A rare occurrence at Tate this week - the Choucair exhibition at Tate Modern has been extended to 17 November! Find out why
A rare thing has happened this week at Tate Modern, readers - a show has been extended! Due to its popularity, our Saloua Raouda Choucair exhibition will stay at Tate Modern four weeks longer than planned, now closing on November 17.
In case this isn’t sounding like drop-your-doughnut, choke-on-your-coffee breaking news, let us just stress how unusual this is at Tate. Due to the galleries’ busy programmes and the commitments of the multiple lenders that are usually involved in putting on a show, exhibitions are generally installed, opened, closed and uninstalled like clockwork. When we asked Tate Modern’s Head of Programme Realisation, Helen Sainsbury, when the last time was that a show was extended, she replied: ‘I actually can’t think of one.’
So why Choucair? For a number of reasons, but chiefly because the show - the first major museum exhibition of the 97-year-old Choucair’s work outside her birthplace of Beirut - has been an unexpected hit with the public, Helen explains.
‘It’s normally very difficult to extend shows, and there has to be a compelling reason. In this case, we’ve been delightfully surprised by the public demand and reaction to an artist whose work was previously almost completely unknown here. And because the show has just one lender - the artist’s daughter, Hala Choucair - who is generously allowing us to keep the work a bit longer, and there is space in the programme, it’s a brilliant opportunity for us to let more people see it. It’s the first real chance we’ve had to do that.’
The show includes over 120 paintings, sculptures and other objects in various media - several of which have never been seen before - by the prolific artist, spanning over six decades. The exhibition’s curators, Jessica Morgan and Ann Coxon, describe Choucair as ‘a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East,’ adding that she is now ‘becoming recognised as an important figure in the history of global modernism.’
So, clearly great news if you haven’t seen the show yet. But then, we would say that, wouldn’t we? Well, luckily, it seems that Tate’s admiration for Choucair’s playful paintings and wiggly, poetic sculptures has been met with yours. Since the show opened in April, you’ve taken to Twitter to tell us what you think, here’s just a few of your posts (and by the way, we haven’t omitted the bad ones - we truly and honestly couldn’t find any. Go Choucair!)
Saloua Raouda Choucair @Tate She was a brilliant, ingenious, much overlooked artist! Blown away!
Went to see the brilliant and overlooked Saloua Raouda Choucair at the Tate Modern today. Blown away.
The Saloua Raouda Choucair exhibit @Tate is sublime. Think poetry and architecture…in the vein of Gabo, Hepworth..
Some highlights from this very unassuming, but wonderful exhibition
So happy to discover great Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair. Thank you Tate for bringing her work here