The Tate Gallery announced today a gift from John and Anya Sainsbury (Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover KG and Lady Sainsbury) that makes possible the creation of a suite of six new galleries for temporary exhibitions as part of the Tate Gallery of British Art development at Millbank.
Work began in June on the restoration and extension of the Millbank building in preparation for its relaunch as the Tate Gallery of British Art in the year 2001, to provide the world’s largest display of British art.
The new Sainsbury Exhibition Galleries will increase display space at Millbank by 15%, allowing part of the current area for temporary exhibitions on the main gallery floor to revert to showing the permanent Collections. Located on the ground floor of the north west quarter of the building, the Sainsbury Exhibition Galleries will be entered directly from the new entrance to the Tate Gallery of British Art on Atterbury Street.
Designed by John Miller + Partners, well-known for their work at the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Serpentine Gallery, the galleries will be light and airy spaces, sufficiently flexible to provide an appropriate venue for a wide range of exhibitions.
The Tate Gallery is currently the third most visited museum in the United Kingdom attracting over two million visitors each year. Some 250,000 visitors are expected to attend the most popular exhibitions at the Tate Gallery of British Art in the course of each year. The rise in audience numbers at the Tate over the past ten years has been partly attributed to the success of temporary exhibitions.
The Sainsbury Exhibition Galleries will host major exhibitions each year. These will be devoted to British art: historic, twentieth century, and contemporary. The programme will include exhibitions of single artists, as well as thematic and historical surveys.
In February 1997, the Tate Gallery of British Art project was awarded £18.75 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A very substantial gift from Sir Edwin Manton established a solid foundation on which to base the fundraising campaign and over £30 million has been secured to date from a range of private and public sources. The total cost of the project is £32 million.