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Tuesday at the Tate: Modigliani and Bruce Nauman

You would think that the last Tuesday before Christmas would be a mad day to go to London to see some culture and explore some museums, but weirdly perhaps everyone else felt the same way and stayed home, or in fact more likely, the Tate Modern is one of the most underrated of the more central museums, because aside from the paid exhibitions people don’t know what’s there.


Well, I set out, little brother in tow, to stop all of this. First off, the Tate is not super close to a station so if you have access needs or hate walking then maybe you need to check out an alternative route, but the nearest tube station is Southwark, and it’s a 7 minute walk from there.

We spent lots of time in the Turbine Hall, which for the moment, until April 2nd 2018, has the Hyundai Commission inside (and also outside in the courtyard). The Danish subversive artists SUPERFLEX have called the instillation “One Two Three Swing!”as they have filled the hall with swings, that fit up to three people on, to show that swinging with two others is better than swinging alone. It was actually the most joyful sight, adults and children, friends, siblings and lovers queuing to get on swings and the noise of giggles from people enjoying themselves. Don’t forget to watch the giant pendulum on the ramp, it’s very fascinating.

We then went up to the Modigliani exhibition (only £8 with an Art Pass). The exhibition was a fascinating telling of his life and works, from Italy to Paris to Nice and the somewhat difficult times in between too. It was amazing to see his relationship with women, his art dealer and also with Picasso. Although he was never in Picasso’s inner circle, they did see each other lots, enough for Modigliani to paint Picasso’s portrait and to comment on Picasso’s lack of dress style…Modigliani was Italian after-all! Rooms of sketches, nudes, sculptures and stories, a fascinating exhibition all round, but the highlight for me was the film of Modigliani’s Paris from the 1908-1920 period. Using photos and real film footage it is put together beautifully, and although only about 3-4 minutes long, I felt like it wasn’t long enough and I could have stayed there all day just watching the loop! There was also the added bonus of a Virtual Reality guided tour of his studios, really incredibly well done, and worth the 10 minute queue for, with diaries, letters and art historians telling you about his studio and life. It was brilliant, even the specs of dust floating in the the sunlight from the crack in the windows, and the dripping ceiling into a bucket. So good!

We went from there to meander around the rest of the gallery, and it dawned on me that no one really pays much attention to the other works in the Tate Modern, so coming next week are 10 things to see at the Tate! What we did see was the ARTIST ROOMS: Bruce Nauman. A collection of his works, in all different mediums, combining humour and menace and a lot of neon. On until 20 August 2018 it’s well worth going to, and spending time in…if your brain will let you!

One thing I will point you to is that we made it up to the top of the Blavatnik Building to the viewing gallery, which was surprisingly empty, and had a 360 degree view of London in the sunset and it was breathtaking. Seriously remarkable. The fact that you can get that for free in London, and see so much is amazing.

All in all it was a great exhibition and one we would highly recommend seeing. Have a look at our what’s what at the Tate Modern.

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