2 December 2017 – 6 January 2018
Switched on daily between 05:00 and 24:00
This year, artist Alan Kane has been invited to devise an exciting new work for Tate Britain’s Christmas art commission. Home for Christmas will transform Tate Britain’s iconic neo-classical façade into a glowing display of festive off-the shelf decorations, the likes of which can be seen on homes up and down the country during the Christmas season.
The playful commission will mark a new chapter in Tate Britain’s annual offering, with a departure from the traditional Christmas tree. A show-stopping arrangement of LED Santas, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees, along with ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Santa Stop Here’ signs will adorn the Victorian porticoed entrance created by Sidney R.J. Smith 120 years ago. The lights will be officially switched on at 16.30 on Saturday 2 December by local hero Jane Buttigieg as part of the gallery’s community Christmas event.
Born in Nottingham in 1961, Alan Kane lives and works in Somerset and Great Yarmouth. His work often incorporates found or readymade objects, and brings attention to everyday forms of creativity. Within his various projects and collaborations, he draws attention to the dividing line between art as defined by academic convention and art as a more commonplace creative act. His inclusive, humorous work blurs the distinction between innovation and tradition, the amateur and professional, and perceptions of high art and low culture through the insertion of familiar and often comic objects into artistic contexts.
Kane’s previous projects include arranging for the entire British Art Show 8 to be transported through Norwich by carts and shire horses (2016); a series of televised nude life drawing classes led by famous artists and art theorists (2009); The Steam Powered Internet Machine (2004); Souped Up Tea Urn & Teapot (Dartford 2004) created in collaboration with Jeremy Deller, with objects which visitors can be invited to use when on display, and also with Jeremy Deller a travelling international exhibition of contemporary ‘Folk Art’ featuring, for example, trade union banners, prisoners’ paintings, traditional wrestling costumes, and a six foot high walking mechanical elephant named Snowdrop (2005). Kane has exhibited with and been commissioned by Artangel, Channel 4, Barbican Art Gallery, Palais de Tokyo, Whitechapel Gallery and Art on the Underground.
The commission will be unveiled amid a host of festive activities at Tate Britain. On Saturday 2 December the gallery will hold a community event entitled Lights, Christmas, Action from 14.00 to 18.00, including an official ‘switch on’ of the lights at 16.40. The event will welcome communities from Tate Britain’s local area with Christmas craft activities, festive themed art talks and special viewings of Tate Britain’s celebrated Turner collection by torchlight, as well as carol singing with London City Voices choir and free mince pies and mulled wine for visitors.
Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain said
We’re excited to be giving Tate Britain a whole new face this Christmas with Alan Kane’s light commission. After 25 years of commissioning artists to design our Christmas tree, we thought we’d give an artist the façade of the building to play with. Alan’s ultra-festive response is sure to turn heads – of those both young and old. We look forward to unveiling other surprising festive artist commissions in the years to come.
Home for Christmas: The Alan Kane Christmas Commission has been curated by Aïcha Mehrez, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate. Supported by the Home for Christmas Supporters Circle.