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The south tank at the Tate Modern
The south tank at the Tate Modern


Sept. 8, 2011

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Some relief is in sight for visitors to the overcrowded Tate Modern, which typically accommodates at least 3,000,000 more people than the building was designed for every year. The museum has raised £150 million from anonymous donors, enough money to open three new underground exhibition spaces behind Turbine Hall -- former oil tanks -- in time for the 2012 Olympics next summer, the BBC reports. The industrial-style, 23-by-100-foot galleries, which have been vacant for about 30 years and are presumably scrubbed clean, are set to house Tate's permanent collection, as well as host performances, lectures and installations in time for the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

In 2005, the museum announced plans for a new 11-story Herzog & de Meuron-designed tower to extend off of the current building. Further additions, however, have been delayed until 2016, as fund-raisers seek an additional £65 million. Tate director Nicholas Serota has said he hopes to come up with the money with a combination of private and public donations. The museum acquired £8 million worth of new art last year and plans to collect even more in the near future from the Middle East, Latin America and Asia.

Nevertheless, for the Olympics, the museum will keep its focus close to home, allotting its major survey to Damien Hirst.

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