9 Things You Might Not Have Done In Tate Modern

By Zoe Craig Last edited 53 months ago
9 Things You Might Not Have Done In Tate Modern
Tate Modern. Photo by Sam Carpenter.

So, most Londoners have probably visited Tate Modern dozens of times.

Here are some new ways to look at London's most popular gallery of modern art.

1. Take a moment to admire that building

The Bankside Power Station, that now houses Tate Modern might look like a pretty permanent piece of London's skyline, but we nearly lost it once.

In the late 1980s, the proposed route for the Eurostar was quite different, with plans to knock down part of Peckham for the project. One of the ventilation shafts for the tunnel in these plans was to be located by the then-disused power station on the banks of the Thames.

Then there's the architect (David Chipperfield) who proposed taking down the power station's chimney when it was converted to an art gallery. Luckily, Nicholas Serota didn't agree to that one.

Tate Modern. Photo by Matt Brown.

Take a moment to admire the 4.2million bricks that make up the old power station; and the 99m (325 ft) high chimney, specifically built to be lower than the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral at 114m (375 ft).

2. Pontificate about the non-chronological displays

When Tate Modern opened in May 2000, its non-chronological display of art was considered something of a challenge. Not many art galleries were showing their collections in this way at the time.

Obviously, with Tate Modern's success, this has all now changed.

But it's still something to reflect on. Is this non-linear display because showing the art 'in order' would've shown off the weaknesses in the Tate's collection? Nicholas Serota seems to think so (£)...

But there are other arguments you can steal borrow from Nick S and declaim loudly as you potter around the place trying to sound clever. Here's an idea:

It was about establishing the relationship between the contemporary and the past that really motivated us to try and think of a new way of showing the collection.

Or, alternatively,

the fundamental reason was because we wanted to explore the new relationships between the present and the past.

3. Trace the crack of Shibboleth

Shibboleth was a temporary art installation placed by the Colombian artist Doris Salcedo in Tate's Turbine Hall in 2007.

Shibboleth. Photo by Edward Kimber.

The work, which was one long crack in the gallery's concrete floor, made something of an impression on most people that saw it.

In fact, it made even more of an impression on the gallery's floor, as if you look carefully, you can still see traces of the artwork (now filled in with cement) more than a decade later.

Can you see it? Photo, called 'Scarred' by Helen2006.

4. Spot Peregrine Falcons

Tate Modern's chimney has been a favourite perch for peregrine falcons since at least 2004.

The current pair, christened Amy and Sheldon by RSPB viewing site visitors in 2005 (fans of The Big Bang Theory, we're guessing), successfully raised three chicks in 2016.

You can spot the birds with help from experts from the RSPB near the Millennium Bridge throughout the summer months (daily from 14 July until 3 September, between 11am and 6pm or 7pm, depending on the birds, and the weather).

5. Download the Tate App

Take your art enjoyment to another level with the Tate app.

It's a fun, easy-to-use tool that uses your location in the gallery to enhance your experience in the gallery.

Tate's app.

We particularly like the additional artist and curator interviews available: you can either indulge while in the gallery itself, or extend your art appreciation on the bus home.

6. Munch on Tate chocolate

Did you know the Tate makes chocolate? And very nice it is too.

Tate chocolate.

Head to the Chocolate Shop on level 1 of the Boiler House, and you can indulge in hot chocolate, chocolate bars and gifts, all made in collaboration with Cacao Barry.

More Tate chocolate.

You can read more about the chocolatier responsible for making these gorgeous treats, Jack Bowden, here.

7. Indulge in some aural art

If you're exploring Tate with someone who loves music and sound / a teenager, why not try a Sonic Trail?

Tate Sonic Trail © Olivia Hemminway

Tate Modern's Sonic Trails have been designed by sound artists to offer a different kind of art inside the Tate's idiosyncratic building. There are two to choose from: Trace by Caleb Madden and A Wild Chase by Emiliano Zelada.

8. Take a Tour for Two

Dating an art lover?

These Tate Modern tours for two would make a great gift. You can choose between seeing highlights from the collection, or a special exhibition, and have an expert Tate Guide show you around the art. Lovely.

9. Put YOUR art on the wall

Ever looked at some of the more, er, abstract art in Tate Modern and thought 'I could do that'? Well, here's your chance.

Bloomberg Connects Drawing Bar © Tate Photography

Head to the Drawing Bar at Tate Modern, and doodle on the digital sketch pad. Perfect your masterpiece, and then project it onto the wall in the gallery. Fame and recognition, at last!

Last Updated 08 May 2017