At a press conference yesterday, Tate director Nicholas Serota announced that the gallery had raised 70% of the £215m needed to fund the new extension at Tate Modern, and that the first phase of the project, located in the former power station's oil tanks, would open next summer.
The enormous concrete tanks, 30 metres wide, are located to the south-west of the building, and have been left unused since the station was decommissioned three decades ago; we had a poke around them a couple of years ago before construction work began. The East Tank will be used for installations, while the South Tank will host performance art, film, and debates; a third tank will remain sealed off from the public. Serota described the new gallery as "the most exciting new space for art in the world" but, at a time when the art world's axis teeters ever-eastward to the money-soaked Middle East and China, it's a boast that might not match reality.
The Oil Tanks, as the new area will be known, will open as part of the Cultural Olympiad next summer. The rest of the extension, which comprises a huge ziggurat, will be built above the Oil Tanks, and should be completed in 2016.