regular basis.

When the Gallery opened it was decided not to display the exhibits in a chronological order such as that used by the New York Museum of Modern Art, but to use a more thematic approach. This had an added advantage, for at the time there were a number of gaps in the collection and displaying works in a chronological order would only emphasise those gaps. The collection was displayed in four main groups on two floors of the building, so each group covered an area of approximately half of the floor space on that level. Periodically changes would be made, but remained within the overall theme for that particular group. 2006 saw the first major re-hang carried out by Tate Modern, and the emphasis was changed from using thematic groupings to focusing on the more pivotal moments of modern art.

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On show is a comprehensive display of modern international art. The gallery has a particularly fine collection representing the Surrealist movement with works by Dali, Magritte, and Miro. Such artists as Picasso and Matisse represent the Early Modernists. There are Abstract Expressionist works from Rothko and Pollock. But these are only the tip of the iceberg. No matter what your taste, you will find something here to thrill you.

Tate Modern is open to the public all year round with the exception of 24th, 25th, and 26th of December. Standard admission is free, but there are charges to see the temporary major exhibitions that occur throughout the year. As displays are changed on a regular basis, it is wise to check with the gallery first if you wish to see a particular work of art. Audio guides are available at a small charge, and are free to London Pass holders.

While most such venues offer cafe facilities these days, the restaurant, which is situated on the top floor of Tate Modern, deserves a special mention, as you would expect, it is open for both lunch and dinner, but the views from here alone is worth a visit. Another option, if the weather is good, is to bring a packed lunch and sit outside on one of the many seats available and enjoy the river views from there.

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