Two of us visited the Tate Modern yesterday. We used our Tate membership card which allowed us to completely avoid the queues and gave us free entry to both the Damien Hirst retrospective and the Edvard Munch exhibition. Tickets would have cost us £69. Membership costs £60 for a year. Result. Plus, it makes you feel a little bit special, and you get to use the members room (they had a BBQ going when we went yesterday, double result!) Oh, and it also gets you in free to all the other Tates too. Definitely recommended.
So what did I think of the art?
Damien Hirst retrospective:
There’s been a lot of criticism that he doesn’t make a lot of the work himself; this doesn’t bother me too much as lots of artists have employed assistants. The strength in conceptual art is in the idea. But what if the idea isn’t his? There have been numerous accusations of plagiarism, but this in itself isn’t anything new as many artists have admitted to being influenced by others. So maybe the strength is in the execution? But then if he doesn’t make them… and if the ideas aren’t always his… then… erm…
Perhaps because of these issues it was one of the most debate-provoking exhibitions I’ve seen in a while. Many of his most famous pieces are there; various pickled animals, numerous spot paintings, spin paintings, pharmacy cabinets etc. Some of the thrill of seeing art inevitably dissipates through familiarity, so I was pleased that there were works I wasn’t aware of; beautiful stained glass windows made from thousands of butterflies, and huge cabinets filled with colour-coded pills.
Best “Ok, I’ve seen that now” piece – the divided mother and baby cow
Best “Er, why bother, what’s new about that?” – the pharmacy cabinets
Best “Eek, get them off me” moment – the live butterfly room
Best “Ooh, now I do like that, that’s interesting” piece – the giant circle covered inches-deep in dead flies
Edvard Munch exhibition:
There’s a good reason why he’s only really famous for that Scream painting…