Currently under construction, it has been announced that the Herzog & de Meuron designed first phase of the new development of Tate Modern will open in the summer of 2012. The launch will be part of the London 2012 Festival which will be the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad. Phase 1 of the development includes the opening of the former power station’s spectacular Oil Tanks – enormous circular spaces over thirty metres across and seven metres high. These massive industrial chambers have lain unused since the power station was decommissioned. They are now being transformed into what promise to be some of the most exciting new spaces for art in the world. A further series of neighbouring galleries will provide a range of new spaces for works from the Tate Collection, including two raw concrete galleries and a unique steel-lined gallery. The Oil Tanks will also act as innovative social and learning spaces, as well as being equipped for a diverse programme of live performances and events, including a crush bar and full back of house facilities.
The opportunity to complete the first phase of the building has been made possible by a number of major donations to the campaign which, together, have raised 70% of the total capital costs of £215 million. At this stage, the donors wish to remain anonymous.
The new Oil Tank spaces will be dedicated to showing the rich variety of art in live form. The East Tank will provide the opportunity to showcase major new installations, and will be expanded and complemented by the South Tank programme that includes film, performance, sound and discussions. Providing an anchor for these activities, which have previously been presented in diverse spaces around Tate Modern, the Oil Tanks will allow the public to explore the history of these practices through the latter half of the twentieth century and see bold new work being developed by artists today. The full programme for the Oil Tanks will be announced in early 2012.
Phase 2 of the new development, which is planned to open at the latest in 2016, will complete the building and provide further floors of galleries. In total, the project will create 70% more space for displaying works from Tate’s Collection and programme. Over the last ten years, the Collection has not only grown considerably in size, but also developed to reflect broader changes in contemporary art. Film, photography and live performance have become essential strands of artistic practice, and artists have continued to embrace new technologies. At the same time, the Collection has taken a more global perspective, encompassing work from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.