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Last year, four residents living in luxury condominiums facing London’s Tate Modern art gallery sued it over privacy concerns, claiming that museumgoers on its observation deck had continuously peeped through their open glass windows.

The viewing site, located at Tate Modern’s 211-foot-tall Blavatnik Building, was designed by Swiss architectural agency Herzog & de Meuron in 2016, and offers 360-degree views of the London skyline.

Tate Modern’s neighbors, who live in the nearby NEO Bankside building that saw completion in 2012, sued the museum last year, and asked for an injunction urging the establishment to set up blockades that would prevent visitors from looking into their apartments.

As the apartments warrant a minimum price tag of around US$2.5 million, the residents were reluctant to install curtains. According to Tom Weekes, an attorney representing them, they were subjected “to an unusually intense visual scrutiny.” One of his clients had apparently found a photo of himself that was shot by another Instagram user.

Trolling the plaintiffs, London-based artist Max Siedentopf set up an unofficial artwork on the observation deck, making it easier for the museum’s thousands of visitors to appreciate what appears to be the main attraction of the Tate Modern: its neighbors.

The installation comprises a dozen pairs of binoculars, bound by red string, that the artist had placed on the viewing platform.

He also appropriated a giant signage that the gallery recently set up to ask museumgoers to “Please respect our neighbors’ privacy.”

Telling Fast Company, Siedentopf said, “Each week, Tate Modern attracts over a hundred thousand visitors from all around the world to look at some of the best art in the world. However, it turns out that one of the most popular sights around the museum is not an exhibited artwork… [but] the neighboring apartments…”

“Thousands of visitors gather in awe to take a peek inside the apartments. No other artwork on display attracts as much fascination as these open plan apartments.”

He also told art market site artnet that while his installation might be a violation of privacy, visitors would have already been able to look inside the apartments even without binoculars.

“The binoculars just help visitors to enjoy Tate Modern’s most popular sight a little bit more and up close,” he joked.


The Blavatnik Building (right), where the viewing terrace sits. Image via Tate

Absolutely classic signs around the viewing platform @Tate "Please respect our neighbours' privacy". You mean those people who bought glasshouses by a viewing platform? The reason I come up here is to look into their apartments…#londonislovinit #ViewPoint pic.twitter.com/IeqePGdNcW

— Alastair Hilton (@London_W4) December 29, 2017

As angry neighbors sue Tate Modern, an artist has installed a dozen binoculars on the museum's viewing terrace—which could antagonize them even further. https://t.co/pZLtE9VqXa pic.twitter.com/s7rJuWikCj

— artnet (@artnet) November 14, 2018

Rogue binocular installation helps Tate Modern visitors spy on museum’s neighbors: https://t.co/KJqFcXRWAi pic.twitter.com/FEAuGil8Yo

— Artsy (@artsy) November 14, 2018

[via Fast Company, images via various sources] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/402390/Artist-Hilariously-Trolls-Museum-s-Neighbors-Who-Complained-About-Peeping-Toms/

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