Barlow’s installation at Tate Britain
Phyllida Barlow, dock 2014, Installation view: Tate Britain 2014, (photo: J. Fernandes, Tate Photography)

Phyllida Barlow’s installation, dock 2014, in the Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain has sparked controversy. Director, Penelope Curtis revealed ‘…dock 2014 has exceeded our expectations. The scale and energy of Barlow’s work is immense…’ Barlow has created an immersive installation designed to engage with the architecture of the Duveen Galleries and to relate to the Tate’s position by the Thames.

On 6th April Waldemar Januszczak responded to the installation in an article in The Sunday Times entitled ‘Tate Britain is in a right old mess’ claiming: ‘The gallery is heading down the tubes, and its disastrous director simply has to go.’ He slates the Barlow installation as, ‘too ‘damn art school…drab, grubby, effortful, paint-spattered art-class aesthetics of the 1970s.’

By contrast, Tate Britain has just been short-listed for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2014 for its transformation of the oldest part of the building and the reconstruction of nine galleries with the BP Walk through British Art. Announcing the nominations director of the Art Fund, Stephen Deuchar declared: ‘Penelope Curtis and her team have led a brilliant project.’

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