Museum of the Year judges visit Tate Britain
- Tate Britain
- 21 May 2014
For the third stop of their tour, our judges visit Tate Britain in London, one of the six museums in the running to be named Museum of the Year 2014.
Tate Britain – a landmark building on the banks of the river Thames. It takes you through the most comprehensive tour of British art of any gallery: five hundred years of art either made by British artists, created in the UK, or about Britain.
A visit to this library of British art was the third stop on the judges’ tour of museums shortlisted for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014. Introductory talks by Tate Britain director Penelope Curtis, Tate National director Caroline Collier and director of learning Anna Cutler preceded a tour that took the judges through Tate Britain’s transformation. The major architectural redevelopment and collection re-hang were at the heart of the tour: Beautiful curved lines, wide-open spaces, monochrome tones and flashes of vibrant colour are the backdrop to an incredibly varied and gorgeously hung collection.
Chronology is key to the gallery’s regeneration, with Curtis emphasising the importance of a comprehensive survey of British art that showcases popular works while bringing out some of the lesser-known. Eight temporary ‘spotlight’ rooms punctuate the semi-permanence of the central hall, mostly drawing on works from Tate’s permanent collection. The spotlight displays give visitors the chance to experience works exploring individual artists and themes or highlighting new research undertaken by Tate – often drawing on the knowledge of external experts or Tate’s own team.
With Tate welcoming nearly 300,000 people through the learning doors each year, its purpose-created spaces need to be world-class, and the digital room in particular left the impression that those using it could have a totally immersive experience among the technology, the lights, the music, the darkness.
We ended the grand tour with more tea, questions, and the wish that this comprehensive and refreshingly straightforward walk through British art be seen by all.