One of my favourite cheap things to do in London when friends are visiting is to do ‘Tate to Tate‘, as I have recently named it. This involves (obviously) visiting both Tates – Britain and Modern – in the space of an afternoon. It’s made very easy: you just take the river boat which goes direct from Tate Modern to Tate Britain (or the other way round) for a small fee. Even though it’s not completely free, it’s worth remembering that unlike in most other European countries, you don’t pay to get into either museum. There are exhibitions which you need to buy tickets for, but if it’s not something you really want to see, it’s not always worth paying for, & you can spend a perfectly busy afternoon in the free parts…
Prices from http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-boat
- Adults – £6.50 single, £12 return
- Tate Members – £4.90
- Child under 16 with Travelcard – £2.15
- Travelcard holder or London Student Card Single £4.30
- Children under 5 travel for free
Okay, not everybody loooves the Saatchi Gallery, because most of its contents don’t really count as ‘art’. But that’s the problem: who decides what art is? If you prefer more traditional paintings etc, go to the Wallace Collection.
The Saatchi Gallery does, in fact, have a lot going for it. Firstly, it’s in Duke of York Square which is nice to walk around, and there’s the King’s Road so it’s not like you have to make a specific journey. Secondly, it’s FREE so you literally walk in while you’re taking a break from shopping/ eating and if you hate everything in there, it doesn’t matter. Also, a lot of the stuff they have in there is often really cool: a black room filled with lasers/ a giant plastic ball filled with air which you can climb into/ a room filled with oil but the reflection of the ceiling is so misleading you think you’re looking into an empty space. So whilst it isn’t traditional art in the form of renaissance paintings, it is an enjoyable way to spend an hour if you’re sheltering from the rain or happen to be passing by. Plus, the gift shop is really cool.
The Tate Britain is one of my favourite places to visit in London, mainly because it is mostly free, but partly because the building is so beautiful. There are, of course, paying exhibitions on all the time, but it’s not always worth it. The Gary Hume and Patrick Caulfield exhibitions are on at the moment, and while they’re great to see if you have a pass which lets you in without paying (as I do) I wouldn’t recommend paying £14.50 to go. Probably the best thing to visit at Tate Britain is the “BP Walk through British Art” – and this is what the gallery has to say about it:
The BP Walk through British Art offers a circuit of Tate Britain’s unparalleled collection from its beginnings to its end. This ‘walk through time’ has been arranged to ensure that the collection’s full historical range, from 1545 to the present, is always on show. There are no designated themes or movements; instead, you can see a range of art made at any one moment in an open conversational manner.
Basically, it’s a collection of British art from the past 500 years, laid out in a way which means you’re walking through time. It’s so interesting to see art curated like this – it’s so easy to see how the styles evolved over the centuries, and how everything from painting techniques to subject matter has changed. As well as paintings, there are also sculptures on display, by leading artists like Henry Moore. The great thing about the Walk Through British Art is that it’s so massive, you don’t have to spend much time on each painting. And because you haven’t paid to get in, you don’t feed bad zooming through until you see something which really catches your interest…
If you’re looking for somewhere cool, cheap and fun to visit to in Valencia, the IVAM is the place to go. IVAM (pronounced like ee-bam) stands for the ‘instituto valenciano de arte moderno’ and for students, entry is only €1. It was the first museum in Spain devoted exclusively to modern art, and is now the main attraction for art-lovers who visit the city. The building itself, along with the actual art inside, is super cool: it has a glass staircase which is kind of funky to walk up… When I went to IVAM there were various exhibitions open, but the two best were called “ARTE Y ESPIRITUALIDAD” (Art and Spirituality) and “After all, tomorrow is another day”. Jorge Pineda was the man behind After all, tomorrow is another day, which is weirdly varied and seemingly random. There’s a big box on the floor filled with the circular bits of paper you get when you holepunch and page, a cardboard forest, and a golden skeleton lying in a room with blackboard walls scribbled on by visitors in chalk. Probably the weirdest/ freakiest is a set of kids (made out of wood or something maybe?) with their heads against the wall…
(photos from www.turisvalencia.es and tumblr.com )