The new Tate Modern museum, in London, opens to the public on Friday, June 17, with a 10-story wing designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron. The expansion, dubbed the Switch House, includes three gallery floors that will increase the museum's display space by 60 percent. The realized design is a follow-up to a renovation the firm carried out in 2000, which converted the former Bankside Power Station into the original Tate Modern building.
While staples within the museum’s permanent collection by the likes of renowned artists Robert Delaunay and Pablo Picasso will continue to draw crowds, pieces acquired for the newly added space include multimedia work, such as a selection of 20th-century photographs by Sri Lankan artist and photographer Lionel Wendt and an eight-screen film installation by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The museum is also expanding its Bloomberg Connects initiative, an interactive space where visitors can draw on a digital sketchpad and have their work projected on a wall, and it will soon release a new Tate Modern mobile app.
Additionally, the museum addressed gender inequity in modern design with a sharpened focus on women artists, whose work now comprises half of the museum’s solo displays. "Women have been significantly under-appreciated within the contexts of the visual arts," Frances Morris said in an interview on BBC Radio 4. Earlier this year, Morris was appointed as the first female director in the museum's 16-year history. "We want to draw attention to those [women artists] that have been particularly overlooked," Morris said, citing new displays by artists like Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ana Lupas, and Sheela Gowda.
The museum is hosting a variety of events this weekend to celebrate the extension's debut. Among them is including "Future Late," an artist-led workshop that combines digital technology with arts-and-crafts techniques and materials.
In a preview of the space on Thursday, 3,000 school children from across the United Kingdom were among the first to see the addition to the world’s most visited modern art museum. Bob and Roberta Smith (the pseudonym of British artist Patrick Gill) greeted the students and led a discussion about art's role in education.