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Part of the Tate group, the gallery was opened in 2000 in a former power station on the bank of the River Thames.
Originally the Tate collection was held at Millbank (now Tate Britain), but after the additions of Tate Liverpool in the 1980s and Tate St Ives in the 1990s, the decision was made to create a second London gallery specifically for modern and international art.
In 1995 Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron were appointed to convert the Bankside Power Station for this purpose; their vision was structured around the building's original features – a magnificent turbine hall of 35 metres high and 152 metres long, as well as a boiler house and central chimney.
The huge success of the gallery meant that by 2004 it was struggling to contain the numbers of people that wanted to visit. Plans to convert the adjoining switch house were once again masterminded by Herzog & De Meuron.
The new ten-story extension was completed in 2016, increasing the size of Tate Modern by 60 per cent. The gallery is now able to showcase more of its collection and offer dedicated spaces for performances of live art. It also boasts a viewing terrace with panoramic views across London.
The redevelopment means the Turbine Hall now lies at the heart of the museum, with the Boiler House and the Switch House to either side.
The collection was completely re-hung in 2016 as part of the Switch House extension project – 75 per cent of the art now on display was acquired since the gallery opened 2000.
While the gallery continues to represent the likes of Dalí, Magritte, Miró, Picasso, Mondrian and Matisse, it also showcases the results of its recent acquisition programme, which has focused on photography, performance and film, as well as the work of a broader range of international and female artists. The collection is shown in spaces across the Boiler and the Switch House.
Art Funded works
Anselm Kiefer's Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom is a giant image of Chairman Mao ensnared in a dense thicket of dead stems and dried roses, his arm raised in characteristic salutation. The ambiguous image can be read in many ways, and especially as a commentary on the authoritarian nature of Chinese politics.
Matisse's Portrait of Andre Derain is one of his early works. It dates from 1905, when the artists spent some months painting together in the French port of Collioure. The portrait's intense and emotional colour is characteristic of the Fauve style, which evolved out of their artistic experiments that summer.
The Artist Rooms collection of over 700 works was acquired for Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland in 2009, and is shown both in its own galleries and in touring displays around the UK.
The Tate Boat that travels between Tate Britain and Tate Modern every 40 minutes during opening hours, offering comprehensive views of the river that has inspired so much British art.
While each of the Tate's galleries offers its own café facilities, the restaurant at Tate Modern deserves special mention. Set up on the top floor the glass-fronted dining room offers seasonal British food at both lunch and dinner, with a spectacular view of London.