Tate Modern's new extension

Tate defends position on free admission

Nicola Sullivan, 23.09.2015
Extension at Tate Modern will open to the public in June 2016
Tate director Nicholas Serota said free admission was "an expression of the values" that the institution stands for.
 
Speaking at Tate’s annual press conference, which took place at Tate Modern on Tuesday, Serota said the institution had consistently fought for free entry at its galleries.
 
“Don't put words into our mouths. The situation is really very very simple, you have to judge an institution by its behaviour and Tate has been free since 1897, bar six months in 1974 when it was instructed to introduce charges. We have consistently fought for free admission,” said Serota.

“That is the expression of the values that we think this institution stands for,” he added.
 
Lord Browne of Madingley, the chairman of Tate Trustees, said all sources of funding had been discussed but admission charges were the “last thing we would do.”

“We do not wish to charge for general admission, it goes against the concept of this place which is the demonstration of art which is owned by the nation for the nation and therefore should be seen openly and fully without charging," he said.

Directors were also quizzed over the challenges of securing the additional £30m required to complete Tate Modern’s £260m extension project in light of the government’s forthcoming comprehensive spending review, which is expected to bring in further cuts to public funding. However, it was confirmed during the press conference that Tate was confident that the additional money would be secured because of the multiple funding streams it has access to and the “generosity” of private donors.
 
Designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron, the new development will create 60% more gallery space in what will be the Switch House and the Turbine Hall, and will be open to the public on 17 June 2016.

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, said: “Art is one of the most dynamic and engaged forms of human behaviour, and when people want to step into a museum today, they don’t want to step out of their life they want to get closer to it. The new Tate Modern will be so much more than a container for art, it will be a platform for human encounters.”
 
Tate also released its annual report for 2014-15, which showed visitor numbers reached an all time high of 7.9 million, with a record 5.7 million visits to Tate Modern.
 
Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern attracted a record-breaking 560,000 visitors. The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free at Tate Britain drew 266,000 and was the second most visited show in its history. Transmitting Andy Warhol at Tate Liverpool attracted 52,000 visitors generating an estimated £1.36 million in additional spend in Liverpool.

It was also revealed that it was likely that Tate Modern would be able to name its new director to replace Dercon after Christmas.

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