Monday, February 6, 2012

Gallery Visit - Tate Modern, National Gallery, & National Portrait Gallery

Hello again!  So, one of my goals is to visit more galleries in England and Europe since there is so much art here...well, about a week ago I went to a couple museums in London, starting with the Tate Modern!

From of the Tate Modern from the outside (same side as the Thames).
If you are interested in or appreciate modern art, I'd definitely recommend this museum.  I really had a good time here, especially since I've been to the SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) which has a similar permanent collection that really explores what modern art is. (I found the comparison between the collections of the two museums created a nice dialogue and comparison of modern art with either an American or European influence.)  The Tate Modern definitely provides a great array of modern artwork, and has lots of different floors and gallery spaces to explore.  However if you favor more traditional art...this may not be your cup of tea.  I've had lots of friends who aren't interested in art (or, at least modern art) that have not enjoyed this museum.  That being said - if you have any interest in modern art - it is a great museum.

Some highlights include...

A really cool wall-sized timeline of art from right right before the 1900s to a little into the early 2000s.

It also had lots of photographers featured throughout the timeline!

 Film Star by John Latham, 1960.

Mitch Epstein...didn't get the title of the series, but this photo was taken in California.
Baqari's Wife, Akram Zaatari, 1966(?).  There is actually a really sad story behind this...the woman in these photos took them without her husband's permission.  (Apparently she was not allowed to leave their house by herself.)  When he found out about the photo shoot, the husband asked the photographer to destroy the negatives, which he would only scratch, but not destroy.  She later murdered herself to escape her misery, which is when the husband returned to the photographer to ask for prints from her photo shoot.

Boris Mikhailov. These photos were taken in the Ukraine during and after the Soviet era.

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, Umberto Boccioni.  Part of the futurist movement.  One of the pieces I studied in my Western Art History class...was kind of excited to see it, even if I'm not a fan of this movement.

Didn't see the cross until I saw it from this angle and in-person, which really changes the meaning of the piece...definitely one of the pluses to seeing work in-person instead of in a textbook.
Clarinet and a Bottle of Rum on a Mantlepiece, Georges Braque, 1911.

Guerrilla Girls!

Laurie Simmons.

The Window, Pierre Bonnard, 1925.  Love this!

Installation in process!
We interrupt this artwork for a view from the 4 or 3 floor of the Tate Modern :)

Man Ray's Cadeau

Mountain Lake, Salvador Dali, 1938

Poor kid...death by art museum...

The Entire City, Max Ernst 1934.
Outside the Tate.

 I also went to the National Gallery and to the National Portrait Gallery.  I was originally going to try to make it to the Tate Britain, but due to lack of time and an interesting poster advertising a photography exhibit at the Portrait Gallery, the Tate Britain will have to wait for another day.  The National Gallery was amazing - the architecture alone was gorgeous and very ornate.  And the variety and vastness of their collection was amazing.  However, I was honestly a bit overwhelmed.  I do not have much background in studying paintings, so when I walked in, I didn't know where to start.  Luckily their rooms are organized  by time period, which really helped.  Regardless, due to my limited time and to feeling so overwhelmed, I spend most of my time in the more recent rooms, the 1800s and the 1900s, as well as with a couple of the rooms with Spanish art from the 1500-1600s as I am currently taking a class on Spanish art history.
I'd recommend this gallery to anyone who loves older, more traditional paintings.  For someone like me, what I did know and recognized, was amazing to see, but the rest was a bit much - I just didn't have the knowledge or historical background to appreciate it, unfortunately.  My loss, I'm sure.

I didn't spend too much time in the National Portrait Gallery either.  I spent most of my time at their photography exhibit, The Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize, which is only on until 12 February.  While not there, I spent the remainder of my time oodling over the different photography art and theory books they had for sale in their bookshop, and looking at their "Victorian" portrait collection - which included photographs of Charles Dickens.  I really should go back here if I have more time, but I will probably try to make it to some other museums and historical sights before I get the chance to go back.

The National Gallery!

Entrance way with columns.

Inside of the entrance to the gallery...this was taken before I got yelled at for taking photos.  I honestly didn't see any signs - I looked, but I think they were all blocked by other people since it was kind of crowded that day.


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures! It is sort of crazy they let you take pictures of the art, but very cool!

    Also, the one below the picture out the window makes me think of the cover of The Hunger Games. Which probably makes me seem very uncultured. Especially since I haven't even read those books. But I did read the book that those books are based on... So maybe that counts for something?

  2. Yeah, Tate Modern allowed photos, but the National Gallery & Portrait Gallery didn't, which makes sense.

    And yeah - I actually didn't make that connection when I saw the piece, but seeing it as a photo it does kind of look like the cover of those books!