Tate Modern expands with old power station

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Tate Modern expands with old power station


An exterior view shows a new building called the Switch House, at left, which has been added on to the Tate Modern gallery in London, on Tuesday. [AP/NEWSIS]

LONDON - It’s the disused power station that became an art-world powerhouse, and now London’s Tate Modern is even bigger, with a new 10-story wing to help absorb more than 5 million visitors a year - and more work by women and non-European artists on display.

The gallery beside the River Thames opened in 2000 and succeeded beyond its creators’ wildest dreams, becoming the world’s most visited modern art museum.

Starting Friday, the public can visit its 260 million pound ($367 million) extension, a 10-story, pyramid-shaped structure by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.

It’s a striking building, clad in a lattice of bricks whose texture has been likened to a nubbly old sweater. Inside, rugged concrete columns under soaring ceilings evoke the site’s industrial past. Parts of the old power station have been transformed - concrete tanks that once stored oil are now performance spaces.

Tate Director Nicholas Serota said Tuesday that the gallery now has 60 percent more space, allowing it “to show a much more diverse range of work than we have previously been able to do.”

More than a third of the post-1960 artwork on display is by female artists. Morris says the gender imbalance is bigger in the older work because “until recently, it wasn’t a level playing field.”

There’s work by giants of modern art such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko in the old building, now known as the Boiler House. The newly built Switch House contains more recent art.

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