Apollo Magazine

Climbing Frames at the Tate

Twitter is up in arms about the parents who allowed their child to climb on a Donald Judd artwork at the Tate Modern. Where were the guards?

A snap appeared online this afternoon of a child scaling some Donald Judd ‘stacks’ in London’s Tate Modern. We’re not sure that Judd intended these works to be clambered on. Of course, they look like shelves or modernist bunkbeds – and the elements are described as ‘units’. But still.

Judd himself filled his house-cum-studio in 101 Spring Street, New York, with all kinds of artworks and objects that must have got in the way of everyday life. These included an enormous steel box in the second-floor studio, five feet high and with no discernible purpose other than to be looked at and lived with. And so many of his works, whether sculptures or furniture, invite us to think about how we move through and inhabit space. So who knows, maybe the kid in Tate Modern does have the right idea?

The response on Twitter, where the photo was posted, is largely one of disbelief. Why didn’t Tate guards prevent this from happening? And after a visitor scrawled on a Rothko in the same museum in 2012, there’s bound to be outcry about whether there are enough guards, or whether they’re failing to do their jobs properly. Is there any security left at Tate at all?

Update: ‘Sissi has always been anti-establishment’, explain the child’s parents in London’s Evening Standard

Related Articles:

Art the Tate Modern wants you to climb on

Museum Etiquette: are there manners in museums anymore? (Danielle Thom)

Should children be banned from museums? (Telegraph debate)

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