How To Sound Like You Know About Modern Art When You Visit The New Tate Modern

How To Sound Like You Know About Modern Art When You Visit The New Tate Modern

Fake it 'til you make it

InStyle HQ is literally a stone’s throw from Tate Modern on the banks of the Thames. Lucky us! Which means we’ve spent the last few years watching the new, amazing, twisted brick extension – Switch House - being built from the windows next to our desks. Even when it was a building site, they managed to make the scaffolding look cool, so we can’t wait to see the actual inside and all the brilliant modern art on offer now it's opened.

To celebrate (and to make us sound like we TOTALLY know what we’re talking about when it comes to modern art) we asked Matthew Gale, head of displays at Tate Modern and one of the key curators involved in the rehang and collections in the new building, for his must-sees at the gallery this summer.

For most visitors Saloua Raouda Choucair will be a new name, but her extraordinary and sustained production extended across the second half of the 20th century. Alert to the Islamic art she saw in her native Lebanon, she channelled that tradition into a reinvention of the abstract art she experienced in Paris.

Both delicate and robust, the shimmering surface of El Anatsui's Ink Splash II 2012 extends onto the floor, as if the blue has leaked out. Rather than the gestural painting that it resembles, however, the work is a quilt of metal bottle tops sewn together with copper wire.

Since they arrived at Tate in 1970, Mark Rothko's Seagram Murals have taken on a legendary status. For many, their balance of reds, maroons and black provide a spiritual experience. The veils of pigments are notoriously vulnerable to bright light - however the low light levels in which the paintings are shown enhances the contemplative atmosphere.

Louise Bourgeois was another artist with close links to Tate Modern, as she was the first person to be commissioned for the Turbine Hall in 2000. So it's entirely appropriate that her works should be celebrated in our new ARTIST ROOMS gallery. Her art manages to be both intensely autobiographical and universal in its concerns with the anxieties of everyday existence.

One of the most striking works to join the collection recently is Roni Horn's Pink Tons 2008. The title draws attention to the physical mass of the glass cube. The frosted sides diffuse the light so that the glass glows, while the clear top has a magnifying effect so that looking in is both fascinating and disorientating.

The Snail 1953 was made in Matisse's 'cut-out' technique. He had assistants paint sheets of paper into which he would cut with large tailors' scissors, allowing him to adjust the forms without the need to let paint dry. The freedom of this technique reached a high point with The Snail in which the spiralling planes suggest the shell without mimicking it.

After all that culture, you better head to one of these dreamy rooftop bars to cool down...

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