London's Top 10 : Tate Modern

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Affiliated with Tate Britain, London’s most exciting new gallery is housed within the old Bankside power station, on a prime riverside site opposite the City. Large enough for huge installations, its 88 galleries provide a light, airy space in which to display Tate’s collection of international modern art. This includes works by Dalí, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko and Warhol as well as work by many acclaimed contemporary artists. The displays are changed frequently.

  • Bankside SE1

  • 020 7887 8008


  • Open 10am–6pm Sun–Thu, 10am–10pm Fri–Sat

  • Closed 24–26 Dec

  • Free (admission charge for temporary exhibitions)

  • A boat service connects with Tate Britain

Gallery Guide

The main entrance is down a ramp into the huge Turbine Hall below ground level, on level 1, where the coat check, information and main shop are. You can also enter the gallery on the ground floor, level 2, by the Café or by the Millennium Bridge. The main themed galleries are on level 3 (material gestures; poetry and dream) and level 5, which includes a new learning zone. Temporary exhibitions are on level 4, and level 7 has a restaurant with great views of the Thames. As with many London galleries, Tate’s works of art are sometimes moved temporarily, loaned out or removed for restoration.

Bankside power station, now home to Tate Modern

There is a great view from the restaurant on level 7. The Café on level 2 overlooks the gardens. The Espresso Bar on level 4 has a riverside balcony.

With more than 10,000 titles, the Turbine Hall book-shop claims to be the largest art bookshop in London.

Daily events of cinema, video, talks and tours are advertised in the main hall.

Top 10 Exhibits
  1. The Snail

    This 1953 cutout is one of Henri Matisse’s (1869–1954) final works, completed whilst bed-ridden. The paper spirals represent a snail’s shell.

  2. The Acrobat and His Partner

    Fernand Léger (1881–1955) completed this painting in 1948, months before attending a Communist -sponsored peace congress. The circus is portrayed as a symbol of energy.

  3. Whaam!

    This 1963 painting by Roy Lichtenstein (1923–97) is based on an image from All American Men of War, published by DC Comics in 1962. He was inspired by comics or advertisements, presenting powerful scenes in an impersonal, detached way.

  4. Three Dancers

    Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was noted for the different painting styles he mastered as he pushed the boundaries of Modern Art. Three Dancers marks the beginning of a new major phase in his work.

  5. Coffee

    Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) frequently painted life at the dining table. In this 1915 canvas, the artist portrayed his wife Marthe sipping coffee with her pet dachshund by her side, suggesting an intimate domestic routine.

  6. Suicide

    This painting by George Grosz (1893–1959) reflects the artist’s disillusionment with German society especially during World War I.

  7. Summertime No. 9A

    The American Jackson Pollock (1912–56) was the pioneer of Action Painting. He carried out his first “drip” painting in 1947, pouring paint on to huge canvases on the floor. Summertime No. 9A dates from 1948.

  8. The Reckless Sleeper

    René Magritte (1898–1967) painted this work in 1928, during a period in which he explored Surrealism and Freudian symbolism. A man sleeps in an alcove above a dark sky and a tablet embedded with everyday objects, as if dreamed by the sleeper.

  9. Fish

    Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) created Fish in 1926. This sculpture presents a bronze “fish” on a polished disc above a wooden base. Brancusi was known for his ability to capture the essential qualities of his subjects in elementary, abstract forms.

  10. Spatial Concept “Waiting”

    The Italian-Argentine artist Lucio Fontana (1899–1968) began to cut canvases in 1959. Although these cuts were carefully premeditated, they were executed in an instant. In this work, Spatial Concept “Waiting”, the cut erupts from the surface, giving the impression of a gesture towards the viewer in a way that is at once both energetic and threatening.

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