In ART

 London’s Tate Modern increases its exhibition space with the opening of an iconic new tower

When the Tate Modern opened in 2000, on the south bank of the River Thames, it revitalized an entire neighborhood, infusing culture and entertainment into an area of London that had been thoroughly neglected.

Sixteen years on, and building on the success of the Tate Modern as one of the world’s leading contemporary art venues, the institution has unveiled a new addition, created by Herzog & de Meuron, who also designed the museum’s original conversion of the Bankside Power Station.

The new Switch House building – a $375 million expansion that opened on June 17 – is a pyramid-shaped brick tower that soars over 10 stories and houses performance spaces and offices, in addition to the all-important art galleries. The structure, which increases the museum’s exhibition space by 60%, will also feature a restaurant, bar and terrace with wraparound views of the British capital.

About 75% of the Tate Modern’s collection was purchased after the museum opened in 2000, and thanks to a careful acquisition process, the collection now includes artworks in various media and from over 50 countries, including Argentina, Chile, China, Russia and India. There’s a particularly strong emphasis on women artists as well, with half of the solo displays dedicated to the female sex. Featured women artists include the likes of Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair, whose “Infinite Structure,” a sculpture created in the early 1960s, can be reconfigured into different shapes every time it’s exhibited.

There are masterpieces by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko, alongside photographs by Lionel Wendt (Sri Lanka) and collages by Benode Behari Mukherjee (India). Visitors to the new Tate Modern can view and be inspired by 800 works from 300 artists, all completely re-hung in a manner that ingeniously chronicles the history of contemporary art over the last 100 years.

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