You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Tate Museum’ tag.


More than 400 files are now on iTunes U – a section of the online store which features educational content.

Projects include a series of films that use social networking site Twitter to bring the audience’s questions directly to artists like David Hockney.

There are also recent interviews with contemporary artists including Jeff Koons and Louise Bourgeois.

Clips of Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed and his band performing at the Tate Modern are featured alongside debates about his work.

Audio recordings of leading academics, teaching resources and multimedia guides for the latest Tate exhibitions will also be made available.

The Tate has four galleries – two in London, one in Liverpool and one in St Ives, in Cornwall.



Modern art? Not a chance … My Bed, 1998, by Tracey Emin. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The first time someone accused me of hating modern art, I was confused. I love modern art, I replied. I revere Cézanne. I adore Matisse. It took a few minutes to understand that “modern art” in this conversation meant what I would call contemporary art, the art of today, as opposed to a type of art that evolved in the later 19th century and reached full self-awareness about a century ago, with the incendiary works of Picasso and the rivalrous responses of Matisse.

Modernism, I would have replied at the time, ended in about 1960. Now I’m not so sure. It seemed very naive and historically stupid, a few years ago, for people to be calling the work of, say, Antony Gormley or Tracey Emin “modern art”. It appeared to be an unfortunate educational side effect of the rebranding of the Tate. In calling a new museum with a strongly contemporary flavour “Tate Modern”, the world’s most influential art institution rode roughshod over definitions, categories, accuracy. How many times have I complained, “but it’s really Tate Post-Modern”. And yet, it no longer seems such a dumb or confused choice of words.

We live in modern times – again. Every generation thinks it does, of course. The new is always new. But these times are the most rapidly, unpredictably and promisingly molten since the 1900s when Picasso was creating cubism. At the time when modern art exploded into being, the world was visibly becoming a different place: electric light, the first powered flight, the motor car, the phonograph, radio, cinema … It was a moment of incredible excitement and possibility. Between, say, 1890 and 1914, the world became, in a word, modern.

Today, changes of comparable depth and grandeur are taking place. Modern life is becoming – well, more modern. We’re entering the science fiction age. New technologies are materialising and mutating with a speed that’s utterly exhilarating. I guess this is why I’ve given up hating what that person meant by “modern art”. In a world changing as fast as ours, you can’t really ask artists not to be excited by the endless metamorphoses of everything. We can no longer be cynical about modernity. Look at this blog, for instance. Here’s a new form, a new genre, a totally new understanding of being a critic.

Everything’s changing, and the changes promise … who knows. Perhaps a “post-human” future, a time of cyborgs. Again, that is how it looked to people a century ago, when Brancusi and Duchamp were creating images of the robotic and alien.

Art now is “modern”, perhaps even modernist. It’s certainly not postmodern any more. That definition really belongs to the 1980s, when the decline of socialism and fall of state communism created the illusion of a time after history. Some call these times “altermodern”, but I think the right word is, simply, modern. Artists are trying to respond to the new, the modern, in ways at once liberated and uneasy. It is a courageous moment, and at least, this time around, we have a tradition of the new to help us find our bearings.

So, I love modern art, 1907 – ?

Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones On Art Blog

Portrait from Roni Horn’s You Are The Weather. Courtesy the artist and Hauser and Wirth

On the west coast of Iceland, in a town called Stykkishólmur, there is an installation by the American artist Roni Horn. It’s in the community centre, and it’s called Library of Water. Hollow glass columns, as tall as the room itself, are filled with water drawn from different glaciers in Iceland. A customised floor is inscribed with words in Icelandic and English that describe weather, and also moods, which are one’s inner weather. The room overlooks the Arctic sea, so light is reflected around and between these columns of water, changing their appearance. Shapes loom and distort.

Anything to do with glacial ice, and molten ice, sets off an alarm in the modern mind. As ice from different glaciers becomes water and is caught in these columns, these columns become a “library”, a place of reference and memory. It would be simple, therefore, to read Library of Water as an environmental piece, but it’s not solely that.

A New Yorker now in her 50s, Horn has made repeated journeys to Iceland, sometimes for extended periods. There, amid the volatile geology, the hot springs and lava and sea, she has produced much of her work. She is greatly concerned with difference and sameness. Water changes state, weather changes everything. Is this the same as that? She writes: “the androgyny of my name had a deep influence on me … integrating difference is the basis of identity, not the exclusion of it. You are this and this and that.”

Library of Water remains in situ in Iceland, but Horn’s retrospective at Tate Modern, spanning 30 years, circulates the same themes of fluidity and mutability, now muted, now amplified. She loves materials, and works with glass, copper, gold, pure pigment; she takes photographs, and makes increasingly monumental drawings.

The columns of glacier water reminded me of the core samples that climate scientists drill out of the deep ice, which likewise function as a sort of library or memory, recording altered states and weathers, sometimes over many centuries. The first works in the Tate show are also columns that can be “read”. The White Dickinsons use lines from Emily Dickinson’s poems. Solid plastic letters are embedded in tall aluminium bars, which lean against the wall. The words are legible when seen from the front, but side-on they resemble layers, or something more binary, like a bar-code. The first one reads: “I give you a pear that was given me – would that it were a pair, but nature is penurious”. This announces another recurrent theme in Horn’s work: that of doubling and mirroring.

Things That Happen Again is an installation of two solid, gleaming copper cones. They are twins, but separated, each in a different room. You meet one; then, when you pass to the next room, you discover the other, so the first is already a memory before the next “happens again”. You can’t check by eye if they are identical. Sometimes double images are presented side by side, and you play a game of spot-the-difference. Sometimes a person’s face is twinned with a landscape. They seem to ask, “Where does difference, or sameness, reside?” You are the landscape; what you are depends on where you are. In one of the few emotionally charged pieces, two crinkled sheets of gold foil have been laid on the floor. This is gold as pure material, not fashioned into an adornment. One sheet is laid on top of the other, but not quite matching. The light trapped between the sheets is like liquid fire. And it’s private: we only get a glimpse. The piece is called Paired Gold Mats, for Ross and Felix. It was made in 1994, and named for two friends of the artist who were lovers, and who both died of Aids.


Kathleen Jamie