Tate Modern Made Modern Art Safe for Britain

Richard Dorment’s review of the decade in the arts in the UK for the Telegraph includes this tale of the democratization of Contemporary art:

The full extent of the impact the opening of Tate Modern in 2000 has had on the culture of the country has yet to be understood. Only a few years before, the night of the Turner Prize was a slightly frightening occasion when the tabloids raged, Brian Sewell howled, and there were disgruntled artists gruntled on the steps of the Tate Gallery. But Bankside’s record-breaking visitor numbers changed that almost over night.

Here’s a memory I cherish: the year after Martin Creed won the Turner Prize with a work in which the lights went on and off in an empty gallery, I was on the London underground when my train stopped between stations. Inside the carriage, the lights went off, then on, then off again several times. After a few minutes, as the train started to move again, the driver apologised for the delay over the loudspeaker: “That stop was brought to you by the winner of this year’s Turner Prize.” And the really remarkable thing was that everybody laughed.

Art: Review of the Decade (Telegraph)