This spectacular renovation of a mid-20th-century power station is one of the most-visited museums of modern art in the world. Its great permanent collection, which starts in 1900 and ranges from Modern masters like Matisse to the most cutting-edge contemporary artists, is arranged thematically—Landscape, Still Life, and the Nude. Its blockbuster temporary exhibitions showcase the work of individual artists like Gaugin, Roy Lichtenstein, and Gerhard Richter.
vast Turbine Hall is a dramatic entrance point used to showcase big, audacious installations that tend to generate a lot of publicity. Past highlights include Olafur Eliasson's massive glowing sun and Carsten Holler's huge metal slides.
The Material Gestures galleries on Level 3 feature an impressive offering of post–World War II painting and sculpture. Room 7 contains a breathtaking collection of Rothkos and Monets; there are also paintings by Matisse, Pollock, and Picasso, and newer works from the likes of the sculptor Anish Kapoor.
Head to the Restaurant on Level 7 or the Espresso Bar on Level 3 for stunning vistas of the Thames. The view of St. Paul's from the Espresso Bar's balcony is one of the best in London.
An extension to the front of the building is not ony ambitious but also controversial—you won't be alone if you don't care for it.
Join one of the free, 45-minute guided tours. Each one covers a different gallery: Poetry and Dream at 11, Transformed Visions at noon, Structure and Clarity at 2, and Energy and Process at 3. No need to book; just show up in the appropriate room. Levels 2 and 3 include temporary exhibitions, for which there's usually a charge of around £15. Bypass these if you're just here to see the main collection, which is free. Look for the ever-changing video installations scattered throughout the building, often in semi-hidden alcoves and side rooms; some are ingenious exhibits in themselves. Make it a two-for-one art day by taking advantage of the Tate to Tate Boat, which takes visitors back and forth between Tate Britain and Tate Modern every 40 minutes. Private "Tate Tours for Two" can be booked online from £100 to £120, with afternoon tea for an additional £25 or a champagne dinner or lunch for an additional £100.
London, SE1 9TG, England
Apr 6, 2008
The collection is hit-or-miss as with most modern art museums, but the good stuff makes it well worth the visit. It's a little bit of a hike from the nearest Tube stops. Both this and the Tate across the river are free, too.