Tate Modern review
If you were lousy at school then you did art. If you were lousy at art as well then they sat you down at the back of the class and got you going on some hand prints or potato prints, or those glitter pictures that your mother stuck on the fridge, and told you to make a painting for the Tate. Because that's where the Tate gets all their pictures from.
The best thing about the Tate Modern is the building itself and it wasn't so long ago that the big chimney was belching smoke over the dome of St. Paul's. We had Christopher Wren's cathedral on one side of the river and a coal-fired power station on the other. What a sight that must have been with.
The first five-or-so rooms are where they keep all the famous names: Magritte, Matisse, a few by Pablo Picasso, some surrealist stuff by Salvador Dali, Mark Rothko, Paul Klee, Degas, Braque... I don't mind looking at these because hey, they're famous, and who doesn't want to see a painting by Picasso? They've even got one of Claude Monet's water lily paintings, which seems a bit out place.
It's the kind of gallery where you stare at a blank wall and wonder whether it's supposed to be a piece of art. I'm walking from room to room past torn rags, worn carpets, bits of bent metal -- one of the artworks is literally just an empty urinal. The last time I came here they were displaying a mirror on the wall, now they've got a urinal. Next time they'll probably have the taps.
If you can't be faffed with all of that nonsense then you can always come for the view. Start by trying to find the 3rd floor balcony that overlooks the river. It's a shame they don't let you go up the chimney as well because the view would be fantastic from up there -- I know it must have a lift in it because I saw Tom Cruise ride it to the top in Mission Impossible (of course he was dangling from the bottom of it by his fingertips, but that's Tom Cruise for you).
The best view is from the outside balcony at the top of the Blavatnik Building (that angled brown building behind the main one), where you can look across the river to St. Paul's and the City. In fact, this is probably my favourite view of the City skyscrapers that you can get from anywhere (but One New Change is still better if you want a shot of St. Paul's). Unfortunately you can only see little bits of Parliament, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London because they're mostly blocked off by offices, but Canary Wharf looks good, and you can see all the way out to Alexandra Palace if you know where to look. The view from the Blavatnik Building almost makes the Tate worth visiting on its own.
Events at Tate Modern…
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|Art exhibitions in August|