Tate Liverpool set to close ahead of £30m transformation

Tate Liverpool will close its doors at the Royal Albert Dock next Monday (October 16) ahead of a £29.7m transformation.

The temporary closure at the site, which first opened 35 years ago, is part of the reimagining which will see the gallery reopen in 2025.

In the meantime, Tate Liverpool will move into the nearby Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) North, at Mann Island, from October 27, 2023.

Established in 1988, Tate Liverpool helped create a blueprint for a wave of new galleries across the UK, redefining the role of the museum in the life of a city and leading an innovative cultural regeneration of Liverpool’s post-industrial waterfront.

The gallery has attracted more than 20 million visitors since 1988 and is the most visited modern and contemporary art gallery outside London.

Tate Liverpool is now working with 6a architects to reimagine the gallery spaces to meet the scale and ambition of today’s most exciting artists and to welcome visitors into a brand new museum environment for the 21st century.

The designs show a new public ‘Art Hall’ and events space on the ground floor, opened up to admit sunlight and views across the historic dock.

New gallery spaces over three floors will showcase the incredible diversity of Tate’s collection and are interspersed with public riverside foyers.

The opening up of the gallery’s façade will increase its visibility on the waterfront and within the Royal Albert Dock creating an inviting destination with striking spaces for learning, play, and relaxation.

Helen Legg, director, Tate Liverpool, said: “After 35 years of success in Liverpool and 20 million visitors, the time is right to invest in the next phase of the gallery. We want to do even more for our visitors, our city, and for art by transforming this utterly unique gallery complex.

“Whilst we are embracing renewal, we are determined to retain and celebrate the world class heritage of this remarkable 180-year building, whilst at the same time addressing today’s urgent demands for equality of access, energy-efficiency, and flexible spaces for future generations.”

Maria Balshaw, director of Tate, said: “Tate Liverpool opened in 1988 as a promise to the North to bring the best of Tate’s collection to new audiences.

“Thirty five years later there is an enormous amount to feel proud of, but as Liverpool continues to evolve, so must Tate.

“We are now investing in our building so Tate Liverpool can welcome the widest range of local, national and international visitors as part of a revitalised waterfront. Brilliant art and artists will be at the heart of a world class experience that is free for everyone to enjoy.”

Ahead of the closure there will be a weekend (October 14-15) packed with free activities and a final chance to see the national collection of art in the building in its current form.

Throughout both days there will be different making activities for visitors and have something to take away from the event, including placard-making inspired by Bob and Roberta Smith. Visitors will be able to make their own mark in the gallery by joining artists Vanessa Scott and Andy Wolfden to contribute personal memories and hopes for the future on a communal mural.

Artist Torkwase Dyson will be in attendance to activate her sculptural installation, Liquid A Place 2021, in an intimate collaborative performance with DJ Lynnée Denise.

Through poetry, film and music the artists will explore the music of the African diaspora within the context of social justice. Acclaimed writer Lauren Elkin will be in discussion with Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid for a special talk and there will also be a specially commissioned, limited edition artist made prints in the Tate Liverpool party bag.