09 Dec, 2013

An A-Z of Paul Klee: N is for Nazis

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Paul Klee, 'The Castle Mountain of S.' 1930

Paul Klee
The Castle Mountain of S. 1930
Gouache on paper
support: 368 x 467 mm
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1941© DACS, 2002

What would you do if your cultural environment was systematically destroyed? Curator Matthew Gale recounts what happened in the life of artist Paul Klee following Hitler becoming the Chancellor of Germany

In 1930s Germany, the National Socialists fixed on what they perceived as a corruption of culture in the Weimar Republic as a target for attack. It was an excuse for anti-Semitism, anti-Communist, repression. On Hitler becoming Chancellor on 30 January 1933, the assault on the plurality of German culture was devastating.

As a modernist, Paul Klee was dismissed from his teaching post at the Dusseldorf Academy. His works were removed from public galleries, his collectors were hounded and his dealer Alfred Flechtheim forced out of business as a modernist and a Jew. More fortunate than many colleagues, Klee could return to Bern where he settled in late 1933, as the cultural world in which he had lived was systematically destroyed.

The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee: Making Visible is at Tate Modern from 16 October 2013 – 9 March 2014

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

Music meets Art - Warp x Tate

Friday night’s Late at Tate saw electonic beats meet brass as Warp Records and artist Jeremy Deller curated live performance to get your rave on to at the new Tate Britain. To add to these celebrations, our friend and BBC Radio 6 Music DJ, Tom Ravenscroft, has put together a playlist of tracks inspired by artworks on display

A few months back Tate Britain kindly asked me to make a playlist influenced by the work of Kurt Schwitters, to accompany, sit beside or, in fact, hide well behind their rather spectacular exhibition of his work. I know, what a nice thing to be asked to do. 

So, what with 6 Music marking the re-opening of Tate Britain, we thought we’d soundtrack a few of our favourite pieces from their collection. There is a vague reason behind the music choices, some perhaps more obvious than others, but generally it’s just me getting a vibe, I hope you like them anyway.


1. Nocturne: Blue and Silver – Chelsea, 1871 by James Abbott McNeill Whistler – inspired track ‘Street Halo’ by Burial

2. La Hollandaise, c.1906 by Walter Richard Sickert  – inspired track ‘The Pisgee Nest’ by Daughn Gibson 

3. Lycidas, 1902-08 by James Havard Thomas – inspired track ‘God’s Chorus of Crickets’ by Jim Wilson 

4. Merry-Go-Round, 1916 by Mark Gertler – inspired track ‘Green Light’ by E.M.M.

5. The Snack Bar, 1930 by Edward Burra – inspired track  ‘Caramel’ by Connan Mockasin

6. The Cholmondeley Ladies c.1600-10 by British School 17th Century, ‘The Good Old Way’ by Crumbling Ghost 

Have you been to the new Tate Britain yet? Let us know what you think!

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

07 Dec, 2013

In pictures: Music

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Rebecca Horn, 'Concert for Anarchy' 1990

Rebecca Horn
Concert for Anarchy 1990
Painted wood, metal and electronic components
unconfirmed: 1500 x 1060 x 1555 mm
Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999© DACS, 2002

The creative relationship between art and music is a long-standing one. Explore how artists have approached these two subjects in this selection of Tate works

View more works on the theme of music in Tate’s collection

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

06 Dec, 2013

Cool and beautiful gifts to inspire this Christmas

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Tate online shop Christmas 2013

Last Christmas I gave you my art…(sorry, no more puns). This year, to save you from tears (ok, really, no more) we’ve gathered gorgeous things from our shop, as well as fellow museums, galleries and art shops to create the ultimate gift guide, just for you lovely arty lot. If you’re stuck on what to get the creative creatures in your life, look no further than your browser as all are available to buy online

Don’t miss out on free delivery on Tate products until midnight Sunday 8th December (standard UK delivery) – enter discount code FREEP13

1. Travel journal, Tate, £10

A silk screen printed book – complete with festive snowy scene – for the travel scribbler in your life, with different patterned papers and pockets for their precious ticket stubs. Tate

2. Fish cushion, V&A, £35

Paul Klee was inspired by fishes in many of his paintings – and as far as we’re concerned, that’s a brilliantly tenuous excuse to include this geometric chap in our gift guide. There’s also a penguin, an elephant and a giraffe if those are more to your liking. V&A

3. Tate vintage poster reproduction – Matisse, Tate, £25

A retro reminder of those lovely cut outs, this poster from Tate’s 1953 exhibition also shows how marketing design has evolved just as the shows have. Tate

4. Sensu Solos, Amazon, £29.99

If, like Hockney, you’ve discovered the epic drawing and painting tool that is the iPad (unlimited undos! Layers! Duplicating to try different versions! This changes everything…), get these brushes on your Christmas list. The clever people at Sensu have combined an aluminium handle and heat conductive hair to make a proper paint brush for touchscreens. They work will all your usual art apps, and they come in nice colours. Amazon

5. Stencil 101, Cass Art, £16.95

How does Banksy make those cheeky designs on the fly? He uses a stencil, of course. This book guides you through the tips and tricks of street art-style stencilling, including 25 reusable ones for you to try and hints on how to use them on walls, clothes, cakes and cards. Cass Art are also offering a discount of 15% off your first purchase just for Tate blog readers*

* add the discount code TATEXMAS to your basket or payment screen. Valid until 22/02/13. Excludes discount on gift wrap, gift vouchers and delivery.

6. Tate gift membership, from £62

Forgive our predictability here, but as art-related gifts go, we think this one is pretty great. Membership gets you unlimited free entry to all Tate exhibitions (that includes Matisse, Mondrian and Turner in 2014), as well as access to our Members Rooms. The Tate Britain one reopened just two weeks ago in the circular balcony of the gallery’s rotunda, and Tate Modern’s riverside Members bar remains ever glamorous up on level 5. Members also get sent three issues of our magazine, Tate Etc.,  bi-monthly guides and various other special offers and invites. So, that’s our pitch! We think your mum/friend/brother/self would like it. Tate

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

06 Dec, 2013

Behind the scenes with the Tate Fund

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Meet Dale Ellis, Individual Giving Manager in her office at Tate Britain
Meet Dale Ellis, Individual Giving Manager in the Development offices at Tate Britain

Our Individual Giving Manager introduces the work of The Tate Fund, how it supports events like Late at Tate and what they’re working on this Christmas

My name is Dale Ellis and I am the Individual Giving Manager at Tate. Most people haven’t heard of my job title before; I work in the Development department at Tate which is responsible for fundraising. As you may or may not know, Tate is actually a charity and we’re an aspirational one with big ideas and lots of them, and it’s the job of my colleagues and I to help make them happen.

My job is to provide everyone who loves and believes in Tate with opportunities to support the galleries and the work we do. There are lots of ways in which people can do this; join as a Member or a Patron, leave a gift in a will, become a volunteer or make a donation. My role looks after The Tate Fund which raises income to fund projects across learning and conservation, but it is also there to be used simply when and where the need is greatest.

One of the many exciting projects that we have had the pleasure of supporting is Late at Tate. These events are a series of after-hour happenings around our gallery spaces that attract a wide range of visitors, some exploring the gallery for the first time. The support of donations to the Tate Fund meant that around 18,000 visitors enjoyed a programme of films, talks, live music, tours, poetry, workshops and, of course, the best of British art.

This year, we have also been chosen to take part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge. During the challenge, donations from the public are doubled, which means a £10 donation becomes enough for two children to attend free, artist-led schools workshops in one of our galleries (£20; click here for a list of what things cost to run at Tate!). These workshops offer young children, some who have never been to a gallery before, with opportunities to develop key learning skills and to engage with and respond to the national collection. I think it’s great that Tate takes part in initiatives like this; it means support from the public goes so much further. If you’re interested in giving to Tate but never have before, this is a great first time. 

To take part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge this year, please make a donation between 5-7 December.

This campaign is a challenge; donations are doubled by daily reserved funds which run out fast, so the closer to 10am you make your donation, the higher the chance that your donation will be doubled.

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

Tim Mara, 'Lightbulb and Book' 1995-6

Tim Mara
Lightbulb and Book 1995-6
Lithograph and screenprint on paper
image: 676 x 989 mm
Presented by Belinda Mara in memory of the artist 1998© The estate of Tim Mara

How much do you think it costs to run an art gallery? From school workshops to framing a work, take a guess and test yourself as we reveal how much just a few of Tate’s essential activities cost

£1.30 — Gallery light bulb to ensure visitors experience art in the best possible conditions 

£20 — Art materials for 60 children attending a free school workshop

£25 — Tin of paint to refresh gallery spaces to ensure displays look their very best

£120 — The cost of framing a work on paper to protect and present it in the best way possible

£200 — Free school workshops for children of all ages led by a practising artist

£950 — Production of ‘Tate Shots’ digital content to enhance the visitor experience in gallery

£2,550 — Conservation treatment for an artwork to ensure it is protected and on show

£5,000 — Specialised sculpture cleaning of one of the 1,993 sculptures in the Tate collection 

To take part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge this year, log on to www.biggive.org.uk/tatefund and make a donation between 5-7 December.

This campaign is a challenge; we double donations until we reach our daily goal, so the closer to 10.00 you make your donation, the higher the chance that your donation will be doubled

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

A gig on a Monday night in Milton Keynes – who’d go to that? Well if the headliner are the revelation that is Barb Wire Dolls and the entrance is free then it turns out quite a few including yours truly are willing to make the effort. BWD came over from Greece earlier in the year and won over many new fans with their quite frankly incendiary performances. I saw them at the 100 Club supporting GBH back in June and they were one of those rare bands where you think “cancel everything else, there’s no way I’m going to miss this show”. To be fair, however, I nearly did after I blew out their Swindon gig (too far), declined their Hastings performance (same night as the London Punk Festival), dropped their London gig with Sham 69 (wanted to see them headline) things were looking bleak until I took the decision to head up to Wolverton. By this time singer Isis’s legendary crowd interaction had seen her accidentally dumped on concrete in Norwich from the shoulders of an audience member and she now had her arm in a sling with strict instructions from a Doctor to take things easy. Lesser bands would have cancelled the remainder of the tour but BWD ploughed on regardless playing every show that had been booked and so Milton Keynes remained firmly on.

Corby’s Cretin 77 opened up proceedings in fine style. I hadn’t seen or heard them before but they were simply excellent. Not too fast, not too slow they delivered riff after riff of crunching rhythms with hooks you could hang your coat on. So many of the songs landed first time with clear catchy choruses that lodge readily in the brain. Right from set opener “Sleep In My Car” I loved this band. Their singer has a distinctive voice, maybe very reminiscent of Jello Biafra but certainly powerful and with a stage presence to match. Definitely one to check out:

Cretin 77 at the Crauford Arms (photo Steve Cotton)

Cretin 77 at the Crauford Arms (photo Steve Cotton)

Barb Wire Dolls feed off the energy of their singer Isis Queen. With her arm in a sling this was never going to be full on BWD show but even at 70% they beat most other bands for excitement and tunes. New songs including Take Me Home and Contract were aired amongst others from their debut full length LP Slit. You got the feeling that this is a band that’s going places, that they won’t always be playing gigs in the back room of pubs. Time will tell but tonight it felt pretty special.

Barb Wire Dolls at the Crauford Arms (photo Steve Cotton – taken with a Nokia Lumia 1020)

Barb Wire Dolls at the Crauford Arms (photo Steve Cotton)

Barb Wire Dolls at the Crauford Arms (photo Steve Cotton)


Read the original post at Art of the State

Emma Palmer Ruth Ewan's Jukebox in Art Turning Left at Tate Liverpool
Emma Palmer trying out Ruth Ewan’s A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World in Art Turning Left at Tate Liverpool

Do you believe in the persuasive power of music? Marketing Assistant, Emma Palmer, introduces artist Ruth Ewans’s interactive jukebox on display in Art Turning Left at Tate Liverpool, and invites you to add to her playlist of protest songs 

Across the centuries people have recognised the power of music and as a result, it has continually been used as a tool of propaganda. From the incendiary rhetoric of a marching band that urges you to join the forces, to the rallying chorus of a football crowd and the witty chants of a protest rally, songs have always provided a platform for people to share their concerns about pressing economic, social and political issues that are so often swept under the proverbial rug by those in power. Adding a melody, catchy riff and poetic verse to your message seems to give an argument the power to persuade the ears to stop and engage; to listen in, take in and consider.

Artist Ruth Ewan has been researching and archiving protest songs from around the globe since 2003 and uploading them into her artwork A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World. Ewan’s jukebox now finds itself surrounded by a whole host of politically influenced international artwork, and provides visitors to Art Turning Left a soundtrack to their visit.  Where else can you listen to Johnny Cash, Black Sabbath, The Pixies or Woody Guthrie whilst taking in Jeremy Deller, Guerrilla Girls and The Hackney Flashers? Inspired by Ewan’s merging of genres, I have compiled my own protest song playlist.

This is by no means a conclusive list of all protest songs, rather, it’s my selection of suggestions from Tate Liverpool staff and songs I believe have held a powerful resonance. I’ve tried to choose songs that span different decades and genres, exemplifying just how diverse the protest song is. I hope you like it, and please do feel free to contribute to this playlist in Tate’s Spotify or by leaving a comment below.

You can listen to the playlist here with a Spotify account

1. Woody Guthrie — This Land is your land

Guthrie’s critical response to Irving Berlin’s God Bless America, which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent

‘In the squares of the city/In the shadow of the steeple/Near the relief office/I see my people/ And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’/If this land’s still made for you and me.’

2. Public Enemy — Fight the Power

Written for Spike Lee’s film Do The Right Thing, the 1989 hip-hop song Fight the Power orders the listener to fight authority and carries the message of empowering the black community in America

3. Tom Robinson Band — Glad to be Gay

An attack on British society’s attitude towards gay people, Robinson criticises the police and their attacks and raids on gay pubs once homosexuality had been decriminalized since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. Originally written for a 1976 London gay pride parade, the song was banned by the BBC and drills home the insanity of the violence. 

4. Billy Bragg — Between the Wars

Working-class pacifism as an alternative to gung-ho militarism

5. Billie Holiday — Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit is a poem written by teacher Abel Meeropol, as a protest against the lynchings of African Americans in 1930s America. Originally performed by his wife and the singer Laura Duncan, as a protest song in New York, it is Billie Holiday’s version that brought it to prominence

‘Southern trees bear strange fruit/Blood on the leaves and blood at the root/Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze/Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.’

6. Gil Scott Heron — The Revolution Will Not be Televised

The song’s title was originally a popular slogan among the 1960s Black Power movements in the United States

7. Sam Cooke — A Change is Gonna Come

Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind inspired Cooke to take action. A Change is Gonna Come came to exemplify the 1960s’ Civil Rights Movement.  It was even paraphrased by Barack Obama in his 2008 victory speech.

‘There have been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long/but now I think I’m able to carry on/It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.’

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

03 Dec, 2013

An A-Z of Paul Klee: M is for Magic

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Paul Klee, 'A Young Lady's Adventure' 1922

Paul Klee
A Young Lady’s Adventure 1922
Watercolour on paper
support: 625 x 480 mm
frame: 686 x 510 x 20 mm
Purchased 1946© DACS, 2002

As we reach the halfway point of our A-Z of Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee, in our thirteenth instalment, our curator Matthew Gale investigates the artist’s enchanting approach to painting 

One of the most frequently used descriptions of Klee is that he was a wizard or magician. This is especially common at the Bauhaus, where he was contrasted with artist-engineers, like László Moholy-Nagy, who were his colleagues. Klee fed this impression. He insisted on the hand-made nature of his work, making paint, glue, mounts, even brushes, himself.

He kept his Bauhaus studio locked while he worked, only admitting colleagues and students on their agreed knock and at specific times. One colleague called it ‘the wizard’s kitchen … the place where real magic potions were brewed’.

Do you see magic in the work of Paul Klee? Share your thoughts on the artist and leave a comment below.

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

James Boswell Untitled, six studies of men and boys from a sketchbook covering Boswell's posting to Iraq 1942–3 Ink on paper; sp
James Boswell
Untitled, six studies of men and boys from a sketchbook covering Boswell’s posting to Iraq 1942–3
Ink on paper
TGA 8224/16

© The estate of James Boswell

Managing the digitisation of 52,000 objects from Tate Archive is a process driven by metadata. We need information on the objects so that we can present them online and manage the digitisation efficiently. We also need information on the resources we are producing as part of this project

Metadata comes in many different flavours. Alex discussed how we will use metadata to present the archival objects online in a previous blog post. Here I will look at the metadata we are using internally, to manage both the digitisation process itself and the digital resources it produces.

All archives generate metadata for their collections. This normally takes the form of an archive catalogue. Catalogues serve a dual purpose, helping an archive manage its collections as well as helping users locate items they need for their research.

Archive cataloguing at Tate is based on the ISAD(G) international standard. This produces hierarchical catalogues – unlike a typical library catalogue, for example, archive cataloguing captures the relationships between items and their context, which is essential for understanding a collection.  A single letter may only really make sense when read alongside other letters that together form a conversation.  When cataloguing, I sometimes describe individual items in a collection, but I may equally describe groups of items at a higher level. You can see how our archive is currently catalogued online.

For this project, however, we need to go into greater detail and manage parts of objects, for example the individual pages of a letter. This allows us to link an individual image to the original archive item and to other related images. We also need information we do not usually capture, for example the orientation of a sketchbook’s pages, or the order of pages in a letter. All of this information allows us to organise the digital images and it will also be used to drive the display online. When we present a sketchbook online, we can now be sure that the pages we display are from the same sketchbook, in the right order and the right way up – something that is apparently simple but which requires the right metadata.

However, even this more granular approach to archive cataloguing does not by itself produce all of the information we need for this project. We must also capture technical metadata. The project is producing a substantial digital resource – not only the images of the archive items but other material including transcriptions and films. For the project to have an enduring legacy we need to preserve this material and ensure it is available for Tate and others to use in the future. Preserving digital objects involves managing not only their storage, but also the software and hardware environment used to capture, process and access them. This requires detailed information on digital objects, including the environments used to produce them, their file formats, and relationships between them. Tate has adopted the PREMIS metadata standard to manage all of this information, and this project will give us valuable experience of a leading standard in this field.

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog


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