"New Displays" at the Tate Gallery makes special rooms for Joseph Beuys and Rebecca Horn

Important loans include portraits by Hogarth and Gainsborough and five landscapes by Constable


From the beginning of last month and continuing through March, Nicholas Serota has been supervising the reorganisation of the Tate Gallery's permanent collection in the third of his annual series of "New Displays". Some rooms are unchanged, some are marked by subtle readjustment, and others have been given new themes and different works. The museum's fine collections of Dada and Surrealist art has returned from a lengthy spell in Liverpool and Mark Rothko's Seagram murals will be brought out of storage in May.

The most striking change takes place in the three Duveen galleries where Anthony Caro's new sculptures were recently shown. Under the title of "Primitive and Modern", a fresh installation examines the responses of British sculptors to ancient and tribal art. At its core stand Henry Moore's three "Upright Motives nos. 1, 2 and 7" (1955-1956). The south gallery includes "Mankind" (1927-1928), the monumental stone carving by Eric Gill, and Epstein's "Jacob and the Angel", an important loan from Granada Television. In the north gallery is contemporary art. William Turnbull is represented by two "Idol" sculptures (1956), Tony Cragg's "On the Savannah" (1988) is shown again, and two recent acquisitions of Anish Kapoor, "Adam" (1988-1989) and "A Wing at the Heart of Things" (1990), are previewed.

Other important loans to the museum include Hogarth's "Captain Coram", his masterpiece in portraiture, Gainsborough's double portrait of Mr and Mrs Hallett ("The Morning Walk"), which has been loaned by the National Gallery in exchange for "Mares and Foals in a Landscape" by Stubbs, and five major paintings by Constable, among which are "The Wheatfield", that notable rediscovery, and "The Lock" which Baron Thyssen purchased at auction in 1990. Heinz Berggruen has lent Miró's "Dialogue of Insects" (1924-1925).

Among the more sweeping changes in the museum's presentation of contemporary art, two significant installations feature important new acquisitions. Rebecca Horn's "Ballet of the Woodpeckers", given by The Patrons of New Art, is a room created from eight sheets of mirror to which are attached hammers which appear to strike their surfaces.

The room contains two glass cones filled with mercury and a pair of binoculars. "The End of the Twentieth Century", a major work from the later career of Joseph Beuys, is one of the inspired purchases of Serota's directorship. Very possibly the last opportunity for his museum to own a really important work by this great German master, it was bought from Anthony d'Offay and comprises a series of large hexagonal basalt blocks from which Beuys has drilled cones of stone before reinserting them bound in sheets of felt soaked in clay.

There is a special exhibition of seven paintings by David Hockney (14 March-26 July). Five canvases will be familiar to the museum's regular audience. They are supplemented by a new picture, on loan from the artist, and "The Third Louvre Painting" (1960), a recent purchase from leading private dealer, Ivor Braka, and a superb example of the rough style and erotic content which the artist favoured at the launch of his career.


We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. Read our Cookie Policy for more information.