Press Release

Tate Modern is 10: Tate reaches across the world with works acquired from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa

Tate Modern is extending its reach across the world by expanding its Collection to areas outside Europe and North America, including the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The recent acquisitions include thirteen contemporary works of art by artists from the Middle East and North Africa region. The works are by ten artists from Algeria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran and Egypt. None of these artists has been represented in the Collection before and the acquisitions will significantly enhance Tate’s current holdings of work from that area. Among this group are Kader Attia’s Untitled (Ghardaia) 2009 and Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar’s Air Pollution of Iran 2004-2006. Also recently acquired are eight works from Latin America, six works from the Asia Pacific region and fourteen works from South Africa. These include Korean-born Do Ho Suh’s Staircase III 2009, Chinese-born Pak Sheung Chuen’s A Travel without Visual Experience 2008, Indian-born Subodh Gupta’s Everyday 2009, South African-born Santu Mofokeng’s The Black Photo Album / Look at Me 1997 and Cuban-born Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s Untitled (Double Portrait) 1991.

Since 2000, 4,104 works have been acquired for Tate Collection which is displayed across all four Tate sites. Over 880 of these new acquisitions have gone on display at Tate Modern. During this period, Tate acquired 623 works from regions outside Europe and North America, 317 of which are from Latin America and 35 of which are by artists from the Asia Pacific region. More than 640 artists from the Collection have gone on display at Tate Modern, 458 of whom have come from overseas.

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said:

Tate’s Collection has been significantly enriched over the past decade with an expanded geographical reach and an energetic focus on collecting work from areas outside Europe and North America, particularly in Latin America, Asia and more recently, in the Middle East and Africa. Tate Modern has provided the spur for a vigorous policy at Tate of collecting more widely internationally which has deepened the Collection for future generations. We are delighted to acquire these seminal works which powerfully reflect the diversity of artistic practice in the regions from which they originate.

Frances Morris, Head of Collections (International Art) said:

The ambitious repositioning of Tate’s Collection is a response to the emergence of interesting and dymamic art centres across the world and an ever more complex and interconnected international art scene. Tate aspires to collect the best art regardless of geography and to contribute towards a reshaping of art history reflecting local art histories across the world.

Among the highlights of the Collection acquisitions from around the world recently or currently on display at Tate Modern, are: Cuban American Ana Mendieta’s Untitled (Blood and Feathers #2) 1974 acquired in 2008; Brazilian Hélio Oiticica’s seminal work Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ 1966–7, acquired 2007, Brazilian Cildo Meireles’s - Eureka/Blindhotland 1970-5, acquired 2007 and Japanese Susumu Koshimizu’s From Surface to Surface 1971, remade 1986, acquired 2008.

Many of these acquisitions have been achieved by gift or purchase through Tate’s regionally focused acquisitions committees. Tate has also vastly broadened its collecting to reflect the changes in artistic practice in recent years. It has significantly strengthened its holdings in photography, film and video and performance works. The recent appointment of a Photography Curator and the formation of a Photography Acquisitions Committee, to be launched on 19 May, demonstrates Tate’s ongoing commitment to increasing its focus on collecting photographs. A recent major acquisition to the Collection is Bruce Davidson’s Subway, 47 works taken in the New York subway in the 1980s, now on display on Level 5.