Don’t Hate Tate

Modern art is not something most people consider art, and that’s okay, everyone sees something else, but today, I too saw something else.

Tate modern does a very good job at bring England into the modern art era. I have been all around London this past week and a half, and “modern art” isn’t really what I would say London is known for, however Tate does a very good job at bringing modern art to London.

All the displays were carefully laid out and presented in a dramatic way that really lets viewers relate to the circumstances and the events that were taking place when the artist was making them. For instance, the Spanish civil war paintings and sculptures were all collected in one dimly lit room that really helps the viewer feel the horrible atmosphere that the painter or sculptor portrays in their work.

Each masterpiece, although it might be unclear to tell, had a symbolic meaning and purpose behind it. There was one that had a canvas nearly as long as the wall with what seemed to be strips of fabric across it. Upon further examination though, the canvas was covered in strips of high-pressure hoses and was made during the 1960s in America.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t get that at first, and I don’t think a lot of people give it the second glance like I did, but just this single piece alone sends a big message.

That message could be a bad message to some people though, and that is where Public Relations comes in. Each piece of art in Tate is sponsored by someone, and recently, the big controversy is BP sponsoring some of these pieces.

Although some of these pieces, like the ones mentioned above, involve social conflict, many works were concerned about natural causes, and human interaction. Mainly, they were centered around the idea that human interactions are disturbing natural forces.

BP does not exactly have the “cleanest” name when it comes to nature. However, by sponsoring displays, both Tate and BP benefit. The name BP and oil spills goes hand in hand, and is often the first thing we think of when we think of either of those two things, however, by sponsoring these displays, BP is trying to put up more than man-made disasters with it’s reputation by supporting art that says human interaction with nature is harmful. As for Tate, because of BP, they are able to bring more modern art to London.

Now, what if BP was bringing modern art to Los Angeles or New York? In those cities, modern art is not a rarity, therefore I do not believe it would get as much attention, but protests would still be made because BP sponsored it (I think that would happen anywhere.)

Knowing about these protest, and thinking about what it might be like in other cities didn’t really take a toll on my experience at the museum. I thought it might, and I even tried to think about it as I walked through the rooms and the halls, but my mind wouldn’t stay on that.

I didn’t walk through Tate thinking about the controversies with sponsors, instead, I thought about the controversies within the work. Each piece told a story, told history, told of motivation. Yet no one protesting is angered by those things, but instead by who allowed the piece to get there.

I looked at masterpieces today, and not a lot of people get to say that. I got to be confused by plants in triangular-shaped beds. I was able to be again puzzled by Joan Miro because despite studying him in Spanish IV, I still do not understand him. I looked a bloody flag on a pole and was moved. I watched an entire short film of blind people painting what they saw in their mind. And I was amazed.

I don’t know who else can say that who wasn’t at Tate today, and especially not anyone complaining about sponsorship of the artwork.

Keep modernizing London, soon, people will get it.



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