Curators’ tour of the new Tate Modern

Staff from across the Tate Modern, including its director, Frances Morris, provided mini guided tours of its new and rehung galleries during the Uniqlo-sponsored relaunch weekend in June. Since then more than one million visitors have experienced the expanded gallery on London's Bankside. It passed that milestone on 19 July. With a weaker pound pre-Brexit making London more attractive than ever for foreign tourists, Tate Modern could attract more than 6 million visitors over the next 12 months.
We asked three Tate curators to choose works or aspects of the 260m, Herzog & de Meuron-designed new wing that they are particularly proud to see open to the public. 

Catherine Wood
Senior curator, international art (performance)
As part of our BMW Tate Live programme, weve chosen to showcase five performances that the museum has been pioneering in acquiring over the past decade. Like other works by Tino Sehgal, Roman Ondk and Amalia Pica, Tania Brugueras Tatlins Whisper #5 (2008) consists of a score for action, in this case two policemen or women on horseback, who perform crowd-control exercises to no specific end. Their power and authority is exerted as a pure form, and people comply with this militarised choreography. The way in which the horses are able to enter the new building from the riverside walkway, perform their exercises on the Turbine Hall mezzanine and exit through the new south doors at the back is emblematic of the way that the new building, like Brugueras art, connects to the street. The flow of visitors coming in and encountering works like hers without a filter or frame has been fascinating to witness.

Achim Borchardt-Hume
Director of exhibitions
The brick curtain that envelops Herzog & de Meurons building is emblematic of what most excites me about the new Tate Modern: a museum that is open to its immediate neighbourhood as much as to the city and the world at large. At the same time, it creates a place shielded from many of the pressures of contemporary lifea place for discussion, dialogue and the exchange of ideas. Most importantly, it welcomes visitors to experience many different forms of art. Rather than an ivory tower, the new Tate Modern is a truly public space, celebrating difference and creativity in its many expressions.

Matthew Gale
Head of displays
One of the rooms that typifies Tate Moderns international approach is The Disappearing Figure on level 2 of the Boiler House. It addresses the hopes and anxieties of the nuclear age of the 1950s. The relationship between Germaine Richiers Chessboard (Large Version) (1959) and Ibrahim El-Salahis Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I (1961-65) summarises the reassessment of relatively overlooked works. Richiers colourful hybrid figures suggest the attrition of the recent conflict in Europe, while El-Salahis painting, also peopled by stylised figures, comes from a rich creative moment in which the artist was instrumental in forging a national style for the newly independent Sudan. From different perspectives, they address the deeper question of how to continue to make art in an age of violent transformation.

Artists divided over Rio Olympic Games

Mariko Mori’s Ring: One With Nature (2016), commissioned for the Olympic Games. Courtesy Faou Foundation
As Brazils second largest city prepares to host the Olympic Games, which open this week, Rio de Janeiro's economic woes have forced the federal government to provide additional funding for the games. The countrys uncertain situation is reflected in the reactions of artists from Brazil and abroad, who have come out both in support of and against the games.

It is rather unfortunate that the Olympics are happening now, said Adriana Varejo, a local artist who was commissioned by the Olympic committee to cover the outer walls of its aquatics facilities with a photographic reproduction of her mural Celacanto Provoca Maremoto (coelacanth causes tsunami, 2004-08). Speaking to The Art Newspaper in June, Varejo said there is still "a positive side" to the event. Athletes are coming from all over the world for this, and I want to welcome them to my city with this work.

The Japanese artist Mariko Mori is also optimistic. I believe that art could embrace the positivity and the creative force in building a bright future. Her installation, a ring suspended above a waterfall, just over an hours drive from Rio de Janeiro, changes colour from gold to blue.

Those critical of the games have staged an exhibition to highlight how much Rio has suffered to host them. Permanncias e Destruies (permanence and destruction), organised by Joo Paulo Quintella, has works installed in an abandoned tower designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Sculptures there address the environmental disaster caused by the rapid development of the area where the games are being held.

What summer slowdown? Seattle Art Fair expands

Seattle Art Fair: more than 20 newcomers are joining the mix for the event’s second edition this year. Photo courtesy of Seattle Art Fair
Against the grain of the art markets traditional summer slowdown, the Seattle Art Fair is growing after a successful launch last year. Forty-six newcomers, including New Yorks Pace/MacGill and Marlborough galleries, are among more than 80 exhibitors (up from 62) participating in the second edition this August. Founded by the billionaire Paul Allen, the Seattle-born co-founder of Microsoft, the fair aims to nurture the budding collector base in the region, says its director, Max Fishko. We plan to make it a magnet for collectors from the Pacific Rim and from around the US.

The exhibitor list is suitably mixed, with 34 galleries from the West Coast, 27 from the East Coast, six from the central US and 18 international galleries. The New York- and London-based David Zwirner, New Yorks Pace and the local dealer Mariane Ibrahim are among the 35 exhibitors returning, motivated by the enthusiastic response and strong sales last year says Elizabeth Sullivan, the president of Pace Palo Alto. 

We did really well in the inaugural edition, and expect the fair to build on that momentum this year, says Eric Gleason, the director of Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York. The gallery is bringing a new installation by the US artist Roxy Paine, Experiment (2016), which refers to the CIAs psychoactive experiments in the 1960s, as well as works by Robert Motherwell, Bernar Venet and Ivn Navarro.

We have fine hopes for our first year, says Doug McClemont, the director of Marlborough in New York. The gallery will show a new installation by the Seattle-based glass artist Dale Chihuly, who founded the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum in 2012 next to the citys landmark Space Needle. The artist already has a huge presence in Seattle, which is one of the factors that led us to join the fair, McClemont adds.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles-based writer and curator Laura Fried has taken up the new role of artistic director, organising talks and projects that will spotlight the cross-pollination among diverse practices from LA to Vancouver, from sculpture and performance to architecture and technology, she says. Frieds programme will also extend into the city, with a sound piece and choral performance by the musician Brendan Fowler in Pioneer Square.

The fair, which is co-produced by Allens philanthropic investment firm Vulcan and Art Market Productions, signals that the summer slowdown in the art business is not as prevalent as previously thought, Fishko says. The summer is a great time to be in Seattle.

Seattle Art Fair, CenturyLink Field Event Center (WaMu Theater), Seattle, 5-7 August

The Matriarch Of Regional Theatre


“Zelda Fichandler, a seminal figure in the regional theater movement who led Arena Stage in Washington for 41 years, producing more than 400 shows and directing more than 50 for a company that helped spur the growth of professional theater around the country and became its centerpiece in the nation’s capital, died on Friday at her home in Washington.”