The Tate Modern is named after Henry Tate, an industrialist who provided his collection of British 19th century art and financial funding to create the first Tate Gallery. The first Tate opened to the public in 1897 and showcased a small collection of British artworks. Since then, four major sites make up the Tate group, which contains a national collection of British art from the 1500s to modern and contemporary works.
Based in the former Bankside Power Station in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark, the Tate Modern holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and also includes international modern art. As such, it is one of the largest museums dedicated to contemporary art in the world. Like other national galleries in the UK, admission is free to view the permanent collection. The Bankside Power Station, which closed in 1981, was originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and faces St. Paul's Cathedral from across the river. For years after its initial closure, the building was at risk of being demolished. The public campaigned to save the building. In April 1994, the Tate group announced that the old power station would be the future home of the new Tate Modern museum.
An international competition to select an architect to redesign the space was launched. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron of the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron were selected as the winners. The conversion project, which cost a total of £134 million, was launched in June 1995 and completed at the beginning of 2000. The Queen opened the museum to the public in May of that same year.
Tate Modern is split up into various gallery and exhibition spaces. The Tanks host the permanent gallery for live art and performances as well as film and video work. They also displays works that are specifically commissioned for this space. In the original building, the Tanks were used to store oil for the power station. Although it no longer generates real electricity, the Tate Modern generates creativity, ideas and possibilities for collaboration and inspiration. Next to exhibiting works by artists like Picasso, Warhol, and Mapplethorpe, the Tate Modern also has exhibits surrounding up-and-coming artists. Admission is free for the permanent displays; however, special exhibitions have an admission fee.