The bold new Tate St Ives has shrugged off fierce competition to score the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 award.
One of four members of the Tate family, the gallery in Cornwall was declared the winner at a ceremony at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London on Thursday night (5 July 2018). The panel of judges including Art Fund Director, Stephen Deuchar, and BBC arts correspondent, Rebecca Jones, selected Tate St Ives from among five finalists:
• Brooklands Museum (Weybridge) – a motoring and aviation museum on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor-racing circuit;
• Ferens Art Gallery (Hull) – displaying medieval and Old Master works to contemporary art;
• Glasgow Women’s Library (Glasgow) – the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements; and
• The Postal Museum (London) – London’s newest museum, which tells the story of postal heritage.
The judges were wowed by Tate St Ives’ striking new £20 million extension designed by Jamie Fobert Architects. Carved out of solid rock on the cliffside, it includes a new public roof garden, a learning centre and nearly 600 square metres of extra gallery space. Tate St Ives closed for 18 months while the refurbishment took place and reopened in October 2017.
“The new extension… is deeply intelligent and breathtakingly beautiful, providing the perfect stage for a curatorial programme that is at once adventurous, inclusive and provocative”, Deuchar told the press.
Tate St Ives pays homage to artists such as Barbara Hepworth who were lured by the light and landscape of the Cornish coast. Original plans for an extension to the gallery drawn up 15 years ago were opposed by many in the local community who feared it would block sea views and take up car parking space. Digging into the cliff side offered the solution.
The winner of the Museum of the Year award receives £100,000 with £10,000 going to each of the four finalists.