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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 BACK TO SCHOOL BLUES

Posted 9 September 2015 by Kat

Yes, it’s September and it’s very easy to feel a bit blue waking up early, putting your school uniform back on and getting back to the classroom.
However we are hoping to brighten up your first few days at school by giving you some blue inspiration! It might even help start those creative juices flowing in your new art classes! 😉

1. BLUE ACROBATS

Marc Chagall, The Blue Circus, 1950 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015 c. Tate

Marc Chagall, The Blue Circus, 1950 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015 c. Tate

The colour blue can be playful and magical! Marc Chagall loved the circus, especially the acrobats.
This artwork is chaotic and colourful. There are lots of costumes and make up on the characters in this painting! Have a think about what outfits make you feel magical and powerful!

2. BLUE TREES

Helmut Federle, Angkor, Cambodia, 1994 1999–2000 © Helmut Federle c. Tate

Helmut Federle,
Angkor, Cambodia, 1994 1999–2000 © Helmut Federle c. Tate

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is an amazing place! It looks like nature has taken over that temple! Helmut Federle travelled to lots of places to take pictures of trees. Is it weird to see a blue tree? Do you think it is day time or night time in this image? It’s funny how changing the colour of an artwork really changes it! You can even have a go at turning your photos blue with our Digital to Chemical activity.

3. BLUE CHAIRS

Prunella Clough, Colour photograph of blue and pink plastic chairs stacked up outside a shop [1990s] © The estate of Prunella Clough. Tate Archive.

Prunella Clough, Colour photograph of blue and pink plastic chairs stacked up outside a shop [1990s] © The estate of Prunella Clough. Tate Archive.

We really like these blue and pink chairs! Have you ever looked at the chairs in your classroom and thought about making an artwork out of them? You can make art out of lots of different everyday objects, like spoons or plant pots….
Prunella Clough was an English artist who liked looking and making abstract forms and shapes. What objects can you see around you that are just made up of simple shapes? Like triangles or circles?

4. BLUE BUILDING

Graham Sutherland OM, San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice viewed through the arches of the Doge’s Palace,  [c.1961–2] © The estate of Graham Sutherland. Tate Archive

Graham Sutherland OM, San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice viewed through the arches of the Doge’s Palace, [c.1961–2] © The estate of Graham Sutherland. Tate Archive

We love blue biros. I bet you have one in your pencil case. Have you ever sketched with one?
Graham Sutherland went to Venice to draw this! He drew it really fast! What could you draw in 10 minutes? 5 minutes? 1 minute?
Sutherland is mainly known for his surreal artworks. How would you change this sketch into a surreal drawing?

5. BLUE CRYSTALS

Roger Hiorns, Untitled 2006,  © Roger Hiorns, c Tate

Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2006, © Roger Hiorns, c Tate

Roger Hiorns covers rooms and objects with copper sulphate solution and when they liquid evaporates you get these amazing blue crystals! Wow!

What do you think the surface feels like? I wonder if you looked at this really closely what it would look like? Do you think its blue underneath? What ordinary object could you make sparkle and glow like this artwork?

Let us know your thoughts below! What artwork makes you feel less blue? Check out the Tate Kids collection and let us know!

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TOP 5 SEA CREATURES

Posted 23 July 2015 by Kat

As we dive into summer, let’s have a look at some creatures you might come across on your bucket and spade adventures!

1. FISH
If you have a look through that crystal clear water or in that little pond or quick river, we bet you can see some slippery fish splashing around!
Lots of artists have drawn, painted and made fish as artwork. We love these little doodles by Scottie Wilson. He must have drawn these when he was by the sea as you can really see the movement in his drawings! What are you waiting for? Grab a pen and some paper and get doodling!

Scottie Wilson, Blotting paper with doodles of fish date not known © The estate of Scottie Wilson/The Marie Levy Gift

Scottie Wilson, Blotting paper with doodles of fish date not known © The estate of Scottie Wilson/The Marie Levy Gift

2. SEA MONSTERS
What’s that in the distance?! Can you just about make out the shape of that big creature?
How about looking at Pierre Alechinsky’s monster below. Have you ever seen one before? Not many people have! If you were to draw a sea monster what would it look like? Would it be big, thin and blue or would it have lots of legs with suckers on?

Pierre Alechinsky, In the Process of Vanishing, 1978, © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

Pierre Alechinsky, In the Process of Vanishing, 1978, © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2015

3. SHELLS
Have you ever spent hours and hours on the beach looking down at your feet trying to find the best, shiniest shell?
Here are some of Frances Hodgkins’ shells on his table.

Frances Hodgkins, Wings over Water 1930, © Tate

Frances Hodgkins, Wings over Water 1930, © Tate

He’s painted them to look like are shimmering in the light! Artists have great imaginations! This was actually painted in London, but looks like it was painted by the sea!

4. WHALES
Is that a whale with a paint brush?! That is a bit funny!

William Roberts, Study for ‘The Vorticist Whale’ frontispiece to ‘The Resurrection of Vorticism’ by William Roberts 1956 © The estate of William Roberts

William Roberts, Study for ‘The Vorticist Whale’ frontispiece to ‘The Resurrection of Vorticism’ by William Roberts 1956 © The estate of William Roberts

Maybe you won’t stumble across a whale painting on the beach! But it’s interesting to think about what could be the weirdest thing a sea creature could do! How about a sea turtle playing basketball or a seahorse in a real horse race? Maybe you could draw your weird sea creature on the Tate Kids Games

5. LOBSTERS
You shouldn’t put your hand too near a lobster’s pincher because pretty soon they will go…SNAP!

John Craxton, Still Life with Cat and Child 1959 © Estate of John Craxton/DACS 2015

John Craxton, Still Life with Cat and Child 1959 © Estate of John Craxton/DACS 2015

John Craxton was staying in Greece when he painted this artwork. He was inspired by the colour and feel of the coastline there.

What sea creatures have you seen (or imagined!) this summer holidays? Have you come across any fantastic beasts or beautiful shells? Draw, paint and create – we would love to see them on My Gallery!

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WHO IS…SALVADOR DALI?

Posted 6 May 2015 by Kat

Salvador Dalí made paintings, sculptures and films about the dreams he had. He painted melting clocks and floating eyes, clouds that looked like faces and rocks that looked like bodies. Sounds weird right? Think about what your paintings would look like if you painted your dreams? I bet they would be pretty weird too!

Dalí was involved with Surrealism, which is an art movement where painters made dream-like scenes and showed situations that would be bizarre or impossible in real life. Look at his painting below – don’t you think the lake is also the shape of a fish??

Salvador Dalí, Mountain Lake 1938, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Mountain Lake 1938, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

The Surrealist artists were influenced by a man called Sigmund Freud. He was a psychoanalyst, which is the name for a doctor who studies the human mind and tries to understand it. Freud believed our mind was divided into two parts: the conscious part and the unconscious part. The conscious mind is what we use to make decisions everyday, like whether we walk or ride a bike to school. The unconscious mind is where our memories are stored. Most of the time we are not aware of our unconscious mind, but sometimes the memories stored there get mixed up in our dreams and this is what Dalí tried to paint.

Dalí was born in 1904 in Figueres, Spain which is near the Pyrenees Mountains. Surrounded by this landscape as he was growing up, Dalí often included the scenery he saw as a boy in his paintings. Below is one of his paintings. Can you see the Spanish landscape in the background? The hand holding the egg mirrors the man sitting in the water. There are a lot of odd things going on in the background that don’t seem to be connected. What else can you see?

Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937. © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937. © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí was a very eccentric man. Here is a picture of him…

Salvador Dalí on the set of the film Spellbound Source: BFI Image Rights of Salvador Dali reserved. Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2007

Salvador Dalí on the set of the film Spellbound
Source: BFI
Image Rights of Salvador Dali reserved. Fundación Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2007

You can always recognise him because he has a funny moustache. He liked to dress in flamboyant clothes and have long hair which people found very shocking at the time. Dalí was even expelled from art school just before his final exams because he said that none of the teachers were qualified to examine him. Cheeky!

After he left art school he went to Paris where he met the Surrealists. The Surrealists appealed to his wild sense of humour, they invented surrealist games and enjoyed putting different objects together to make something playful and disturbing at the same time. Here is Dalí’s version of a surrealist sculpture. It is called Lobster Telephone. You couldn’t call anything on that! What two objects could you put together which would be as surreal as this?

Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Lobster Telephone 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

In 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out and Dalí was greatly affected by it. Here is Dalí’s painting about the war.

Salvador Dalí, Autumnal Cannibalism 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

Salvador Dalí, Autumnal Cannibalism 1936, © Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation/DACS, London 2015

The background is mainly brown, yellow and black, representing the Spanish landscape. The strange forms in the foreground represent a man and a woman. It’s pretty gross, but they are eating bits of each other’s flesh with a knife, a fork and a spoon. Dalí is actually saying something very simple with this painting; that by fighting, the Spanish people are destroying their country and each other.

When Dalí was in Paris he also made a film with the director Luis Buñuel called Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog). It was the first surrealist film and had no plot, just a series of scenes that only slightly link together. Later, Dalí went to Hollywood and worked on other films with famous directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney.

Dalí liked to use lots of different materials to make art, including paint, sculpture and film. He even designed furniture, jewels and scenery for theatre production. He was a man of many talents and he is still seen as one of the great artists who influences many artists today!

What do you think of Dalí’s artwork? Is it funny, weird, scary? Let us know in the comments below!

Could you make a surreal drawing on one of the Tate Kids games? What would you draw?…

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