overheard. . . at the Tate's 'Rites of Passage'

1. On John Coplans

"I'm horrified. This is too much "

"His penis is like a button mushroom."

"Let's go."

Couple in their mid-thirties both wearing glases

2. On Louise Bourgeois

"Red Room (The Parent)"

"What does it mean?"

"That's for you to decide. But if you want to know it's all about love. It really lays love on the line."

Two overdressed Essex girls

3. Outside Louis Bourgeois "Red Room parent" about a fellow art lover.

"D'you think he'll talk to me?"

"You'll never get the chance again. Ask him."

Two perfectly dressed girls from SW3

4. On Louise Bourgeois Nature Study 5

"Ooh. It looks like little piglets, doesn't it?"

Middle-aged man in a pinstripe suit

5. On Louise Bourgeois

Cell (Hands and Mirror)

"Oh look. She's really involved in it. She just seems to love opening and shutting the doors."

Bearded father to a friend about his three-year-old daughter who is playing with the piece

"Can you stop that please."

Museum attendant to three-year-old daughter


Three-year-old daughter

6. Inside the Bill Viola Installation

(a pitch black room)

"You see we're just unwitting performers."

"But it just doesn't engage me."

"This is really where it's at."

"Well as far as I'm concerned it can stay there, I've had enough."

Two smart young men

7. Outside the Bill Viola installation

"I don't like it. It's just like the bear's cave"

Small 60-year-old woman

8. On Susan Hiller's installation

"Oh gawd. It's broken down again."


"If you want to know, it's been breaking down all day."

A (Polish) living sculpture

9. On Mona Hatoum

"Look. You see that girl there? That's her. It's her body in there.You know all those innards, you know, with the camera inside her."

"I wonder if she enjoyed it?"

Two Chanel-clad girls

10. On Miroslaw Balka's "Shepherdess"

"It's very interesting, isn't it? And now I think we've seen enough."

Rich European woman to her companion