Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, well understands the importance of the coup de thèatre in designing a gallery, and the desirability of having an easily identifiable work with which to “brand” the collection: ten years ago, his first redisplay of the central gallery in the Tate’s Millbank building put Rodin’s “The Kiss” centre stage, to spectacular effect. When the Tate Gallery of Modern Art at Bankside opens in May next year, this role will be fulfilled by a vast, forty-five-foot steel sculpture about family relationships by the Franco-American artist Louise Bourgeois. It will stand in the 100-foot high central Turbine Hall, to be seen also from the upper stories, and is the first of five future commissions for the Turbine Hall, one a year, sponsored by Unilever to the tune of £1.25 million. The artist, who is eighty-seven years old, is too fragile to travel, but has made a three-foot maquette and the final work will be made in sections and shipped over to London for assembly in situ.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Vast Bourgeois for the new Tate'