Being a fair-minded type [outbreak of coughing and shuffling in the audience], I like to test my opinions against reality from time to time, in case something has changed that might cause me to think again. Too often, alas, this reality check merely serves to confirm my prejudice - or rather demonstrate that it is no prejudice but sound judgment.
So it proved with Tate Modern, which I rashly revisited yesterday. I have long held that this is a very bad art gallery indeed, a dismal and dispiriting waste of a huge amount of space (to say nothing of money, and opportunity) - and I saw nothing yesterday to change my mind. The thematic arrangement of the collection is incoherent to the point of randomness, and far too many of the depressing white spaces that pass for galleries are given over to crass and joyless gigantism. I saw plenty that vaguely piqued my interest, plenty that was simply repellent, a little that was genuinely clever or well made, but - leaving aside the Rothko Room, the Richter room, and a thin peppering of real quality works - almost nothing that lifted the spirits or delivered real aesthetic pleasure. Any room of the National Gallery delivers more of those than the whole of Tate Modern. Though it has held some superb exhibitions, and I've enjoyed a few of the turbine hall installations (the current one appears to be a kind of untended allotment garden), Tate Modern seems to me a monument to failure - the gigantic failure of Modern Art, or rather its decline into a sordid, self-serving industry, a trendy branch of showbusiness. Happily there are many very good artists still at work in the world - but they are sorely under-represented in Tate Modern.