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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
London's 'cathedral of cool'
Tate Modern
Tate Modern: From power station to picture palace
When the Tate Modern opened its doors a year ago it proved an instant hit with critics and visitors alike.

Since then some five million visitors have poured through the galleries of London's first museum of modern art.

Dubbed the "cathedral of cool", the building itself is an acclaimed 134m conversion of the former power station on Bankside in London.

From the former turbine hall, which runs the length of the building, visitors are swept up by escalator to three levels of galleries.

Turbine hall
The impressive turbine hall is a dominant feature
The exhibits are illuminated by natural light from a translucent roof.

The two Swiss architects behind the conversion of Tate Modern from a power station, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, won the prestigious Pritzker prize this year for their "talent, vision and commitment".

Visitor boost

The Tate Modern has helped push visitor numbers to England's museums and galleries up by 20 per cent in the past year.

Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota told the Evening Standard in a recent interview that Tate Modern has some major challenges ahead.

"The principal challenge now is going to be to make the exhibitions that people expect to be there - and expectations are very high, namely that Tate Modern will deliver some memorable shows."

Surreal show

One such show will be this autumn's Surrealism: Desire Unbound - the first major exhibition of international surrealism in London for over 20 years.

Monroe exhibit
This is London's first museum of modern art
Additional interest will come from pop star Madonna's loan of Self-Portrait with Monkey by Mexican artist Frida Kahloa from her private collection.

The painting, one of around 450 works on display from 20 September to 16 December, depicts Kahlo with a monkey round her neck and has not been seen by the public for a decade.

But not all the exhibitions from the first 12 months have had the same acclaim as the building in which they are housed.

Critics disliked the recent Century City exhibition, the Tate Modern's first major loan show. It revealed how cities as diverse as Moscow, New York, Lagos and Tokyo flourished at different points during the 20th century.

Even more controversial was the Tate's decision to shows its collection in four themed groups instead of the traditional chronological order.

But with major works by Dali, Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol alongside artists such as David Hockney and Tracey Emin, the Tate Modern's continuing popularity looks secure.

Radio 4's Front Row looks at one year of Tate ModernOver-rated?
Radio 4's Front Row debates the Tate
AUDIO/VIDEO  real 14k
See also:

23 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Shock art hits London
03 Apr 01 | Arts
Tate leads museum boom
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