I awoke Saturday morning at 8:30 which I consider to be rather early for a weekend but I was not about to waste my first free day in London sleeping when the world was beckoning to be explored. I was out of the hotel by 9 AM and began my slow walk through the city with my course plotted and destination set. I had been longing to visit the Tate Modern ever since my first visit to London when time would not allow for that to happen. I grabbed my fougasse fromage from a local boulangerie along the way and crossed the Thames to the museum.
I arrived about 30 minutes before the gates were set to rise and allow the crowds in so I took my time enjoying the area in front of the entrance. The dome of Saint Paul’s Cathedral rose majestically over the apex of the Millennium Bridge creating the juxtaposition of old and new mingled together that seems as ubiquitous in London as yellow cabs are in NYC. Large groves of birch trees were thoughtfully planted to offset the concrete of the entire surrounding area. No sooner had the chimes from the cathedral begun to sound to mark the hour when the guard flipped the switch and the gates rolled back allowing the steadily increasing crowds to enter.
Upon entering I stood mouth agape in the main hall of the museum. The magnitude of the main hall makes quite an impression as you stand feeling so small in the vast empty space. Without knowing the purpose of what the architects were trying to accomplish I’d say it was to impress upon you the weight of the empty space so that your mind could appreciate the art and feel the emotion of the art being created ex nihilo from nothing but the minds of the artists. The museum is like a large 7-layer sheet cake with the hall being the missing half that has been cut away giving you a cross section view of the galleries making up the layers of the other half of the cake.
Each floor presented a different theme of painting, photographs, sculpture and other non traditional art using alternative mediums and materials. There were many pieces from Picasso, Dali, Pollock and Matisse. My favorites are shown in the photographs below each speaking to me for a different reason. I particularly enjoyed the photograph of the woman reflected in the pane of glass as the world passes around her. It wasn’t so much the photograph itself but the fact that I could add my own reflection in my picture allowing me to become part of the art.
My experience visiting the Tate Modern was worth the wait. Not everyone enjoys modern art and even some modern art can be a bit too abstract for me yet I found the galleries to have a compelling collection of pieces. It is a comfortable sized museum too which is great for those like me who easily get museum fatigue. As the Brits would say it was a “brilliant” way to start my Saturday.