Tag Archives: Tate Modern

Urs Fischer at LA MOCA

LOL would kill to see the current Urs Fischer show – the Swiss artist’s first survey in the US - at LA MOCA .   Thankfully MOCAtv has posted an exhibition walk through with the show’s curator, Jessica Morgan from Tate Modern (above).   Not as good as being there of course, but a nice way to explore the show nonetheless.

A pile of seeds for the Tate

Ai Weiwei, 'Sunflower Seeds', 2010

The Tate has bought 8 million of Ai Weiwei’s ‘Sunflower Seeds’ with the assistance of the Art Fund.  The pile, that can be installed as either a flat square or conical pile (as above) contains just under a 10th of the total number used in the artist’s installation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall as part of the Unilever Series in 2010. While the cost of the work hasn’t been disclosed, 100 kilograms of the seeds were sold at Sotheby’s last year, with each seed from this sale fetching the equivalent of £3.50.


Yayoi Kusama is the subject of a major touring retrospective that opened last week at Tate Modern.  To mark the occasion, footage has been released from a forthcoming documentary about the artist. Kusama: Princess of Polka Dots is currently in post-production, with the directors aiming to launch the film this July to coincide with the exhibition’s arrival at the Whitney in New York.  To help make this a reality, you can make a donation to the project here.

Richter Painting

In 2009, German filmmaker Corinna Belz was granted access to Gerhard Richter’s two Cologne studios.  Her resulting documentary is a fly on the wall affair that captures the artist producing his signature abstract paintings, often with a giant ‘squeegee’-style implement.  In long takes, Richter’s creative process is revealed.  “There’s a physicality to Richter’s paintings” says Belz, “…I wanted the viewer to become immersed in the subtly suspenseful cycle of the process.”

The film coincides with the artist’s 80th birthday and Panorama, a retrospective at the Tate Modern.

Seeds For Sale

A pile of Ai Weiwei's 'Sunflower Seeds'

For the first time, a 100 kilogram pile of Ai Weiwei’s ceramic ‘Sunflower Seeds’ is up for auction at Sotheby’s, with an estimate of £80,000 – £120,000.  The seeds are said to be valued by weight, which makes the artist’s current installation at Tate Modern worth over £150 million.  If that’s not in your price range, you can try hunting for a single seed supposedly listed on Facebook for £1. Buy buy buy!

You can look but you can’t touch

Visitors view Ai Weiwei's 'Sunflower Seeds' from afar

Ai Weiwei’s installation Sunflower Seeds has re-opened at Tate Modern, but things have changed…  Following reports that tiny dust particles generated by the porcelain seeds could potentially cause respiratory problems in some visitors, the installation may now only be viewed from a distance.  Of course this changes the very nature of an installation that was conceived of as interactive and immersive. Now, from the ‘safety’ of cordoned off areas, visitors are offered a feel by seed-toting gallery attendants.  At least the Tate no longer has to worry about visitors pinching seeds

Ai Weiwei’s installation closed

Some of Ai Weiwei's 'toxic' seeds, Tate Modern

Sunflower Seeds, Ai Weiwei’s current installation at Tate Modern has closed unexpectedly.  Despite initial reports that the closure was due to routine maintenance, it has been suggested that there are health and safety concerns with the fine – reportedly toxic – dust that the ceramic seeds have generated.  The Tate is yet to release an official statement.

Ai Weiwei fills Tate with seeds

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has filled the Tate Modern’s turbine hall with 100 million ‘seeds’.  The grey expanse on first impression suggests industrial production when in fact, the objects have been hand-crafted and painted by artisans in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen.  Made of porcelain, each seed is unique. Visitors are invited to stroll upon them, to pick them up and examine them – but you can’t take one home.  The artist seems to be at odds with the Tate’s ruling, stating: “If I was in the audience I would definitely want to take a seed”.  Removed from the masses, each finely crafted object becomes a thing in itself, and it’s this tension between the combined and the singular that makes the installation so elegant.

The Unilever Series: Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds, Tate Modern, Bankside, London, until 2 May 2011.

New Director of Tate Modern announced

Chris Dercon, New Director of Tate Modern

Chris Dercon has been announced as the new Director of Tate Modern.  His previous positions include Programme Director at PS1, New York, Director of the Witte de With, Centre of Contemporary Art Rotterdam and Director of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam.  52 year old Dercon, who is currently Director of the Haus der Kunst, Munich, will replace former Tate Modern Director Vicente Todoli in Spring 2011.

Your very own Q&A with the Director of Tate Modern

What would you ask Tate Boss Sir Nicholas Serota if you had the chance?  To celebrate Tate Modern‘s 10th anniversary the director will be responding to questions from the public, that means you!   But think quick, submissions close tomorrow.  You can send yours here.