The New Tate

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is returning to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with a huge tree sculpture to mark the gallery’s transformation.


The work is a 22ft-tall sculpture bolted together from parts of dead trees. It will go on show in the entrance to the museum that Weiwei filled with porcelain sunflower seeds in 2010.

Tate’s new 10-storey building, the Switch House, will include three floors of galleries connected to the current building by a bridge, café, restaurant, members room and viewing terrace.

Visitors will arrive on 17 June to find Ai Weiwei’s recently acquired Tree (2015)—one of many works added to the collection since 2000 when Tate Modern opened—on the bridge over the central Turbine Hall. Three quarters of the works selected for new displays in the galleries in the Boiler House and Switch House have been acquired over the past 15 years.


The displays across the galleries will be more international and include more works by women. Artists from 57 countries will be represented to expand the presentations of Modern and contemporary art. Morris said that “familiar histories will be refocused,” by adding the “pre-history of global art” as well as showing a “fully global” view of contemporary art. She gave as an example the Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles’s Babel (2001), a tower of 800 transistor radios creating a “global chatterbox”.


Familiar works from the collection will be on display in new ways in the Boiler House galleries, including Picasso’s Weeping Women (1937), which will be placed in the context of civil wars alongside depictions of other conflicts. Matisse’s The Snail (1953) will be among the works hung in a space designed to introduce first-time visitors to the gallery. But the walls of Tate Modern’s Rothko room will be the same grey, Morris said. A new app supported by Bloomberg will help visitors find their way around the displays and bigger building.


Serota and Morris said they will be glad to get the Tanks back. These are the performance and installation spaces beneath the new extension, which opened briefly in 2012.