on September 3, 2011
Even those with little or no interest in art, modern or otherwise, should make the effort visit the Tate Modern near Borough Market. Opened in 2000, this soaring museum is an architectural as much as an artistic wonder. Entry to the main galleries is free, with charged tickets for special exhibitions only. The museum was created from the skeleton of a disused power station and its soaring chimney tower and vast interior turbine hall are as much a part of the art as the exhibitions themselves. The power station was built between 1947 and 1963 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, also responsible for Battersea Power Station further up the river. He is also the designer of England’s famed red telephone boxes. Despite the efforts of erecting the power station with some 4.2 million individual bricks, other, cheaper methods of generating electricity were popularised and the Bankside Power Station was closed in 1981. Around the same time, the existing Tate Britain museum near Pimlico was beginning to expand and needed a new space and thus the seeds were sown to create the Tate Modern on the South Bank. The colossal turbine hall has welcomed ingenious installations by Anish Kapoor, Doris Salcedo and Ai Weiwei, all of which are free to the public. Elsewhere, past exhibitions of Miro, Gaugin and Rothko have been ticketed but it is possible to view (for free) the odd Picasso, Warhol, Rodin or Waterhouse on some of the upper floors.In addition to viewing the artwork, the views inside and out are notable. Viewing spaces into the turbine hall from the upper floors are impressive and from the café, visitors can access a small terrace with views of the Millennium Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral directly opposite.Visiting the museum and some of the surrounding attractions can easily take a day. Besides St. Paul’s, the Tate Modern is close to the Globe Theatre, Borough Market, London City Hall and the Tower of London. Despite being an art museum, the atmosphere is a lot less stuffy than most galleries and is therefore a more enjoyable experience for children too. If you check ahead on their website they detail upcoming family events and there is a family zone on level 3 which is open daily and free to visit.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009