New, New Tate St Ives, so good they built it twice.

I have seen the New Tate St Ives in all its glory. And I do really mean glory. From the moment I went through the main door I felt a completely different atmosphere in the gallery. It seemed much more open and warm, colourful and inclusive and, happily, it appears not to have dumbed down – which has often been the fate of so many re-vamped institutions. The Tate St Ives had to tunnel through one of the hardest stones on the planet, Blue Alvin, to create this new gallery space and the sense of welcome and friendliness I received certainly proves that they have got rid of the hard core!

It is a long climb up to the new galleries but one should suffer for one’s art and this climb is so very well worth it. The Modern Art and St Ives section is an utter joy. We have been waiting years for this sort of tribute and celebration of many local artists’ work and now we have something that is damn near perfect.

There is so much wonderful work here by so many fabulous painters and sculptors that it would be insidious to pick out favourites, so here goes. Kenneth Armitage’s sculpture – People in the wind; Graham Sutherland – Miner probing a drill hole; John A Park – Snow Falls on Exmoor and my own personal ‘I want to take this one home’ is Henry Moore’s tiny sculpture Helmet head and shoulders.

On the other hand, the VAST New, New Gallery space is going to be an interesting challenge. It is, at the moment, simply an available and virtually empty space and we wait with slowly misting exhalations to see what develops within and how it can be adapted to suit many different types of exhibitions in the future.

The present exhibition shivering inside this vast whiteness is All that Heaven Allows, by Rebecca Warren. I really thought we had got past the ‘is that an art work or an unfinished plinth’, and as far as emaciated figures go, Giacometti really did do it better, best and superlative.


Volume 32 no 3 Jan/Feb 2018 p 35

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anonymous Surfer
14/03/2018 1:59 pm

Can such a small city possibly support a wharf or construction in the sea for an extension of the Tate St Ives? What about the beach, the surfers, the swimmers? Is art more important?

Josephine Cullers
23/03/2018 10:20 am

Art is about passion, while sport, well sport is sport, here today, gone tomorrow.

“We work in the dark — we do what we can — we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” (from Henry James, The Middle Years)

Charles Windsor
12/03/2018 7:59 am

Last year the famous Italian architect and engineer, Renzo Piano, completed the Centro Botín art museum on stilts at the Santander wharf on the waterside. It hosts the art collections of the Fundación Botín. It might be an interesting solution for the new St Ives extension.

Olivia Hammond
13/02/2018 1:55 pm

The next building extension of the Tate St Ives will be a wharf-side/surf-side addition. Looking forward to it!

Edern Hathaway
14/02/2018 3:54 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Hi Olivia,

Do you know something more about this wharf-side/surf-side addition to the Tate that in St Ives isn’t being discussed yet? it certainly would be a spectacular exhibition space, though I’m sure it will involve coastal engineers and the Environment Agency.


Jeremy Best
04/03/2018 8:44 am
Reply to  Edern Hathaway

Any updates on the Tate St Ives building extension into the sea? I wonder if it will be built on stilts like Prince Albert II of Monaco’s sea extension plan.

Ron Houston
07/03/2018 12:28 pm
Reply to  Edern Hathaway


What do you think of Tom Wright’s design from WS Atkins PLC? It would definitely give a lot of breathing space to the Tate St Ives.

Tamsen Parker
06/03/2018 8:11 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Is Jamie Fobert the architect for this new addition?

Tomas Olsson
07/03/2018 12:05 pm
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Remistudio, a Russian architectural firm, has designed an Ark Hotel that can resist all ocean conditions or any storm. Something similar might be a good solution for the Tate’s new extension. It could easily be moved to a safer cove or harbor, in the case of hurricanes.

Tomas Olsson
22/03/2018 1:52 pm

Looking forward to that answer you promised here above, so what are they planning?

Charles Windsor
08/03/2018 2:03 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Are we perhaps looking at a construction like Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco? It would certainly give ample space to the needs of the Tate St Ives.

Davi Chan
08/03/2018 3:15 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

An interesting solution is Ocean Terminal extension in Hong Kong:

Richard van Kaam
08/03/2018 12:03 pm
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Imagine instead of apartments an art museum extension into the sea, as they did in New Zealand with Wellington’s Clyde Quay Wharf

John Millerson
09/03/2018 3:08 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Hi Olivia,
I was wondering if you could tell me more about the Tate’s project for their extension into the sea of this very exciting wharf-side/surf-side addition in St Ives? Who is the architect? When is it planned to be completed?
Thank you,

Ann Walter
10/03/2018 1:21 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

It sounds like a very expensive project; I wonder who is paying for it.

Wendy Forecourt
20/03/2018 2:59 pm
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Hi Olivia,
Could you tell me what’s going on down there in St Ives? What’s all this about another extension of the Tate, but this time in the sea?

Lynn and Peter Dorsey
29/03/2018 10:57 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Hi Olivia,
We keep checking the news to find out something more about this new and exciting extension into the sea of the Tate St Ives. Where can we read about it or watch a video on it? Do you know any more? Thanks!

Ann Walter
01/04/2018 2:14 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Olivia’s proposed wharf side sea extension of the Tate St Ives sounds as stupid and absurd as the Secret Boris bridge plan to connect Land’s End to the Scilly Islands, supposedly to be the longest sea bridge in the world, spanning 28 miles. Neither proposal makes any sense. Why connect islands to the mainland that have been fortunately cut off from the rest of the modern world, all in the name of advancement and progress? At what cost?

Barnie Davis
02/04/2018 4:53 am
Reply to  Ann Walter

Hi Ann.
It was another one of the April Fool’s jokes.

Dexter Wallis
25/04/2018 1:04 am
Reply to  Olivia Hammond

Hi Olivia,
Is this another “artwallop” or is the proposed wharf-side sea extension of the Tate St Ives really going to take place?

11/02/2018 9:41 am

Virginia Wolf a Milestone for those who read,

Hugh Stover
24/02/2018 12:38 pm
Reply to  derek guthrie

That says a lot, considering that in the US the “total percentage of college students who will never read another book after they graduate” is 42%!

August 4, 2017 from the Statistic Brain Research Institute

Bryan Townson
12/03/2018 4:21 am
Reply to  derek guthrie

Are you implying that people no longer read?

Aaron Carter
11/02/2018 5:20 am

@SaraThomas: maybe it is a sign of ongoing change throughout art and the museum! I found the Virginia Woolf exhibition was a real change in the way of conceiving a museum. Not only as a space for collecting artwork, but also as a space for thinking, about life and issues that inspired and influenced an artist.

Vivian Hill
11/02/2018 4:05 am


I’ve just seen the new Virginia Woolf exhibition. As a structuralist I couldn’t agree with you more; the New Gallery is much better this way. I’m not so sure though about the disjointed effect of the artworks.


Sara Thomas
11/02/2018 2:09 am

They’ve done better this time with the New Gallery at the Tate in St Ives; the Virginia Woolf exhibition of works inspired by her writings makes this large rectangular room feel less cold and less unappealing. They’ve also put up two walls to divide the room, something else that helps. However, when I visiited the Tate on a cold and blustery winter day, the wind continued to blow wildly all throughout the museum. Is it a sign of change to come?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x