Press Release

Tate Britain to unveil complete rehang in May 2023

Tate Britain, Millbank Facade. Photo by Rikard Österlund

On 23 May 2023, Tate Britain will open a complete rehang of its free collection displays. This will be the first time in ten years that the national collection of British art is presented anew. Visitors will discover over 800 works by over 350 artists, featuring much-loved favourites and recent discoveries, alongside brand new commissions.

Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, said: “When our new displays open on 23 May, visitors to Tate Britain will be able to explore 500 years of revolutionary changes in art, culture and society, culminating in new work by some of Britain’s most exciting contemporary artists. We will celebrate the very best of British art and show how it speaks to us, challenges us, and inspires us.”

The most iconic works from the world’s greatest collection of British art will be free for all to see, from John Everett Millais’ Ophelia and William Hogarth’s The Painter and his Pug to David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash, Barbara Hepworth’s Pelagos and Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry. There will be a career-spanning display of over 100 works by JMW Turner, as well as rooms devoted to key figures in art history like William Blake, John Constable, the Pre-Raphaelites and Henry Moore, and a series of regularly changing solo displays exploring other ground-breaking artists, including Annie Swynnerton, Richard Hamilton, Aubrey Williams and Zineb Sedira.

The rehang will reflect the ongoing transformation of Tate’s collection by putting on display over 200 works which were acquired after the millennium. These include 70 works which entered the collection in the past 5 years alone, from grand Tudor portraits and Georgian battle scenes, to modern paintings and sculptures by Derek Jarman, Gluck, Takis, Kim Lim and Donald Locke. Visitors will also find works by a new generation of young artists who are joining the national collection for the first time, such as a kaleidoscopic canvas by Rachel Jones (b.1991) and a series of photographs capturing 21st century British life by Rene Matić (b.1997).

Women artists will be better represented than ever before. Half the contemporary artists on display will be women, from Bridget Riley and Tracey Emin to Kudzanai-Violet Hwami and Lydia Ourahmane. Tate’s longstanding commitment to diversifying its collection means the gallery can also showcase great women artists from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including many who have never been shown at Tate before. These include a full-length portrait from 1650-5 by Joan Carlile, thought to be the first woman in Britain to work as a professional oil painter (acquired in 2016), a selection of watercolours by Emily Sargent made on her travels in North Africa (acquired in 2021), and the atmospheric painting A Fisher Girl’s Light 1899 by Marianne Stokes (acquired in 2022).

Polly Staple, Tate’s Director of Collection, British Art, said: “Tate Britain’s new displays will embody our commitment to expanding the canon and diversifying British art history. In recent years we have brought so many incredible works into Tate’s collection and visitors will soon be able to see these new acquisitions hung alongside more familiar and much-loved classics.”

Tate’s art installation team are currently preparing to stage a number of complex large-scale works made from unusual materials, from the eight tonnes of rice and two thousand flowers that respectively comprise Vong Phaophanit’s Neon Rice Field and Anya Gallaccio’s Preserve ‘beauty’, to the glass and steel sculptures embedded with UV lights in Hamad Butt’s spectacular Transmission, which will be shown at Tate for the first time. To celebrate the opening of the new displays, contemporary artists will also be creating and installing works beyond the gallery spaces, including two climbable concrete sculptures by Sarah Lucas on the front lawn and a site-specific ceiling painting by France-Lise McGurn in the Djanogly Café.

Andrea Schlieker, Director of Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Britain, said: “This will be a wonderful moment for Tate Britain and a great chance for us to showcase British artistic talent. Working with innovative contemporary artists, we can offer a new lens through which to see the art of the past and provide inspiration to future generations.”

Work on the rehang is now underway and will continue over the coming months, with more details to be announced in May.