Looking for a Matisse at the Tate Modern

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

Looking for a Matisse at the Tate Modern

Postby jasperjoffe » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:41 pm

Why does the Tate Modern put me in such a bad mood? Perhaps because out of 7 floors only 3 of them have art hanging on the walls, and even on those floors vast amounts of wall space are used for signage, information, general corridors, and cafes and shops. That's right 7 floorshttp://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/access-and-facilities/facilities 3 with some bits and pieces of art.

I went because I wanted to look at some modern art, Matisse particularly. I trekked around grumpily looking for something good to look at, there was a nice Joan Mitchell and a good Asger Jorn, but I was irritated by school kids endlessly taking photos of themselves with whirring beeping cameras and phones (all digital and therefore the noise is simulated and chosen) and the lack of great art, yes it's nice to show some minor artists who have been overlooked and fun for curators theses, but art needs masterpieces or it all just becomes so much stuff. I used to think art was decoration for rich people, and I suppose in the commercial gallery it is, but in this museum it becomes decoration for stupid people. It gives their wandering around reading signs and uploading self-portraits to facebook a veneer of cultural purpose.

Well guess what there was only one bloody Matisse on show, the god awful dull snail. There is no room for all these ones (admittedly minor but better than nothing): http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks?q=matisse Possibly a museum of modern art might put up some pictures on all the walls rather than reserving 70% of the space for family fun activities, t-shirt shops, and customer feedback desks.

Compare the National Gallery where you are overwhelmed by brilliant paintings in quietish beautiful rooms and you seem to walk straight into the art rather than wearily being funneled through retail. A museum has some responsibility to make available its collection and show people more than the tidy little theme spaces that Tate Modern does. Art first, other stuff after.

I wanted to pop into The Earl Of Sandwich on my way home, it was closed. :(
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