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Tate Museums Report Record Year

Tate and its family of galleries have had one of the most successful years ever, and have managed to maintain their independent income in the face of recession and government cuts. At its annual press conference today, Tate announced total visitor figures of 7.4 million to its four galleries between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011 and 19 million unique users to its award-winning website. This makes Tate the most popular arts organisation in the world after the Louvre in Paris.

Achievements of the year include:

287 works were acquired for the Tate Collection via purchase or bequest

During this period Tate extended the geographical reach of its Collection with major acquisitions of contemporary and modern art from the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Tate’s Photography Acquisition Committee was launched in May 2010 and has made significant progress in building Tate’s holdings of photography. These have been further augmented through remarkable generosity. For example, Red 1968-75, eighty-four photographs by Ukrainian artist Boris Mikhailov documenting scenes of everyday life in his home city of Kharkov, was purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and Konstantin Grigorishin.

Tate lent works to 153 venues in the UK and 118 international venues during this period. Tate’s highly successful national partnership programme, Plus Tate, expanded to eighteen of the country’s most dynamic visual arts organisations.

ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions continued to tour nationally reaching nineteen venues in communities up and down the country from St Ives to Orkney.

In 2010-11, 62% of Tate’s funding came from private not public sources. Over the past five years Tate has increased its self-generated income by 15% compared to the 5% increase in grant-in-aid.

Work began on the Tate Britain Millbank Project in spring 2011, which will transform spaces for art, improve visitor facilities and open up the first floor of the gallery to the public for the first time since 1927.

The development of Tate Modern continued to move forward, which will provide 70% more space to display the Collection and programme and enable more works to be brought out of storage. The development’s pioneering new learning spaces were heralded with the opening of the renovated Clore Learning Centre at Tate Modern in spring 2011. The gallery celebrated its 10th anniversary in May 2010.

Followers on social networking sites grew to over 200,000 on Facebook and over 300,000 on Twitter and Tate Curators contributed to exhibition blogs for the first time.

Over 25,000 children nationally took part in the making of the Tate Movie Project, The Itch of the Golden Nit, an animation made by and for children, broadcast on BBC TV. Tate Movie Project is part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and the project is supported by Legacy Trust UK, BP and the BBC.

Over 40 archives were pledged as gifts to the Tate Archive in celebration of its 40th

Major works acquired for the Tate Collection:

A room-sized installation, Staircase-111 2010, by leading Korean artist Do Ho Suh, consisting of a translucent red polyester staircase suspended from a horizontal ceiling. The work was purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2011.

A major work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Double Portrait) 1991, a joint purchase with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, with assistance from the American Patrons of Tate and the Latin American Acquisitions Committee.

An important ink drawing by Francis Picabia, Alarm Clock 1919.

Two of only four known works in oil on paper by the seventeeth-century artist, Mary Beale. The intimate sketches from the 1660s are of the artist’s son, Bartholomew Beale.

Significant works by a number of important artists who are entering the Collection for the first time this year such as Lynda Benglis, Isa Genzken, On Kawara and Paul Noble.

Generous donations of work to the ARTIST ROOMS Collection from Robert Therrien, Jenny Holzer and Jannis Kounellis.

Programme highlights:

Gauguin: Maker of Myth at Tate Modern, which presented the artist in a fascinating new light, drew the third highest attendance for an exhibition in Tate’s history.

TheHenry Mooreexhibition, which aimed to reawaken interest in an artist whose work has become familiar to many, was a great popular success first in London and then in Toronto and Leeds.

Picasso: Peace and Freedom, which investigated the artist’s often overlooked role as a political campaigner and activist, attracted more than 95,000 visitors to Tate Liverpool, making it the second most popular exhibition in the gallery’s history.

In October 2010 Tate St Ives presented the UK’s first retrospective of Peter Lanyon in almost forty years.

The success of major art commissions during this period included Harrier and Jaguar, Fiona Banner’s work for the Duveens Commission at Tate Britain, supported by Sotheby’s, and Sunflower Seeds, Ai Weiwei’s installation of over 100 million porcelain seeds for The Unilever Series in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

Special initiatives took place across Tate aimed at developing new audiences, including working with local communities, and developing Young Tate, a space for young people to discover and discuss art online.

Image: Tate Modern

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