The Tate Modern Highlights Tour is led by arts journalist Rick Jones, Secretary of the Critics Circle.
The tour begins at what is currently the only entrance to Tate Modern – outside the glass doors at the west end of the building.
Bring an open mind.
Rick visits the big names in the gallery like Henri Matisse who created, on a vast scale, L’Escargot (the snail, above) in 1953 when he was too old to wield a paintbrush. It recalls the violent clashing colours of his ‘wild animal’ youth.
Pablo Picasso is well represented in the gallery. Here (above) is his Femme Nue dans un Fauteuil Rouge (nude in a red armchair) of 1932. It’s a portrait of his lover Marie-Therese Walter dressed only in a green necklace.
To the Dutch, there was first Rembrandt, second Van Gogh and third Piet Mondrian whose Composition C (above) painted in 1935, is the ultimate in abstract purity and is seen today on handbags and fabrics all over the world.
Jackson Pollock was a drug addict and an alcoholic who in 1941 expressed his wild inner turmoil in Birth (above). Critics described his talent as ‘volcanic…unpredictable….raw…undisciplined’ and put him on the cover of Time magazine.
Then came Pop Art in the 1950s inspired by advertising, comic books and strip cartoons. The massive dimensions of Roy Lichtenstein’s Whaam (above) make it an ironic statement on the bald excitement of war.
To some, the entire art movement of the twentieth century might as well be thrown down the toilet – which makes Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain (above) of 1917 strangely prophetic. All of these works and more you can see on Rick’s Tate Modern Tour every Wednesday at 2.30 pm until Easter (17 April 2022).
Short read: Greatest Show
on earth in London.
Long read: “Tate Modern, take one, was the ordinary made extraordinary… A few years on the strangeness was cranked up a notch, with the arrival of one of the most enigmatic buildings London has ever seen.” As for the art… Surreal, kinetic sculptures. A year collapsed into a document of only six minutes and four seconds. Behold 2009 (steel car bumpers and 4,000 metres of human hair). Bodily deformations to express heightened emotions (Picasso). Warhol’s self-portrait. An archive of misunderstandings, crises and ambivalences. Hommage à Chrysler Corp. 1957. Salvador Dali’s hallucinogenic imagery and Freudian confession. A dreary hotel corridor that’s the setting for an unnerving scene of unexplained events.
Let alone Bonnard, Matisse, Braque, Magritte, Mondrian, Moore, Pollock, Lichtenstein, Duchamp…..
Blue Badge Guide and Secretary of the Critics Circle, Rick knows the art, knows his way round the “enigmatic building” it’s folded into.
Translation read: 1) best possible introduction to a landmark building and art that is a series of flashpoints across the last century; 2) crash course in modern art (know your Dali from the Dali Llama).
TATE MODERN TOUR – THE PRACTICALS
To go on the Tate Modern Tour meet the distinguished arts critic Rick Jones – bears repeating, Rick’s the Secretary of the Critics Circle – outside the entrance of the Tate Modern. Said entrance is (currently) the only entrance to the Tate Modern. It’s the entrance that is fronted by glass doors at the west end of the building. Through those doors is the Turbine Hall – as entrances go, it’s surely the most spectacular one in London.