You know when you go to a place, somewhere familiar and comfortable? You know your way around, where the bathrooms are, how to get to the stairs or the escalator. You may remember your favorite small room, or that lesser explored corner that no one seems to know about but you.
And then the whole thing is ‘revitalized,’ ‘refurbished,’ and ‘re-opened’ to three times its original size and you have no clue where you are or where anything is and you’re trying to get with the program and be all ‘YAY PROGRESS!’ but you don’t really feel that way because wasntitgoodenoughtobeginwith?
In two weeks, the lovely Tate Modern museum in London will be reopened as a behemoth, a new building gracing the iconic silhouette (the building in the back right corner of the photo above). The new building will allow for a larger permanent collection, space for performances and installations, and a center for learning. The original capacity of the museum (2 million per year) has been consistently exceeded in recent years (up to 5 million) and the expansion will help alleviate the traffic and congestion.
All good things.
But I LIKE the Tate Modern. It’s my favorite of the grand museums in town, and I’ve taken many a visitor there to see the weird room with only white paintings and the crazy tower of old radios and cassette tape decks which looks like a spaceship.
The magnificent approach to the museum is one of my favorite in London. From St. Paul’s Cathedral, over the Millennium Bridge, past the buskers and street performers and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and into the Tate Modern. I just love seeing faces light up in the middle of the bridge, cathedral and museum on either end, Tower Bridge in the distance.
It’s at that moment, famous monuments on all sides, when people are really confronted with the history of this city, the old, very old, and very very old.
(Oh, and don’t mind my melodrama, nothing is changing about the bridge or the cathedral with the renovation.)
I decided to make one last visit to today’s Tate Modern, before it becomes the new Tate Modern, shiny and spacious. I wanted to capture my favorite parts, just in case I can’t find them again once all of the artwork has been rearranged and rehung and my secret hidden corner is a storage closet.
I also love getting a good look at people taking in a museum for the first time. It’s part of the fun for me, the people watching just as exciting as the art watching. Why is that guy over there taking a photo of that boring looking piece of art? Why is every teenager on their mobile phone, and not looking up at all? Why did the entire country of France decide to bring their students here on the exact same day? (Side note, once in high school I went to Myrtle Beach for a school trip…London would have been MUCH cooler.)