We’ve tried to go visit the new Hepworth Gallery, in Wakefield, before now but quite stupidly I forgot to do my research and so we turned up on the one day of the week that the gallery was actually closed. Bah.
So we tried again, this Sunday just gone. Fortunately, Wakefield was still where we had left it. The gallery itself was another of these slightly abstract we-don’t-do-classical-architecture types of building, all flat concrete panels and angles outside, and bright, airy white space inside. A lot of space in fact, with a fair amount of excellent work both from the Hepworth’s own collection and from the guest artist Richard Long. It’s an interesting juxtaposition between the gallery itself and the small boatyard on the other side of the river, where someone has hung a jerry-rigged figure (built from scrap metal and boating accessories) that overlooks the gallery with a smile.
Richard Long is a sculptor who works as he walks. Or who walks as he works. Either way, he creates pieces based upon particular landscapes, either imposing geometric shapes upon the landscape itself or taking pieces of the landscape out to display in galleries. It’s probably conceptual. I was fascinated by the display of pieces of slate, arranged within a circle drawn upon the gallery floor. I asked the staff nearby: how does this get laid out? Is there a plan? Are the stones numbered? As it turns out, no: Long himself laid out the works. “He didn’t have a plan,” the staff confided. “He just did yoga and meditated for an hour, then went to work.”
Hmm. Somehow I’d like to think there’s more to it than that.
A repeat visit to the gallery itself is definitely on the cards, but next time I reckon we’ll be packing sandwiches – here’s where the title of this post comes into relevance. I know there’s a recession on, and the f%*king Tories are cutting arts funding left right & centre to pay their pensions (and The Arts Council themselves have a lot to answer for), but hell’s teeth! The cafe prices were abominable! How much for one sandwich? Really? Is that why it’s daintily wrapped in paper and tied with string? Seriously – £10 for two sandwiches. If they’d come at us armed and masked, it might have been more honest.