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Yesterday I spent some time at the Tate Modern, located on the south side of the River Thames, right by the Millennium Bridge.

Tate Modern

The museum, housed in a former power plant that closed in 1981, has displayed modern and contemporary art of the Tate collection since 2000.  I enjoy experiencing modern and contemporary art because I think it forces me to look at things from a new perspective.

Picasso: Bowl of Fruit, Violin, and Bottle (1914)

Some of the collection from the 20th century includes works that one typically associates with modern art, such as Picasso’s Bowl of Fruit, Violin, and Bottle (1914), which is a classic example of cubism.

Another part of the museum had works from an art movement called Arte Povera.  This movement took place in Italy in the 1960’s and 1970’s with a group of artists who were radically rethinking the materials used in their artwork.  This group created works out of objects that ordinarily would be considered trash.  One example in this exhibit was a sculpture called Venus of the Rags by Michelangelo Pistoletto.

Pistoletto: Venus of the Rags

The artist used a garden statue of the Roman goddess and a pile of old castoff clothing to demonstrate contrast – modernity to antiquity, beauty to trash, nudity to an abundance of clothing.

This exhibit also included a room full of recent works by a Mexican artist working in Scotland who used old timber, disused buoys, rope, clumps of hair, and sheep excrement to create his works.  Another pair of artists created a 14 minute video of trash flying around.  As I sat there for a few minutes watching the video, I had to ask myself, “Is this really art?”

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