Living in London definitely isn’t cheap. But one of the best things about living in the city is all the amazing free and cultural attractions on your doorstep. I try and make the most of it and every weekend will plan something to enjoy in the city. As a fan of art and culture, I shockingly hadn’t yet visited the Tate Modern. Seeing such a sunny day outside and in search of a much needed walk, I headed outwards the Tate Modern.
Walking to the Tate Modern
Being lucky enough to live in Zone 1 means that although attractions in London certainly aren’t close together, I can walk to most places. With such beautiful weather despite a cold winter day, I set off from around St Paul’s Cathedral in search of the Tate Modern.
One of the attractions I wanted to find along the way is 10 Adams Street. Just off The Strand, it looks uncannily like 10 Downing Street, home to the country’s Prime Minister. The buildings, although around a kilometre apart, are even contemporaries, having been built around the late eighteenth century. A pretty cool spot to see!
We then walked along Southbank to the Tate Modern, taking in the sights around us. We past the Houses of Parliament and some beautiful views back across London’s skyline.
Not a bad walk for a Saturday afternoon!
The Art Collection
We finally reached the Tate Modern, a gallery jam packed with incredible contemporary art from around the world. What’s even better is that it’s totally free to visit. Here are some of my favourite artworks that we saw in the Tate Modern.
DeLuxe, Ellen Gallagher
DeLuxe is a piece of art composed of sixty separate prints, arranged in a pattern by Gallagher. The work consists of adverts from magazines dating from the 1930s to the 1970s aimed at African American consumers. Extracts been collaged, with all kinds of colours and textures. With the title DeLuxe, Gallagher draws ironically on the language of the advertisements in challenging their original intentions.
With actions like covering up models’ faces and cutting out eyes, Gallagher emphasises the complications of identity, particularly when it comes to race and gender. This ‘defacing’ mocks the ‘improvements’ of adverts, and highlights the role of hair in indicating difference.
Edward Ruscha is an American artist linked to the pop art movement. Now living in Culver City, California, I really love his bold works of art. The Tate Modern has an Artist Room devoted to Ruscha, boasting sixty years of his influential artwork. His artistic career began creating commercial graphics for an ad agency in Los Angeles, and you can see it in his work through to today.
Using bold type, Ruscha makes us expect an advertising slogan in his work. Instead, he creates strange or contradictory images. He often draws inspiration from his adopted hometown of Los Angeles with references and imagery featuring throughout. It’s such a cool and unique form of art.
Ruscha has painted a number of American flags throughout his career, with the latter paintings become more damaged. Reflecting the passing of time, it could also be a commentary on the political status of America.
It’s a wonderful exhibition that any contemporary art fans in London should go and visit.
Views from the Tate Modern
Perhaps the best attraction of all in the Tate Modern is the view it offers across the London skyline. The viewing level at the top of the Blavatnik Building boasts 360 degree views across the city.
Simply head up top to the open viewing terrace for drinks and snacks from the bar. Sip while you enjoy possibly the best view in London: across the River Thames, St Paul’s Cathedral, and even to Canary Wharf and Wembley Stadium.
Take it all in while you decide which is your favourite angle across the city.
Just when you think all the art is over, you’ll head back in for one more work of art, and one of my favourites. ‘Everything is going to be alright’ (Work No. 203) is spelt in neon lights, offering a reassuring message to all visitors to the gallery. A creation from the monumental year of 1999 by Martin Creed, it’s a few words of hope to help betray anxiety. It appears to be the same as another neon sign in my beloved Vancouver.
Even on your way down the stairs down the Tate Modern, you’ll find colour in every corner.
I headed back home over Southwark Bridge towards Hoxton and saw the most beautiful sunset on the way. A wonderful setting to a great day.
That’s a wrap on a wonderful day spent exploring the Tate Modern!
Have you visited the Tate Modern in London? Which are your favourite works of art? Let me know in the comments below.