And now for something completely different.
Ask many Americans about museums and they’ll start talking about art. I’m not entirely sure why, but Museums and art galleries seem to be more synonymous in other parts of the world. It does make sense to a degree however; they’re very similar establishments with much the same rules. I like to think of them as specialist museums.
I don’t really know anything about art though. If you see me in an art gallery looking as if I know what’s going on; I don’t (see picture). This makes writing about art galleries a little difficult, but hopefully I’ll offer a different insight for people who do know and something more approachable for those who, like me, don’t. I shan’t be doing many though so don’t worry/ enjoy it while it lasts.
Still with me? Never mind; The Hepworth is a recently built art gallery in Wakefield. Having raved about the architecture of other museums; I can’t pass a mention on this. Concrete. What a material. You can buy concrete goods in the gift shop. The building is a work of art though, I hate the colour, but the building and the bridge over the water front are astounding. If you have five minutes to appreciate the architecture of Wakefield; stand in the middle of the road between The Hepworth and the Chantry Chapel. You can see most of the best from there with the finest of old and new side by side.
If you were in any doubt before you got in, you’ll not be once you do; you are in an art gallery. The walls are white, the floors are grey and each room has new and fantastic objects and images. Once you actually made it to the first gallery that doesn’t change. The exhibits are in constant flux here; unlike most museums, each time I’ve been I’ve seen something that was not there the time before. This time there was a fountain of fairy liquid and an interactive pile of ply board and chaos.
I’ve found the best way to prepare for a trip to an art gallery, as an art novice, is not to. The blank canvas approach, you can use that, leaves you open to whatever crazy ideas are been put forward. By being ready for nothing; you are ready for anything. So upon entering and seeing five columns of bubbles slowing rising and collapsing and emerging once more; I’m instantly invested. Subsequently I was and in this instance spent a lot of time observing said bubbles; to see what happens.
I was able to sit because of one of my favourite parts of big museums like this, aside from the museum itself, is the black borrowing folding chairs (pictured). There’s something infinitely appealing about just having a chair and being able to dictate when and where you sit. Want to look out a window, at a picture, at the people in the galleries? Not a problem, you’ve got your own chair and you can put it where you want. I’d like to get some for my house.
Given that the things on display re always changing I can’t pass comment on them. Prepared for a sweeping, uniformed paragraph on modern art. A person walks into an art gallery, puts some cheap specs on the floor and moments later people gather round to sketch and photograph it as if it’s a work of art. Isn’t modern art absurd, we don’t need art now we have really good cameras? Except sometimes art is absurd, sometimes that’s the point and actually, maybe, the glasses were art. Art doesn’t need to be hard to do; it doesn’t have a set path or strict rules. Sometimes there are rules; if you want to make something that is cubist there are things you need to do to achieve that. Sometimes it takes great skill, decades of practice, and sometimes you could have done it. I know enough about modern art to know that to judge a piece by its apparent complexity is too misjudge it completely. One permanent exhibit, along this vain, is a window (view pictured). Its many people’s favourite, and they don’t even realise it’s a piece.
The Hepworth is still quite new, most of the art is quite new too. It’s still forming, finding its feet. I spend a lot of time in the past, metaphorically speaking, trying to predict the future and make sense of the present. The Hepworth is very much the reverse of this. It looks to the Future, reflecting on the present making sense of the present. It’s a place to go and dream, those dreams might be weird and incomprehensible, but go and have them. It’ll be worth it. This is another one for everyone too. There’s lifts and chairs that can go literally anywhere. I just wish someone would paint the outside; there’s enough grim gritty reality in Wakefield we know concrete is grey.
Taxidermy rating: 0/15
Toilet score: 4/5.
Dead people: No
Overall Score: 7/10
Website : http://www.hepworthwakefield.org