Tate Modern

James Rosenquist and Allora & Calzadilla

Natalie Bell Building Level 4 East

James Rosenquist, Skull Snap, 1989. © James Rosenquist/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2018

International artists have responded in different ways to the impact of mass media and communications

The rooms in this display include a diverse range of techniques and materials and feature art made using TV sets or sent via post. The artworks presented here raise questions around consumerism, gender and the power of information technologies.

In this room, works by James Rosenquist and the duo Allora & Calzadilla address the idea of observing Earth from space. They offer different perspectives on how technology has enabled people to connect across the globe, with huge impact on society and nature.

Rosenquist began his career as a billboard painter. In the 1960s he started using images from advertising to comment on a world increasingly obsessed with products and celebrities. These two large prints, from the series Welcome to the Water Planet 198 8 - 89, imagine what the Earth might look like from above. Using fragments of oversized products and faces, Rosenquist hints at the impact of consumer culture on the environmental balance of the planet.

Working together since the 1990s, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla make installations and performances that address global power relations. Ten Minute Transmission 2003 is a model in the shape of the International Space Station (ISS) made from hundreds of metal coat hangers. It serves as the elaborate antenna for a radio that attempts to make contact with the real ISS as it passes overhead. The artists want to draw attention to what international means: Despite its name, the ISS is controlled by a handful of powerful nations in the global north; this poses a big political question about who gets to be represented in the extraterrestrial realm.

Curated by Valentina Ravaglia


Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Art in this room

All rooms in this display