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TOP 5 RIDICULOUS CHRISTMAS PRESENTS

Posted 5 December 2016 by Kat

We all get those terrible Christmas presents. From that itchy sick-green scarf knitted by your Gran to that 500-paged book on fishing that you are never going to read. Just me then…?

Well, how about ridiculous presents? Fancy having the artworks below wrapped up under the tree, waiting for you on Christmas morning?

1. David Batchelor, I Love King’s Cross and King’s Cross Loves Me

6 coloured rectangles on wheels. What more could you ask for? They would make excellent sledges! The artist David Batchelor loves colour and explores it in lots of different ways. Have you thought about colour? Really thought about colour? Batchelor thinks about colour in the city. Next time you are on a walk, have a look around you. What colours can you see? Are there any rectangles of colours?

David Batchelor, I Love King’s Cross and King’s Cross Loves Me, 8 2002–7 © David Batchelor c. Tate

David Batchelor, I Love King’s Cross and King’s Cross Loves Me, 8 2002–7 c. Tate © David Batchelor

2. Lynda Benglis, Quartered Meteor

Ew! That isn’t very pretty! I wonder how this could even be wrapped up?

The artist Lynda Benglis, made this slippy looking sculpture out of lead and steel! I wonder what it feels like. Benglis makes this look soft and sloppy while actually being really hard. Clever!

Lynda Benglis, Quartered Meteor 1969, cast 1975 c. Tate

Lynda Benglis, Quartered Meteor 1969, cast 1975 c. Tate

3. Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds

What are you going to do with all those seeds? Plant them? Well actually that wouldn’t be that useful as these ‘seeds’ are actually made out of porcelain! Each ‘seed’ was individually made by hand! That’s a lot of work!

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds 2010 c. Tate

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds 2010 c. Tate

4. Damien Hirst, Mother and Child (Divided)

Yes, they are real cows! Hope you like it! I think it would look great in your bathroom! Damian Hirst thinks a lot about death and religious imagery. What do you think these cows are about?

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child (Divided), exhibition copy 2007 (original 1993) c. Tate

Damien Hirst, Mother and Child (Divided), exhibition copy 2007 (original 1993) c. Tate

5. Do Ho Suh Staircase-III

Yes, that’s a red staircase hanging in your living room. Wow!

This staircase is a copy of Do Ho Suh’s staircase in his flat. Does it look the same as the stairs in your house or at school?

Do Ho Suh’s art shows us different types of spaces. What happens on stairs? You’re either going up or down them. Where are you going? What if you stopped half way down the stairs? Where would you be?

Do Ho Suh Staircase-III 2010 c. Tate

Do Ho Suh Staircase-III 2010 c. Tate

All these art works would make great gifts even if they would be a little silly to wrap up!

What’s the silliest present you have received?
Is there anything in the Tate collection that you would love to find under your tree?
What ridiculous Christmas present would you love to give? Let me know in the comments below!

I wouldn’t mind one of these for me and my friends…! 😉

Simon Starling, Five-Man Pedersen (Prototype No.1) 2003 c. Tate

Simon Starling, Five-Man Pedersen (Prototype No.1) 2003 c. Tate

Happy Holidays guys!

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TOP 5 PLAYGROUNDS

Posted 8 June 2016 by Kat

The new Tate Modern is opening next week. It’s your space to explore, play and see some great art.

What if the whole of Tate Modern was a playground?

Come and whiz through some of our playgrounds and re-think what a playground can be!

1. Fly away

Wolfgang Suschitzky, Hampstead Heath Fair 1949, later print, © Wolfgang Suschitzky

Wolfgang Suschitzky, Hampstead Heath Fair 1949, later print, © Wolfgang Suschitzky

We love this photograph of people having fun on a ride. It was taken by Wolfgang Suschitzky, who was born in Austria but moved to London in the 1930s. He took lots of photographs documenting the lives of ordinary people living in London. But although this photograph is of ordinary people, it’s an extraordinary picture. By carefully choosing where to stand to take the photograph he captures the dynamic flying-through-the-air movement of the ride and the exhilaration of the people enjoying it.

2. A DIY playground

But not all playgrounds have to be spectacular (or involve big scary rides). This painting is of a very different kind of playground…a DIY one.

William Roberts Playground (The Gutter) 1934-5, c. Tate

William Roberts, Playground (The Gutter) 1934-5, c. Tate

These children are using the street as their playground and seem to be having just as much fun. All sorts of activities are happening. Cricket, piggyback riding, music-making…and what seems to be a mass skipping game. Could you make a similar scene with your friends in the school playground?

3. Shake, rattle and roll

This playground is not where you might expect a playground to be…can you guess where it is? If I tell you it’s an artwork, this might give you a clue. Yes that’s right…it’s in an art gallery.

Installation view of the Robert Morris retrospective, Tate Gallery, 1971 Tate © Robert Morris

Installation view of the Robert Morris retrospective, Tate Gallery, 1971 Tate © Robert Morris

In 1971 artist Robert Morris was invited to create an artwork for Tate. The work he made, (and you may have to take a deep breath before reading the title!), was called Bodyspacemotionthings. It was the first work of art shown at Tate that you could play on. You’re usually not supposed to touch artworks in galleries (as they are too fragile) but people were encouraged to climb, balance, crawl and roll on the huge ramps, tunnels, platforms and beams made by the artist for the installation.

You missed Robert Morris’s original playground…but don’t worry, Tate recreated Bodyspacemotionthings at Tate Modern in 2009 and recorded the whole thing! Watch this video and discover just what a fantastic playground it was.

4. Art slides

Image of Carsten Höller’s Test Site, part of the Unilever Series at Tate Modern. Carsten Höller, Test Site, © Tate Photography.

Image of Carsten Höller’s Test Site, part of the Unilever Series at Tate Modern. Carsten Höller, Test Site, © Tate Photography.

Here’s another playground artwork. It was an installation by artist Carsten Holler at Tate Modern. Every year an artist is invited by Tate to make an installation for the huge Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. (The Turbine Hall is the massive room at the heart of the building where all the machinery was when the building was a power station – before it became Tate Modern!). Lots of artists make art for specific spaces (this is called site-specific art), but it’s quite tricky to think of an artwork that can fill such a huge space. What would you make?

Rather than seeing the space as a problem Carsten Holler used its massiveness, creating mega-slides that went between the different floors. People could go on the slides and whiz down right through the Turbine Hall.

5. What fun feels like

Our final playground isn’t exactly a picture OF a playground…instead it captures the fun and excitement of how whizzing down a slide and flying sky-high on a swing makes us feel.

Wassily Kandinsky Swinging 1925 c. Tate

Wassily Kandinsky, Swinging, 1925 c. Tate

The artist Wassily Kandinsky believed that colours, lines and shapes affect our feelings and emotions in the same way that music can. You know how a slow sad song makes you feel down and a pop song with a happy, fast beat makes you want to dance? Well Kandinsky believed that creating a painting is like composing music.

In 1911 he wrote: ‘colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul’.

What does playing in a playground make you feel like? Have a go at using bright colours, dynamic shapes and lines shooting into the air to express your whizzing, climbing, running, dizzying playground experiences!

We would love to see you perfect art playgrounds. Paint, draw and make it, then share on My Gallery.

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TOP 5 MONSTERS

Posted 6 April 2016 by Kat

1. Monster mutt

William Blake, Cerberus 1824–7, c. Tate

William Blake, Cerberus 1824–7, c. Tate

You probably wouldn’t want to pat this dog on the head. For a start you’d need to decide which head to pat…Meet Cerberus the three headed dog that, in Greek mythology, guards the gates of the underworld. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter this monster mutt may seem familiar…the character (rather disconcertingly) known as Fluffy, the fierce three-headed dog that guards the magical philosopher’s stone, is based on Cerberus.

2. Gruesome ghouls

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944, c. Tate

Francis Bacon, Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion c.1944, c. Tate

What are those things? When this painting was first shown, visitors at the exhibition who saw it were terrified, as the images were ‘so awful that the mind shut up with a snap at the sight of them’. Where on earth did Francis Bacon get his gruesome ideas? Apparently he was inspired by some strange sources, including photographs from a medical book about diseases of the mouth, and ectoplasm (which is a kind of horrible gunky liquid produced by ghosts!). Eughhhh!

As well as being very scary, the screaming heads look as if they are in agony. The picture was painted towards the end of the Second World War, so the monsters perhaps symbolise the suffering and horror of the war.

3. Humanimalirdies?

Karel Appel, Hip, Hip, Hoorah! 1949, © Karel Appel Foundation

Karel Appel, Hip, Hip, Hoorah! 1949, © Karel Appel Foundation

Phew what a relief…some jolly-looking monsters. These creature hybrids are a mix of humans, animals and birds. Can you work out which body bits belong to which species? Karel Appel belonged to CoBrA, a group of artists who were inspired by art made by children. The bright colours and playful style are typical of CoBrA artworks. Appel said that he called the work Hip Hip Hooray because he was so happy that he didn’t have to paint in a boring grown-up style.

Tate Kids has invented the name ‘humanimalirdies’ for these creatures (that’s a mix of ‘human’, ‘animal’ and ‘birdies’). Create your own monster mixes and invent names for them. Try out Tate Paint or Street Art. Look at drawings by artist Stephen Gilbert, who was also a CoBrA artist, for inspiration. He drew lots of monster-y looking mixed-up creatures in his sketchbooks. You can see them here.

4. Rock monsters

Eileen Agar, Photograph of ‘Le Lapin’ rock in Ploumanach July 1936 c. Tate

Eileen Agar, Photograph of ‘Le Lapin’ rock in Ploumanach July 1936 c. Tate

This photograph of a ‘monster’ was taken by artist Eileen Agar at the seaside in Cornwall. Yes, it is a rock – but can you see a monster rabbit lurking in its bumps and lumps? Agar saw strange faces and other bits of body in the shapes of these Cornish seaside rocks, and described them as ‘enormous prehistoric monsters sleeping on the turf above the sea’. She was inspired by the power of nature and loved the fact that these strange monster rocks had been created purely by the forces of water and wind. She also had silly names for them, that described their body-bit shapes…such as ’Rockface’ and ‘Bum and Thumb Rock’.

5. Be a young Frankenstein

Jake Chapman, Dinos Chapman, Exquisite Corpse 2000, © Jake and Dinos Chapman

Jake Chapman, Dinos Chapman, Exquisite Corpse 2000, © Jake and Dinos Chapman

Have you ever played that game where you draw a head, fold the paper over so your head drawing is hidden, and then pass the paper on to someone else who draws the body? Did you know that the surrealists invented it? They called the game Le Cadavre Exquis (which is French for The Exquisite Corpse).

The Chapman brothers made this artwork together. They drew onto etching plates instead of pieces of paper. They like to use particularly monster-like body parts, like skulls, eyeballs and animal heads. What else can you see in their artwork?

Have a go for yourself with your family and friends. Share it with us on My Gallery. We’d love to see the scary, funny and weird monsters you create.

 

 

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TOP 5 DOODLES

Posted 17 February 2016 by Kat

Daydreaming already? Has your pen started scribbling on the page?

A doodle is a drawing made while a person’s mind is thinking about something else. Let’s take a peep at what artists’ minds get up to when they are busy planning masterpieces. Get some doodle inspiration to inspire your own amazing works of art.

1. Taking a line for a walk

Artist Paul Klee said ‘a line is a dot that went for a walk’. This is often what happens with a doodle…you don’t plan to draw, your pencil just seems to wander off across the paper. This drawing is made from an almost unbroken line that makes a series of round-cornered, boxes. The artist then added stick legs and eyes to make the shapes into a quirky character.

Paul Klee, Burdened Children 1930 Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994

Paul Klee, Burdened Children 1930. Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994

Why not have a go at taking a dot for a walk. Don’t plan your picture. Just let your pencil wander randomly. See what happens when you add eyes, arms and legs to your doodle.

2. Add some doodle dabs of colour

Artist Scottie Wilson has used a page in his sketchbook to try out colours. He was probably mixing colours for a painting and wanted to see if they were the right shade. But can you also spot, among the colourful blobs, a doodle bird and some doodle fish? Blob some colour to your doodles and check out the results.

Scottie Wilson 1889–1972, Trial board with a variety of paints and ink with some doodles of birds date not known. c. Tate Archive

Scottie Wilson 1889–1972, Trial board with a variety of paints and ink with some doodles of birds date not known. c. Tate Archive

Artists sometimes use sketchbooks to draw things they see or work out ideas for works of art they want to make. Sometimes sketchbooks are just places to think and doodle in. Have a look at Cecil Collins sketchbook below and discover just how useful doodling is as a thinking tool.

Cecil Collins 1908–1989, Abstract study of a head, with house, tree and bird. c. Tate Archive

Cecil Collins 1908–1989, Abstract study of a head, with house, tree and bird. c. Tate Archive

3. Doodling the weird and wonderful

When we doodle we aren’t really aware of what we are drawing. Doodles can sometimes be pretty strange and surreal. Look at this drawing by David Shrigley.

David Shrigley, Untitled 2003 © David Shrigley

David Shrigley, Untitled 2003 © David Shrigley

It’s unusual, and somehow manages to be funny and a bit disturbing at the same time. Shrigley describes the way he draws as ‘intuitive’ (which means doing something without logically thinking about it), and also says: ‘doodling would not be an entirely inaccurate description.’

What weird and wonderful pictures lie buried in your head? Try drawing without thinking too much about it and see what happens..

4. Pattern on the loose

Some doodles start as a small shape and then grow, and grow and GROW. Artist Bernard Cohen used an abstract shape as his starting point and then drew around it again and again until he had a pattern of contours. Can you spot the beginning of these layered wiggly lines?

Bernard Cohen Floris 1964, © Bernard Cohen

Bernard Cohen, Floris 1964, © Bernard Cohen

You try it. Draw a random shape. Draw a line around that shape. Then add more and more lines radiating out (like ripples in a pond). You could always use different colours for each line for an even more loopy look.

5. Graffiti doodling

By layering marks, scribbles, jotted down words and doodly drawings, Jim Dine has created a doodle-tastic graffiti effect. By combining all these things, the doodles not only look buzzy and exciting but also seem to actually mean something. What do these layered doodles suggest to you?

Jim Dine, Picabia II (Forgot) 1971 © Jim Dine

Jim Dine, Picabia II (Forgot) 1971 © Jim Dine

Here are some graffiti inspired doodles created on Tate Kids using our Street Art game:

Yoobii, by Montana, age 10, from Oklamhoma

Yoobi, by Montana, age 10, from Oklahoma

Girl, by Cat, aged 13 from UK

Girl, by Cat, aged 13, from UK

Sunset, by Kay, age 10, from Scotland

Sunset, by Kay, age 10, from Scotland

You have a go and create your own layered graffiti doodle drawing…make sure you use plenty of different marks, colours and stickers for that buzzy layered effect!…show us what you can doodle-do!

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TOP 5 PANCAKES

Posted 9 February 2016 by Kat

It’s Shrove Tuesday also known as Pancake Day! One of the yummiest days of the year! Here are our top 5 Pancake Day related artworks in the Tate collection. Tuck in!

1. Frying pan

To make the perfect pancake you need to start with good equipment. Grab your frying pan and let’s get cracking! This painting looks a bit fragile with everything supporting each other! Looks like it might fall at any moment! Watch out! What objects could you place around you that would almost look like it was falling over?

Louisa Matthiasdottir, Still Life with Frying Pan and Red Cabbage, 1979. © The estate of Louisa Matthiasdottir

Louisa Matthiasdottir, Still Life with Frying Pan and Red Cabbage, 1979. © The estate of Louisa Matthiasdottir

2. Grab your ingredients!

Milk makes your pancakes nice and fluffy! This photograph was made by Nigel Henderson. Could you take a picture of all your ingredients in an interesting or weird way? Why not share it on Tate Kids My Gallery? You could also have a go at your own old-school photography in the Veggie Photo Tate Create!

Nigel Henderson, 1949–51, Photograph of a photogram of a milk bottle 1949–51 © Nigel Henderson Estate

Nigel Henderson, 1949–51, Photograph of a photogram of a milk bottle 1949–51 © Nigel Henderson Estate

3. Flat as a pancake

Have you heard of the phrase ‘as flat as pancake’? The artist Cornelia Parker took this quite literally with her artwork and ran over lots of silver objects with a bulldozer! You can find out more information about Parkers work in Art Sparks film. What would happen if you squashed everything in your room?

Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver 1988–9, © Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker, Thirty Pieces of Silver 1988–9, © Cornelia Parker

4. Hungry yet?

Yes! We are starving! This abstract painting by Julian Trevelyan shows some very hungry people! Can you make them out? Maybe try to draw your family looking really hungry on Street Art?

Julian Trevelyan Hungry People 1936–72, © The estate of Julian Trevelyan

Julian Trevelyan Hungry People 1936–72, © The estate of Julian Trevelyan

5. Flip it!

Just before you put all your lovely extra ingredients on the pancake (we’d go for blueberries and honey!) make sure you flip it for luck! 1, 2, 3…!

Remember to share your pancake photos on My Gallery!

Jack Bush, White Flip 1974 © DACS 2016

Jack Bush, White Flip 1974 © DACS 2016

 

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