The TATE Modern: 3 Awesome Pieces You Need to Hunt Down This Season

Nov 13, 2019

Health & Lifestyle | Kristina Cassar Dowling

Modern and Contemporary art; two periods in the history of art that are often confused, disregarded or avoided for many reasons, the most primary: their content is totally misunderstood. And that’s pretty sad to say the least. Modern and Contemporary art firs of all, differ from one another in timeline, content and message - when you think of Modern Art you instantly go to Picasso, to Monet or maybe if you know that little bit more Rothko or Duchamp will boggle through your mind. But what did these lucid painters have in mind when creating their ‘masterpieces’?

Here are 3 top artworks you’ll need to understand with your next trip to the TATE Modern.

The Snail

If you’re doing your rounds right, Henri Matisse’s The Snail should be one of the first, if not the first pieces you see. Its colourful gouaches découpées technique instantly stands out and draws its viewers in. During this period in Matisse’s life, his health was pretty much on the decline, he sat in his bead and cut out the colourful shapes to create the piece but his hands rarely touched the canvas on which the cut-outs are pinned. His assistant would hover over the canvas until Matisse gave firm instruction to pin the shape in place. Pretty awesome if you ask me.


Possibly the most spoken about (and heard of) controversial pieces to contemporary art - Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. Signed and dated ‘R. Mutt 1917’, this odd piece adds some crass humour and a lot of interest to the TATE Modern. The original piece though, is not found in the TATE – it’s a lost art work that has yet to turn up. The TATE Modern feature is a 1964 replica that captures the true ‘essence’ of the original urinal - a thought provoking piece that challenges the expectations of art in society.

Lobster Telephone

Dalí. Bet you’ve heard of him. Best known for his surrealistic work that is playful and menacing, wacky and entirely creative. Dalí, throughout his artistic journey did something that other artists of his time failed to do, he connected objects that had no business associating with each other, he took the strange and connected it with the ‘everyday normal’ and created art. The Lobster Telephone is one such example that according to Dalí unleashes the secret desires that the unconscious mind seeks - in his mind, sexual desires.

If you left this article somewhat more confused than when you started reading, it’s working. Modern and Contemporary ideologies are flooding your mind and infiltrating the curiosity section of your brain that is hungry for a world of art - full of colour, creativity and question - to enter your life.