Tate published its Annual Report for 2017/18 today. 8.2 million people came to its four galleries this year and 17.2 million people visited its website. The Tate collection was enhanced by 734 works with a collective value of £22.5 million. 1,510 artworks were lent to venues worldwide, 947 of which went to UK venues. This was an eighty-five per cent increase on the previous year to venues on our shores, underpinning the commitment to lend yet more in the UK.The high point of the year was the opening of the stunning, expanded Tate St Ives on 14 October 2017, giving a permanent presence to those twentieth-century artists who lived and worked in the town, demonstrating the role of St Ives in the story of modern art and offering new spaces for major exhibitions of contemporary art. The new gallery’s success was reflected when it won the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018.
The year was also characterised by a move towards ever greater inclusivity. Through the power and excitement of art, political and societal shifts were reflected, both from history and in contemporary life, giving cultural context to these through exhibitions, displays and programmes. Two uniquely ground-breaking exhibitions took the institution on new and important journeys. Queer British Art 1861-1967 at Tate Britain marked the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in England and Wales. Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at Tate Modern explored what it meant to be a Black artist in the USA during the Civil Rights movement and the birth of Black Power.
In the year when the UK marked the centenary of women’s right to vote, there was strong representation of women artists across the piece. Half of the monographic exhibitions in 2017/18 were of women artists and at Tate Modern half of the solo collection displays focused on women. On 6 February 2018, as part of the centenary of the right to vote for women over the age of thirty, Annie Swynnerton’s portrait of leading suffragist Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett went on prominent display at Tate Britain and was then lent to Manchester Art Gallery. Tate marked the passing of emerging artist Khadija Saye, who died in the Grenfell Tower disaster, with a display of a work from her Dwelling: in this space we breathe series at Tate Britain.
Key acquisitions from the year included Amar Kanwar’s The Lightning Testimonies 2007, an eight-screen installation featuring narratives from women which begin in 1946/47 when India and Pakistan moved towards independence from the British Empire, displayed in January in the Tanks at Tate Modern; Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga’s Wetin You Go Do? 2015; Kerry James Marshall’s painting Untitled (London Bridge) 2017; and from the 18th century, John James Baker’sThe Whig Junto 1710, the only known group portrait of these political peers.
Across the four galleries, exhibitions by well-known artists such as Giacometti, Modigliani, Picasso, Warren and Whiteread were presented. Full voice was also given to those who are less-well known in the UK and whose work tells a different story of art: the Middle Eastern artist Fahrelnissa Zeid at Tate Modern; and at Tate Liverpool, the politically-engaged collective of artists who worked in Cairo in the 1930s and 1940s, for example.
Tate Exchange, one of the institution’s most ambitious and experimental projects, attracted over 60 Associates in 2017/18 who programmed activities at both Tate Modern and Tate Liverpool throughout the year. Lead artist Clare Twomey recreated a ceramics factory at Tate Modern focusing on this year’s theme of production.
Tate’s website recorded 17.2 million visits and Tate grew its digital engagement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, attracting a combined total of 9.2 million people worldwide. For the Modigliani exhibition, specially-developed Virtual Reality technology was used to recreate the artist’s studio to critical acclaim, inviting visitors to experience where he lived and worked in the final months of his life.
UK and international partnerships also brought Tate within reach of national and global audiences and enabled collaborations with colleagues across continents. An exhibition of landscapes from Tate’s collection in Shanghai attracted large numbers of visitors bringing some of the gallery’s finest works to audiences in China. Specially-curated iterations of a Tate Collection exhibition of the Nude went to New Zealand, Korea and Japan, seen by over 200,000 people, while in the UK, the tours of Constable’s ‘Great Salisbury’ and Stott of Oldham’s The Ferryman took these paintings to Scotland and Wales.
A four-year project involving those aged under 25, Circuit, supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, has left long-lasting legacy through the valuable research it produced, and the engagement of over 175,000 people from this age group. It led to the launch of a new membership scheme for 16 to 25 year olds to open up access to exhibition programmes and other initiatives across Tate.
A major opportunity to deepen research activity came when Tate was awarded its largest single research grant to date; $1.5 million from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to develop innovative models for the conservation and management of recent and contemporary art.
Maria Balshaw joined the organisation as the first woman Director of Tate. Anne Barlow became Director of Tate St Ives and Helen Legg was announced as the next Director of Tate Liverpool. Lionel Barber was announced as Chair of Tate with his tenure as a Trustee extended to 2021.
To view the full Tate Annual Report for 2017/18 visit: www.tate.org.uk/about-us/tate-reports