Tate Modern Tour: A Guided Crash Course

A converted power Victorian power station, sets the stage for one of the world’s richest collections of contemporary art
From US$510 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
Tate Modern
Photos & Highlights
  • Immerse yourself in the rich history of modern art as you trace its development from its 20th century origins
  • Led by an art historian or artist
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Tour Description
The Tate Modern is one of the best modern art museums in the world, also featuring some of the world's most innovative contemporary art exhibitions. Our Tate Modern Tour, led by an art historian or curator, is a rich, immersive experience for anyone looking to track the development of art throughout the modern age, from its origins in the early 20th centuries, through surrealism, postmodernism, and up to today.

Tate Modern Tour

We will begin by discussing the history of Tate Modern, particularly the conversion and opening of the gallery in a disused power station in 2000. We will also look into the history of the area, Southwark, and its historical associations with entertainment and industry. Once inside, we will spend some time in the Turbine Hall, which usually features a current installation, before moving into the permanent collection. As we move around the gallery, we will discuss Tate Modern's ground-breaking hang, which challenges the convention of displaying art chronologically and is instead organized around four wings, each of which is centered on a seminal artistic moment of the twentieth century.

A Thematic Approach

As we work our way through twentieth-century art we will discuss why certain styles and movements proliferated at this time and examine different artists and works in relation to not only the artistic tradition but also the socio-political climate of the period. We will begin with early challenges to traditional modes of painting, focusing on Cubism, which was pioneered by Picasso and Braque and which questioned the way in which we perceive things, alongside the works of the colorist Henri Matisse, who wanted his art to have the effect of a good armchair on a tired businessman. Tate Modern has one of the finest Surrealist collections in the world; in relation to works by Dali, Magritte, and Miro, we will discuss the beginnings of the movement in the 1920s, its attempts to produce an art of the unconscious, and its ability to question our ideas about reality. Giacometti's sculptures of slender figures will begin an inquiry into how the trauma of World War I and World War II affected modes of representing the human figure as well as the relationship between art and humanity.

Want to see another seminal London museum? Try our National Gallery Tour.

This Is Not a Pipe

We will also look at Marcel Duchamp's radical use of unconventional materials and ready-made objects in the early 1900s and his influence on mid-twentieth century artists such as Andy Warhol, who represents pop art and how it challenged consumer culture; Joseph Beuys, who represents conceptual art and its emphasis of idea over object; and Donald Judd, who represents minimalism and its strongly abstracted works using modern, industrial materials. Last but not least, we will examine works by contemporary practitioners, considering not only their context, but also their place in the trajectory of twentieth-century art.

Take Aways

At the end of our time together we will have a deeper understanding of 20th century art and the work of several practicing contemporary artists. 
Where You'll Start
(4.83) 64 Reviews

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Museum was great and so important to have an expert guide provide context, background etc
Apart from Alan's insights being thoughtful, deep and engaging on the subject matter, he relates the experience back to you - what you observed previously about something or an interest that you expressed. In short, it is the epitome of a personalized experience. As it turns out, Alan took my daughter and me on a personal tour of the British Museum back in '18 which made the Tate tour that much more enjoyable. Put simply, if you want to invest in a curated experience that will last well beyond your time at your actual destination, I cannot recommend Context in general - and Alan specifically - more highly.
Cindy did a great job storytelling about the Tate collection and helping us better understand and contextualize the works.

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