Not a lot of people know that Tate store most of their artworks in a building on Mandela Way, just off the New Kent Road. We invited the Lunch Club to go on a tour of the stores, which isn’t usually open to the public, and as a comparison to the two trips we’ve done to Tate Modern.
We were given the tour by one of the art handlers, who talked us through the processes they use for protecting, conserving and moving the artwork around.
At one point we asked him to open up one of the huge sliding racks that hold stored paintings, and I was pleased to recognise one of them as being by Hurvin Anderson. Hurvin is a fellow south Londoner and the painting was one of the series he made of Caribbean barbers’ shops in the area so it was a happy coincidence.
Back at Pembroke House we had lunch and then talked about the experience of the Stores visit. Although we did talk a bit about the way in which we give value to objects for different reasons and keep them packed away, the group also expressed a slight feeling of frustration that all the work was hidden away from view for so long. One woman suggested that the work should be given out to be in the community and be seen, even if it ended up being damaged.
We also had a talk from one of the architects about the new Tate extension, including about testing the gaps between the bricks to see if pigeons can fit in them.