Thursday, 23 June 2016

Eff Off New Tate Modern

The new Shift Building connected to Tate Modern is underwhelming and disappointing. I expected young, unknown artists from less privileged backgrounds, and a host of new artworks I had never seen before, but I was met with the familiar "Stack" by Tony Cragg in Room 1, a white male artist who peaked in the 1980s in Britain  (I literally just googled "rubbishy cube of wood tate modern" to find out what that was called and it was the first option). So much for Shift's promise to push boundaries and widen their horizons..

I do understand that the new building features far more ethnic minorities and females in its rooms than the previous Tate, which is an improvement, but why is it all still so stagnant? The featured artists on the whole are not young, (some of them even dead) nor are they breaking any boundaries. I saw room after room of minimal sculpture, installation and video, but not one painting. (The Louise Bourgeois room being the exception.) Of course, the creative arts have moved further away from plastic practices such as drawing etc. but that doesn't mean no one does it any more- Without a single work that demonstrated technical skill or even the sign of a human hand, the pieces on exhibition were sterile and showed no sense of humanity, which is Not representative of the modern art world today. I felt shut-out and unconnected, so I decided to stop taking it seriously and added a note to the Comments board in their foyer.

I also wanted to mention the so-called "interactive" art downstairs in the Tanks, that were supposedly aimed at a direct connection with the visitors through performance and sculpture. Rasheed Araeen’s Zero to Infinity, for example, lay untouched in a perfectly-assembled square on the floor, as the audience silently stared at it. Nothing happened. The artwork's purpose was for its spectators to move it around and TOUCH it when it was first made, but when I took one step closer, a surly guard in a Tate uniform with a walky-talky told me to "stand back Miss".

I went into Tate yesterday excited and hopeful, with an open mind.. and there are of course lots of positive things to say- one of the fifth most visited museums in the world has decided to (slightly) widen its depiction of the art history canon by introducing more artists from overlooked groups ! Great.
But overall, I shouldn't have found so many things to be disappointed with.
I found the atmosphere uninspiring and intimidating, which I think is sort of depressing, as a young artist.

(The macaws that were supposed to be in this installation weren't even there.)