The Tate Modern collection is to be reinstalled next May, thanks to sponsorship from the banking group UBS. Works will be shown around four “hubs” focussing on movements: Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. This will replace the current display, installed since the opening of Tate Modern in 2000, which is based on four genres (landscape, still-life, history and the nude). Over 40% of the works in the rehang will not have been shown at Bankside.
Sponsorship negotiations with UBS (formerly Union Bank of Switzerland) were prolonged, and the proposal put to Tate trustees at their meeting on 18 May raised some concerns. These were addressed, and the three-year deal was finally approved on 14 June and announced on 29 September.
What makes the sponsorship arrangement unusual, and potentially controversial, is that Tate Modern will hold a series of displays of works from UBS’s own art collection. One room is to be set aside for half the year, curated by the Tate’s Frances Morris. The first show, running from May to October 2006, will comprise 40 photographs, since the Tate is weak in photography.
In theory this arrangement should be mutually advantageous: the Tate will have easy access to a convenient source of works and the displays will add status to the UBS collection. Nevertheless, it is vital that Tate curators should retain total independence in their selection.
Now comprising over 900 works, UBS claims to own “one of the world’s most important corporate collections of contemporary art.” It has been built up over 30 years, partly with works acquired by PaineWebber in America and the Swiss Bank Corporation, which both recently merged into UBS.
The collection focuses on art from 1950 from both Europe and America, with artists such as Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter and Freud. The collection is displayed around the world, and 60 UBS works are shortly going on show at the Fondation Beyeler, in Basel (27 November-26 February 2006).
Tate has also announced its exhibition programme for 2006. Among the highlights at Tate Britain are “Gothic Nightmares” (opening 15 February), Constable (1 June), Howard Hodgkin (14 June) and Holbein (28 September). Shows at Tate Modern include Albers and Moholy-Nagy (9 May) and Kandinsky (9 June). Next year Roger Hilton will be at Tate St Ives (7 October) and the Chapman Brothers at Tate Liverpool (15 December).