STUDENT BLOG: Why the Tate Changed My Idea of Art.

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Beti Thomas
Second year English student

Okay, I’ll admit it. If someone had asked me a couple of years ago to visit an art gallery my answer would have been a clear NO, but something about the Tate had always caught my eye. So, when I started university in Liverpool two years ago I decided to give it a go and it was possibly one of the best decisions I made that year (that and downloading Deliveroo). Since then I’ve been keeping my eye out for new exhibitions on the Tate website, once in a while taking time out of Uni life and behaving somewhat like a responsible adult to visit the Tate.

Perhaps I’m the only one, but I’ve always assumed that art galleries consisted of those random paintings that any 3-year-old would be able to do, making us guess for half an hour what it’s actually supposed to convey. Well I found out that the Tate Liverpool is very much different to that. From my experience visiting the Tate, they tend to exhibit art that is unique and extrovert, often making you think about issues you never thought you’d think about. That’s why the Tate changed my idea of art, because you’ll find yourself looking at a painting that you feel connected to and understand, and it can quite often bring out emotions in you that you thought you’d only feel in your first week of freshers.

I think the exhibits at the Tate at the moment are really suitable for modern, urban students, especially the Mary Reid and Patrick Kelly We are Ghosts exhibit because its contemporary nature (and being honest its weirdness) makes it hard to forget, and I think that’s what contributes to making good art.


The We are Ghosts exhibit is situated on the ground floor of the Tate Liverpool.  Mary Reid and Patrick Kelley ‘work in collaboration to create video works that combine painting, performance and poetry to tell surreal stories’ and as you cmary 1an see from the photos I took, their work is completely unique. As you may be able to guess by the title of the collection, the work created by Mary and Patrick Kelley has a sense of eeriness to it. The crude and almost uncomfortable vibe that surrounds the videos gives it a sort of urban feel. If I had to compare this exhibit to anything I’d say it’s a combination of Beetlejuice meets Rocky Horror Picture Show. I highly praise the Tate for giving minor artists a platform to express their work and for giving the public a diverse range of art for any sort of taste or genre. I like the fact that the Tate will delve into artists as well-known as Roy Lichtenstein, but also gives up-and-coming artists a chance to be shown next to some of the most recognised paintings in the world. Which leads me on to the next exhibition.

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Obviously, I cannot visit the Tate without mentioning the Roy Lichtenstein In Focus exhibit. Lichtenstein’s work contrasts extremely with the dark, black and white work shown in We are Ghosts. Roy Lichtenstein In Focus delivers ‘over 20 works charting Roy Lichtenstein’s (1923–1997) early interest in landscape to his iconic pop paintings influenced by comic sroy 1trips and advertising imagery’. Roy Lichtenstein is extremely well known for his vibrant pop art theme, which gives off a retro-esque vibe and appeals to a more urban audience. I have to say though that after seeing the We are Ghosts exhibit, it was hard to think about anything else and so if I had to recommend one exhibit, it would be Mary Reid and Patrick Kelley’s wacky yet beautiful artwork.


And after all this if you’re still not convinced, the Tate Liverpool is worth a visit, even if you just want to get some Instagram pics.

LJMU students can see both of these exhibitions for FREE (We Are Ghosts ends on 18th March) and whilst you’re there, show your student card in the café and get 10% off!



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