New Tate's first commission is for 87-year-old

THE FIRST piece of work to be commissioned by the new Tate Gallery is from an 87-year-old French-American sculptor. Louise Bourgeois is regarded as one of the world's most influential artists and her sculpture will be one of five piecesdisplayed in the 500ft long and 100ft high entrance hall.

Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate Gallery, said the works would be commissioned in a pounds 1.25m sponsorship deal with Unilever. One piece will be commissioned every year and will be on display for six months at a time.

The Tate Gallery of Modern Art is due to open next May in a converted power station on the south bank of the Thames at Southwark.

Ms Bourgeois's work, which will consist of three 40ft-high steel sculptures, will be the first thing visitors will see. She is frail and it is not certain that she will make the journey from her home in New York to install the piece, the details of which are a closely guarded secret.