The new 'Turner Contemporary' in Margate

April 17 2011

Image of The new 'Turner Contemporary' in Margate

Brian Sewell doesn't like it.

Of Turner Contemporary, the words "elegant", "inspiring" and "spectacular" have been used by its protagonists, but this cluster of super-industrial sheds on the site of the Georgian boarding-house in which Turner occasionally stayed is an unsympathetic and abrasive assault on its neighbours. Lacking their occasional ventures into architectural whimsy and instead constructed in the idiom of the modern warehouse and the factory and seeming gigantic in scale, David Chipperfield's Turner Contemporary might be unnoticeable on the fringe of Heathrow or the outskirts of Slough, but in poor old Margate its featureless and gleaming bulk is alien, brutal and bleak. Its presence is as aggressive and threatening as that of a hyena in a sheepfold, nothing about it announces a benign purpose, nothing speaks of art and welcome; its only invitation is to the local graffitisti.

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