Raising a Glass to the New Tate St Ives

Last night, I got my glad rags on for the private launch of the new Tate St Ives gallery. Nestled in the heart of this romantic Cornish town, renowned for the likes of Barbara Hepworth and Bernard Leach, the New Tate is destined to further cement St Ives’ artistic reputation. After an 18-month closure and £20m expansion project, the new gallery space built into the cliff face awaits hoards of excited visitors at the coming weekend opening.

On arrival, we were treated to live music in the circular entranceway overlooking Porthminster Beach. Making appearances throughout the night, the musicians got the party off to a good start setting the tone with their acoustic rhythms. We headed straight for the rooftop terrace for drinks, where delicious canapés and seasonal taster plates were served in the Tate’s panoramic café overlooking St Ives. Glass of wine in hand, we perused the building with its whitewashed walls and Collapsing New People stairwell hand-painted by Glasgow-based artist France-Lise McGurn.

With a large part of the original gallery space dedicated to the history of modern art in St Ives, exhibits were featured from artists across the 20th century. Tate staff were on hand to give special pop-up tours, explaining the work of Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon, Naum Gabo and Paule Vézelay amongst others.

Crossing over the threshold into the new gallery space, we were delighted by Rebecca Warren’s first solo show All that Heaven Allows. Born in London, Warren makes fabulous sculptures, assemblages and constructions from a range of materials including neon, clay, steel and bronze. Acknowledging the role Cornwall has played in her work, she writes: “St Ives is at the end of the land, so it’s like a concentration of all sorts of things – gentility, excellence, bland strangeness […] I came here to see how it is, to try and pick up something from it, its history, the ghost of Hepworth. Once I had taken it all in, I tried to forget it. I wanted to avoid pastiche and generalisation.”

Tate St Ives featured the film I produced of the event on their Instagram account, calling it a “beautiful video”.

A beautiful video, courtesy of Bethia, of one of the preview evenings. Featuring live music, drinks, pop-up tours and art
— Tate St Ives, @tatestives
Bethia Naughton-Rumbo