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my visit to the tate modern // a brief interview with Frances Morris, director of the tate modern

Hello Everyone!

Recently, I had the pleasure of going to London-- such a beautiful city and so rich in culture. One of the main reasons for my trip was to visit the Tate Modern, a museum I've been wanting to go to for what feels like ages. It's definitely a must-see for anyone interested in modern art.

I've been to quite a few modern art museums, and the Tate Modern definitely stands out among them. Firstly, they have an incredible amount of space. I appreciated how many of the exhibitions were participatory and they seemed to make an effort to get visitors involved, as well as educating them on the art and the artists. But what makes the Tate Modern particularly unique is that it's not afraid of controversy; in particular, it is not afraid of critiquing the art world or of exposing uncomfortable topics. It may seem like that is commonplace in any modern art museum, but too often this component of modern art is ignored or approached in an improper manner. Most modern art museums I have been to will display works that explore cultural or societal taboos, but it is often done in a safe and simple way, shying away from criticizing the power structures and institutions that made those things taboo in the first place. The Tate Modern is an exception. The Guerrilla Girls, a feminist group of artists who created scathing graphic asessments of the art world itself were on display. Additionally, I loved Toguo's Purification, Kanwar's The Lightning Testimonies, and Alexander's African Adventure, all of which were powerful criticisms of the racism and sexism present in cultures worldwide. I was ecstatic to visit the special exhibit, Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future on Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, pioneers of installation art. The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment conveys a message of escapism that retains relevance in the current cultural/political landscape.

Alexander's African Adventure

The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment

Prior to my visit to the Tate Modern, I reached out to the director, Frances Morris, for an interview. Morris took over as director fairly recently, and her perspective on intersectionality in the art world is reflected in the museum. She granted me two questions, provided that they were unique. I obliged to her conditions.

1. You've talked a lot about art institutions being more inclusive and diverse as well as the public having more access to art/art education. What can people like me, who are art enthusiasts but have little influence, do to make art more accessible and diverse in their community?
Firstly, don't think you don't have influence! Peer to peer conversation is the key to conversion so get talking to your community, via any and every means. Persuade your local gallery or museum they need a young people's programme, youth ambassadors and activists like you to network them into the community. If they have any ambitions to grow a broad and diverse audience for art they will welcome you with open arms. I love working with young people just like you.

2. Of all the exhibitions that you've been apart of, which one had the biggest emotional response from visitors, and from yourself?
The Restrospective of Agnes Martin that Tiffany Bell and I curated a couple of years ago touched visitors in an extraordinary way. Martin struggled with mental health problems all her adult life, living on her own [in] New Mexico for decades and she destroyed many of her works frustrated by the difficulties of achieving perfection. She clearly made her astonishingly beautiful but austere abstract paintings as a means of ordering and controlling her very troubled mind. The contrast between the assuredness of her painting and the vulnerability of her personality had many of us who visited the exhibition in tears. I have never seen people study supposedly difficult abstract paintings with such incredible attention or react with such powerful emotion.


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