The idea of philanthropy was close to your heart, and your generosity led to the beginnings of the Tate collection. Since then, artists, collectors and donors have followed your example. For national art institutions, it has never been a more important time to give. Government Grant-in-Aid is no longer a reliable source of income for acquisitions, and art market prices have soared, which means that the actual purchasing power of existing funds has decreased dramatically. Looking at this photograph, we feel that the donors to Tate give in a belief, as you did, that their gift is well placed – it is not going to be lost in a rusty box.
So far, our culture has been reluctant to embrace the benefits of benevolence. However, the recent initiative launched by Tate – Building the Tate collection – will hopefully encourage the practice on a wider scale. It starts with a commitment of £1 million from Tate Members, plus gifts from artists including Richard Hamilton and Rachel Whiteread, as well as further donations from private collectors, such as Lord Attenborough’s gift of several important works including Michael Andrews’s Self Portrait 1959.
The collection is a key part of Tate, and it is the artists who have shaped it. We at Tate Etc., however, wish to add to the energy generated from the institution that carries your name by exploring the work of artists both within Tate and beyond. In this issue, for example, we examine how contemporary artists such as Keith Tyson and Maurizio Cattelan have built on the legacy of one of the great artists of the twentieth century – Joseph Beuys (whose exhibition opens at Tate Modern in February).
We also extend the vision of Turner Whistler Monet (opening at Tate Britain in February) by placing their work alongside that of filmmakers and photographers of the period. Similarly, we take a fresh look at the often misunderstood Salvador Dalí, and celebrate his profound influence on popular culture.
It is often easy to forget that art is about the human touch. Many of the images in this issue show artists at work as well as the art they produce. In this spirit, we include graphic interventions by Lily van der Stokker, specially commissioned by Tate Etc., which appear on the cover. We hope you like them Henry.
Bice Curiger and Simon Grant
What does the term ‘installation art’ mean? Does it apply to big dark rooms that you stumble into to watch videos? Or empty rooms in which the lights go on and off?
August Strindberg (1849–1912) was a celebrated playwright, novelist and poet, whose writing was often filled with his own sense of despair, anxiety and gloom. During regular periods of writing inactivity, he was also a prolific painter and photographer. For Strindberg, the 1890s became known as the ‘Inferno Years’, during which he painted a series of tempestuous seascapes and produced a range of experimental photographs, as well as attempting alchemy and corresponding with occultists. Clément Chéroux explores the influence of the natural sciences on his photographs
August Strindberg painted such tempestuous seascapes in between his writing periods that the 1890s were known as the ‘Inferno Years’. Per Kirkeby remembers his first experience of Strindberg in the Danish National Gallery
Sculptors and architects both work with form in space, albeit on different scales and using varying methods. Anthony Caro, known for taking sculpture off the plinth, likes the idea that the art form ‘has another sort of life… that’s a bit closer to architecture’. On the eve of his retrospective at Tate Britain – its largest sculpture show to date – he shares some common ground with ‘gherkin’ architect Norman Foster
Richard Wentworth saw David Smith’s Wagon II in Smith’s outdoor studio in New York in the 1970s. Here he takes a close, personal look at this ‘absurdly heroic looking piece’
Almost 100 years ago, shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, the Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo proposed the idea that urban and industrial sounds, including the noises of modern warfare, were a new and enthralling source of musical material. Their nature was unprecedented – their intensity, volume, texture and shape – and so musical history should come to an end. The slow evolution of musical language had suffered a massive stroke, to be replaced by a vigorously healthy art of noises. Musician and composer David Toop looks at The Art of Noise
Joseph Beuys is considered by some as the most important of the post-war period – a sculptor, performance artist, teacher and political activist who shifted the emphasis away from the artist as ‘object maker’ to focus on his opinions, his personality and his actions. To others he was a conman and a showman. Francesco Bonami explores how contemporary artists have both borrowed from and developed his approach
Matt Watkins talks to the German artist Thomas Demand about how he makes his photographs
‘God save the King!’ was one of Dalí’s last, typically provocative, public pronouncements. As two touring centenary exhibitions of his work continue, Vincent Pécoil goes beyond the common perception of the Surrealist master to explore his profound influence on popular culture, from Vogue magazine cover and Chupa Chups sweet wrapper designs to his fascination with the world of cinema
When Diedrich Diederichsen went to Cadaquès in the late 1970s he wasn’t expecting to stumble into the surreal world of Salvador Dalí
Elisabeth Bronfen, Lucinda Hawksley, John Paul Lynch and Callum Innes reflect on a work in the Tate collection
In 1934 the sculptor John Skeaping told the Daily Mail: ‘Perhaps I ought to tell you that I have concealed something in the belly of my horse.’ In his third visit to the Tate archives, the poet Paul Farley discovers some hidden thoughts left for posterity
Sculptors and architects both work with form in space, albeit on different scales and using varying methods. Anthony Caro, known for taking sculpture off the plinth, likes the idea that the artform ‘has another sort of life… that’s a bit closer to architecture’. On the eve of his retrospective at Tate Britain – its largest sculpture show to date – American artist Charles Ray tells Michael Fried about Caro’s influence on his work
When the seventeenth-century diarist John Evelyn described London as a ‘Hellish and dismall Cloud of SEA-COALE’, he was one among many affected by the city’s air. Despite this, many artists, photographers and writers have been drawn to the River Thames, depicting it as both beautiful and terrible. To coincide with the Turner Whistler Monet exhibition at Tate Britain, art historian John House and filmmaker Patrick Keiller talk about how London’s light has had an impact on the depiction of its river