Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, the Tate Modern is a repository of art from 1900 to the present. With thousands of items in their collection and over 5 million visitors per year, the Tate Modern is the second-largest art museum in the UK. As such, you can believe there are many interesting works to see from Warhol, Matisse, Picasso, Pollack, and more. Since art is subjective, many outlets out there have different ideas of what you should see at the museum, and we’re no different. Here are ten of our favorite pieces in the Tate Modern we think you should see and you can let us know what your favorites are in the comments.
Weeping Woman – Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso has a number of pieces in the Tate Modern, but one of the top works is the Weeping Woman. Picasso’s subject was Dora Maar, his lover and the painting itself is meant to represent of the many tragic victims of the Spanish Civil War, a conflict that cost the woman in the painting her child during the bombing of Guernica. Interestingly enough, this is one example of the blurring between subject and meaning, as Maar herself unable to have children.
Natalia Goncharova Exhibit
One of a handful of temporary exhibits currently at the Tate Modern, the museum is featuring the work of Russian avant-garde artist Natalia Goncharova. She gained fame in her movement in 1913 at the young age of 32 and pushed the envelope of what was allowed in art before World War I and the Russian Revolution changed the country’s fate. Until September 8th.
Marilyn Diptych – Andy Warhol
Warhol’s pop culture style of art made him one of the most famous artists of the 20th Century by helping the public realize that celebrities and mundane objects could also be art. By painting Marilyn Monroe over and over again until the star fades away, Warhol succeeds in reminding his audience that fame, as with life, is temporary.
Uncertainty of the Poet – Giorgio de Chirico
Certainly a strange painting on the surface, Giorgio was an avid fan of the Surrealists in his early days. His Uncertainty of the Poet contrasts the ancient with the fleeting, juxtaposing a statue of Aphrodite and stone archways with browning bananas and a passing train. The timeless and the temporary existing at once.
Seagram Murals – Mark Rothko
Perhaps the only work on this list to appear consistently in several similar pieces, the Seagram Murals were given birth after artist Mark Rothko left his job painting murals for New York restaurants. He went a little bit darker in the aftermath and created the Seagram Murals to reflect what he felt was the claustrophobic atmosphere of Michaelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence.
The Great Day of His Wrath – John Martin
Martin does a wonderful job of featuring a rolling, raging storm and volcanic eruptions that makes for this third picture in his apocalypse series. Based on the Revelation of St. John, it’s a terrifying depiction of God’s wrath in the final judgement, as cataclysms envelop the world. Despite its having been painted in the 19th Century, the painting apparently moves between this museum and the Tate.
The Snail – Henri Matisse
Matisse’s painting doesn’t really have as much to do with the little slimy critter except that Matisse attempted to put the colorful rectangles in a spiral shape that somewhat resembles a snail’s shell. The artist had help from his assistants as he was ill at the time and still dealing with a bitter separation from his wife. It’s a beautiful piece that reminds us that no negative circumstances can truly hold us down.
Number 14 – Jackson Pollock
If you want to have an idea of the joke Starlord made in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, you need to experience the abstract expressionist work of Jackson Pollock. While the black and white oil on canvas work may look like Pollock just through black paint on a white canvass,
Jenny Holzer Exhibit
American artist Jenny Holzer presents some great examples of thought-provoking exhibits. Her work can be found both on the streets of major cities and in museums including the Tate Modern, where she is currently featured in the Artists Rooms. Her performance art is meant to be mysterious, not beating you over the head with its meaning, but more for you to figure out.
Metamorphosis of Narcissus – Salvador Dali
Dali’s work is certainly some of the trippier pieces you’ll find in the Tate Modern, and the Metamorphosis of Narcissus allows the artist to put his own unique spin on the classic Greek myth. The painting depicts both Narcissus as he stares at his own reflection as well as his transformation into the narcissus flower. Interestingly enough, Narcissus before his transformation also appears in the background, a reminder of the man he once was.