As well as having a membership for the Royal Academy, I'm also a member of the Tate. So I got a special invite to the opening of the new Tate Modern extension last week. Very exciting!
The walk across the bridge to the Tate from St Pauls is one of my very favourite things. Here's the view of Tower Bridge and the Shard in the evening sunlight.
And here's the Tate.
There was quite a queue to get in, which moved quite quickly, especially when chatting to people. Once inside, you turn to a whole new massive 10 storey high area on your right (although most of the floors are taken up not with art, but with cafes and restaurants).
Down in the old tanks in the basement you can explore inter-connected concrete rooms of videos, sculptures and 'happenings'. Here's a 'happening'....happening.
(It's the two people in the middle at the back in the tango-like clinch, BTW.)
Here's another 'happening'. This time, it was a line of people singing.
Strange things that may or may not have been instruments, like large wooden alpenhorns...
Some stuff on the floor that looked like they hadn't taken away some sort of scaffolding.
There were bean bags on the floor so you could sit in the dark and take in the huge videos that surrounded you. Some were of lightning strikes, others of the sun setting, all strangely beautiful.
Some more stuff on the floor.
Can't spot it? It's the girl holding the rope of flags. Also, we got to take a print from a large pile on the floor. Very exciting!
Some stuff looked a bit rude...
A lot of the work was by women artists, including a fabulous room by sublime art goddess Louise Bourgeois.
Then ,just when you're flagging, you find that a lift can take you all the way up to the tenth floor, and the most amazing thing of all.
A 360 degree view of the London skyline.
Plus a sneaky look at the improbably pads of some very rich people.
I also took in the amazing Mona Hatoum exhibition, which is a must-see.
So get to the Tate - you may not like the art, but it's so huge and immersive that you'll come away feeling challenged and stimulated and annoyed and excited, which is what art is all about.