Tate Britain eschews fine art for Christmas facade, covering it in home-style lights

Featuring LED Santas, reindeer and snowmen

Christopher Hooton
Friday 01 December 2017 17:02

Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Mondrian and more are all in the Tate’s collection, so you might expect the Tate Britain gallery to get grandiose decorations for Christmas.

This year, however, the building’s facade has been covered with off-the-shelf items and a “Santa Stops Here” sign, imitating homes “up and down the country”.

The results are really quite effective and pleasingly humble, encompassing LED Santas, reindeer, snowmen, and Christmas trees.

The display will adorn the Victorian porticoed entrance and neo-classical facade, which was created by Sidney RJ Smith 120 years ago.

The arrangement is the creation of Alan Kane, an artist whose previous projects include a series of televised nude life drawing classes and a travelling exhibition of contemporary folk art featuring traditional wrestling costumes, and a 6ft walking mechanical elephant.

Alex Farquharson, Tate Britain director, said: “We’re excited to be giving Tate Britain a whole new face this Christmas with Alan Kane’s light commission.

“After 25 years of commissioning artists to design our Christmas tree, we thought we’d give an artist the facade of the building to play with.

“Alan’s ultra-festive response is sure to turn heads – of those both young and old. We look forward to unveiling other surprising festive artist commissions in the years to come.”

The lights will be switched on at 4.30pm on Saturday 2 December.

Additional reporting by PA

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