Press Release

Tate Biennial Report for 2004–6 published today

Tate Biennial Report for 2004–6 published today: Press related to past news.

Published today, Tate’s Biennial Report Tate’s Biennial Report highlights the achievements of the organisation over the period April 2004 – March 2006.

Against a backdrop of reduced visitors to London, attendance figures were higher than ever. Tate Britain saw a record 1.7 million visitors in 2005 and 1.3 million in 2004 and Tate Modern was visited by 4.4 million in 2004 and 3.9 million in 2005. Three of the top five most popular exhibitions ever in the history of Tate took place over the last two years.

A major focus during this period has been in developing the Collection and raising awareness of the importance of acquiring works for the future and the limited acquisitions budgets available to national museums and galleries. Major works by a wide range of artists from Reynolds and Bonington to Nauman, Gilbert & George and Ofili were acquired and the Collection was strengthened significantly in specific areas such as Latin American art. Meanwhile a dedicated campaign to bring more prominence to the wealth and breadth of the Collection at Tate Britain resulted in a 31% increase in visitors to the displays.

Exhibitions and visitors figures:

  • Some of the most critically successful and popular exhibitions in the history of Tate were organised by Tate Modern during this period. Edward Hopper (27 May – 5 September 2004) was seen by 429,909 visitors making it the second most popular exhibition ever and Frida Kahlo (9 June – 9 October 2005) was seen by 369,249 people which makes it the fifth most visited exhibition ever. In addition Henri Rousseau (3 November 2005 – 5 March 2006) was seen by 190,795 visitors.
  • Tate Britain exhibitions were also extremely successful during this period. Turner Whistler Monet (10 February – 15 May 2005) is the fourth most visited exhibition in the history of Tate with 382,269 visitors and Degas, Sickert and Toulouse-Lautrec (5 October 2005 – 15 January 2006) was seen by 200,837 people.
  • Tate St Ives has continued to be hugely successful, with over 200,000 visitors a year. This biennium the gallery organised exhibitions of the work of David Nash (20 May – 26 September 2004), Trevor Bell (9 October 2004 – 9 January 2005), Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (22 January – 2 May 2005) and Richard Deacon and Paul Feiler (14 May – 25 September 2005) among others.
  • Around 600,000 people visited Tate Liverpool each year during this period to enjoy a creative mix of exhibitions including Summer of Love (17 May – 25 September 2005) and Secret History of Clay (28 May – 30 August 2004).
  • 31 of the 70 exhibitions mounted from 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2006 toured to 52 venues (including Summer of Love from Tate Liverpool which toured to Frankfurt and Vienna), 19 in the UK and 33 abroad, and were seen further 1.8 million visitors as a result.
  • Unique visitors to Tate Online rose to over 8 million in 2005–6.

Major works acquired for the Tate Collection included:

  • Joshua Reynolds, Colonel Acland and Lord Sydney: The Archers, 1769
  • Richard Parkes Bonington,  French Coast with Fisherman, 1826
  • Francis Picabia, Otaiti, 1930
  • Chris Ofili, The Upper Room, 1999 – 2002
  • Sigmar Polke, Triptych: Untitled 2002
  • Gilbert & George, Fates, 2005
  • Michelangelo Pistoletto, Venus of the Rags, 1967
  • Special attention was paid to improving holdings of photography and artist’s films and to representing contemporary art practice from around the world. The Latin American Acquisitions Committee supported the acquisition of twelve works, including a major installation by Guillermo Kuitca.

Other Projects:

  • Tate was awarded academic analogue status by the Arts and Humanities Research Council allowing Tate to apply for government research funding alongside university and thereby develop and strengthen existing research programmes.
  • Many education and interpretation programmes stand out during this period but in particular Shrinking Childhoods at Tate Modern and a Sure Start programme at Tate Britain. Shrinking Childhoods was organised by children’s charity Kids Company in collaboration with Tate Modern’s Raw Canvas programme. During the summer of 2004 over 1,000 children aged between four and twenty attended a series of workshops in which they produced work that communicated their experience of life, some of which was later exhibited in the grounds of Tate Modern. At Tate Britain a pioneering programme of cross-curricular learning was awarded a Sure Start national award for enabling children’s learning.
  • Online facilities for students and teachers have been improved with downloadable materials and resources available for exhibitions on a dedicated site. Tate’s site for visually impaired people was updated with six new works, and won a JODI award in 2006 for web accessibility.


  • In both financial years, 58% of revenues were self-generated.
  • Major sponsorships were renewed during this period notably Unilever’s support for the programme of Turbine Hall commissions, Bloomberg’s support for Tate Modern’s pioneering interactive interpretations programme, BP’s support for Tate Britain and BT’s support of Tate Online.
  • A major new three-year partnership was announced with UBS.
  • Despite the effect of 7 July 2005 on consumer trading generally, Tate Enterprises Limited returned a profit to Tate of £3.5 million in 2004–5 and £3.2 million in 2005–6.
  • The accompanying book for A Picture of Britain published by Tate Publishing was top of the bestseller list for four weeks. Combined with other successful titles, this gave Tate Enterprises Limited the second largest share of the UK art book market in 2005.
  • Tate Catering expanded it business to supply the catering provision to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and the Ice Café at Somerset House.