Tate Modern's Switch Gallery and Concrete Tanks Open for Business on Friday

By Gary Cutlack on at

London's Tate Modern is about to expand into an all-new building, with the Switch House -- a wonky but engaging highrise lump built behind the existing Thameside gallery site -- opening to the public this Friday.

The newest and most/least thrilling part depending on your viewpoint is the subterranean concrete Tanks area -- where the oil tanks for the power station used to be -- a space dedicated entirely to live art. Perhaps best news for locals and tourists is the opening of a panoramic public viewing area on Level 10, where we're able to get a free lookout at the city from quite the height without even being bothered by having to have an opinion about art.

Given that it's all about modern art, there's going to be some weird stuff in there. The new space will house a tower of 800 radios (saying something ironic about modern lifestyles), a room packed with human hair and car bumpers (saying something ironic about health and the environment) and a tapestry made out of bottle tops (saying something about pollution).

There will also be arty films on loops so the kids can be plopped down in front of a screen and left alone while mum and dad stroke their chins in the vicinity, along with a custom learning space for educational content and games.

There should be -- but probably isn't -- a dark, windowless room that's the only place where the Wi-Fi works, as some sort of ironic tirade against the commodification of art and our attention spans. Maybe we'll ask for a grant to do it and call it the Gizmodo room.

A special preview opening of the Switch House is scheduled for Thursday, and opening times are extended to 22:00 this weekend so all the hardworking people can fit in getting a bit angry about whether or not photographs are art after the pub. [TATE]

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