Tate Britain substitutes visual art for words in its first campaign through Grey London, a series of black and white, long-copy posters running on public transport.
The ads describe famous artworks, such as Millais' "Ophelia," and Francis Bacon's "Triptych - August 1972," with copy that looks, and feels, more like poetry. "Ophelia" starts with the words "Grief has never looked so beautiful" while the ad about Triptych tells the reader that, if you were a gay man in 1970, "You don't paint pictures of flowers in a vase/ and you aren't going to start now." Another famous historical painting, "Portrait of Elizabeth 1," is described as a Tudor-age selfie, with the words "Elizabeth couldn't take a selfie in 1563/But if she could it would look like this."
The copy was written by Grey's Pete Gatley, Jonas Roth and Rasmus Smith-Bech, and art directed by chairman and CCO Nils Leonard.
Rob Baker, Tate CMO said in a statement: "Our ambition in working with Grey London is to offer a broader audience new 'ways in' to the art we present at Tate Britain by creating cultural relevance."
The ads will run as posters and tube cards on the London Underground as well as in press and on the Tate Britain website. Postcards of the ads will be also be available to the public for free in Tate Britain.