Turner Contemporary

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Turner Contemporary
Sea in the foreground. Building under construction with two cranes
Turner Contemporary exterior
Turner Contemporary is located in Kent
Turner Contemporary
Location within Kent
Established 16 April 2011
Location Margate, Kent, England
Coordinates 51°23′20″N 1°22′48″E / 51.389°N 1.380°E / 51.389; 1.380
Type Art gallery
Collection size British and international art from 1750 to the present
Director Victoria Pomery[1]
President John Kampfner[2]
Website http://www.turnercontemporary.org/

Turner Contemporary is an art gallery in Margate, Kent, England, intended as a contemporary arts space and catalyst for the regeneration of the town.[3][4] The title commemorates the association of the town with noted landscape painter J. M. W. Turner, who went to school there, and visited throughout his life.[5]

The original designs by Norwegian architects Snøhetta would have made the gallery part of the harbour itself. Some critics, however, questioned the prudence of placing part of Britain's national art treasures in a spot that is exposed to the full fury of the North Sea. The costs of the original design, and controversy over the decision to change its structure from concrete to steel,[6] have led to a legal battle, in an attempt to recover some of the costs.[7] It was later moved to a plot of land adjacent to the harbour, on the site of a boarding house where Turner once stayed.

The building was designed by David Chipperfield,[8] whose design for the 3 storey, 20 metres (66 ft) high[9] gallery has been criticized for being "alien, brutal and bleak".[10] It was built on the raised promenade following a flood risk analysis.[11] Construction started in 2008, and was completed for opening in April 2011,[12] at a cost of £17.5 million.[7] The gallery opened on 16 April 2011. Over 14,000 people visited in the first weekend and 500,000 in its first year.[13][not in citation given] In August 2013 the gallery received its millionth visitor.[citation needed]

The scheme has been supported by the artist Tracey Emin, who opened it and was brought up in Margate, and various funding bodies including Kent County Council, with a £6.4 million contribution,[14] Thanet District Council, who provided the land, South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), who provided £4 million[14] the Arts Council England with support to the value of £4.1 million[14] and the European Union.[15] It is the largest dedicated visual arts venue in Kent.[1] It is a registered charity under English law.[16]

In November 2011, the venue received an award from the British Guild of Travel Writers, highlighting the contribution of Turner Contemporary to the visual arts scene in Britain, Europe and more widely.[citation needed] Queen Elizabeth II visited Turner Contemporary on 11 November 2011, as part of a wider trip to Margate.[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b "Victoria Pomery". Ebbsfleet Landmark. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  2. ^ "Turner Contemporary: Building Starts in Margate!". South East England Development Agency. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  3. ^ "Turner Contemporary". Art Rabbit. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  4. ^ Worthington, Caroline (July–August 2011). "Reviews — Turner Contemporary, Margate". Museums Journal 111 (7/8): 46–49. 
  5. ^ Darwent, Charles (2009-01-25). "Superabundant: A Celebration of Pattern, Turner Contemporary, Margate". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  6. ^ "Back to drawing board for gallery". BBC News. 2006-02-08. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  7. ^ a b "Snøhetta's Turner Contemporary trial delayed due to complexity". The architects Journal. 209-05-15.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ "New architect chosen for gallery". BBC.co.uk. 27 July 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  9. ^ "Chipperfield unveils Turner Contemporary design for Margate". Building Design. 2007-06-19. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  10. ^ Sewell, Brian (14 April 2011). "What's this... Slough-on-Sea?". London Evening Standard. 
  11. ^ Udale-Clarke, H.; Allsop, W.; Hawkes, P.J.; Round, P. (2008-10-30). "The new Turner Contemporary Gallery – an example of an urban coastal flood risk assessment". FLOODrisk. 
  12. ^ "Rendezvous: 'this plan needs a rethink'". Your Thanet News. 7 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-26. 
  13. ^ Beached and hard to reach
  14. ^ a b c "Funding Finally Secured For Margate's Turner Contemporary Gallery". Culture 24. 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  15. ^ "Turner Contemporary". Kent County Council. Retrieved 2009-08-31. [dead link]
  16. ^ TURNER CONTEMPORARY, Registered Charity no. 1129974 at the Charity Commission

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°23′24″N 1°22′52″E / 51.390°N 1.381°E / 51.390; 1.381