Kapow! Pop goes the Tate Modern

Britain's biggest modern-art museum is doing the equivalent of changing the furniture around. But in this case, the items on the move are world-famous works of art. Louise Jury reports
Click to follow

When Tate Modern opened five years ago, the reaction to the building was wondrous admiration. The attitude to the art inside, which was hung in themed, rather than chronological, displays was not always as appreciative.

So the announcement yesterday of the first major rehang of the collection is set to spark a new round of debate over the best way to display the work in the former power station.

All 48 galleries devoted to the display of the Tate's permanent collection will be rehung - and 40 per cent of the art will be works never previously shown in Tate Modern. These will include one of Roy Lichtenstein's powerful pop-art paintings, Whaam! and Fernand Leger's The Acrobat and his Partner.

Around a fifth of the works will be new acquisitions including posters by the Guerrilla Girls, a group of feminists who disguise their identities with gorilla masks, and works by Tacita Dean and Anish Kapoor.

Another recent purchase is Video Quartet by Christian Marclay, a striking installation using hundreds of short-film excerpts of performers, first seen at the White Cube two years ago and more recently at the Barbican, which Frances Morris, the curator, said was set to be a contemporary classic. Louise Bourgeois has donated one of her own works, Mamelles.

The artworks will continue to be presented in themes but will essentially focus on key movements in 20th century art -Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism.

Sir Nicholas Serota, the director of theTate galleries, said: "I would be very surprised if there were not some criticism. Our purpose is not to deflect criticism but to present the collection in the strongest possible way." But he added that the rehang would probably answer one or two of the criticisms - such as whether the Tate was showing the strengths in its collection and whether it was presenting the works the public really wanted to see.

Ms Morris said the rehang was not a "a final solution" but she hoped it would shed new light, not least by continuing to pair artists of different generations she considers to have points in common, such as Martin Creed and Carl Andre or Anish Kapoor and Barnett Newman.

The rehang is being sponsored by UBS, which will also fund a programme of additional events and displays including bi-monthly live performance art events, building on the success of previous performances such as dance from the dance company DV8 and by Merce Cunningham. It will also offer the Tate access to its own corporate collection of 900 pieces to fill some of the well-documented gaps in the Tate's holdings.

A UBS spokesman, Jeremy Thompson, said: "We are delighted that works from the UBS Art Collection will be included in the display to augment areas of artistic practice which are not currently well represented in the Tate collection."

The rehang will be unveiled next May. Forthcoming temporary exhibitions, also announced yesterday, include the first major retrospective in the UK of Martin Kippenberger, the late German artist, a current passion of the collector Charles Saatchi who has already featured his work in the Saatchi Gallery.

Other shows will examine the early career of the Russian Wassily Kandinsky and the work of French artist Pierre Huyghe.

Tate Britain will present an exhibition of Constable landscapes, a major retrospective of Howard Hodgkin, one of Britain's greatest living painters, and a show examining the late 18th century and early 19th century taste for the Gothic.

Works no longer in the collection

* TONY CRAGG: Britain Seen from the North

* CHRISTIAN BOLTANSKI: The Reserve of Dead Swiss

* ANSELM KIEFER: Parsifal I and Parsifal II

* MARK DION: Tate Thames Dig

* ANDRÉ FOUGERON: Atlantic Civilisation

* ARISTIDE MAILLOL: Torso of the Monument to Blanqui

* RACHEL WHITEREAD: Untitled (Nine Tables)

* BRUCE NAUMAN: Mapping the Studio

* HOWARD HODGKIN: Dinner at Smith Square