Completed in 2011, The Hepworth Wakefield art gallery was intended as the crowning glory in the city’s regeneration strategy, commenced by Wakefield Council in 2007, to provide a contemporary space in which to exhibit the existing collection, temporary exhibitions, and works by Barbara Hepworth. The latter, gifted by the artist’s family through the Art Fund, includes not only examples of Hepworth’s sculptures but also working models, studio equipment and a personal library.
The building by David Chipperfield Architects is itself a work of sculptural brilliance; bold, blunt and bordering on Brutalist from the outside, yet spacious, light and inviting within the internal gallery spaces. There is also a family-friendly café, attractive gift shop which includes artist’s work for sale, and plans for a Riverside Gallery Garden.
Along with the permanent collections, the gallery also hosts regular temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists. Currently these include Disobedient Bodies: J. W. Anderson Curates, Anthea Hamilton Reimagines Kettle’s Yard, Approaching Thunder: 1940’s British Prints & Drawings, and Gyorgy Gordon: From Hungary to Yorkshire. Individual reviews of J. W. Anderson’s and Anthea Hamilton’s exhibitions can be found on this blog.
‘Approaching Thunder’ demonstrates both the frugality and feeling of post-war British artists trying to come to terms with both the practical and emotional impact of the First and Second World Wars, with often harrowing themes depicted in shocking clarity.
Similarly, the work of Gyorgy Gordon (1924 – 2005) captures the haunting imagery of a conflicted identity (the artist came to England as a refugee following the Hungarian Uprising of 1956) in a series of paintings and drawings.
The exhibitions are supported by talks and workshops for adults and younger visitors, alongside a rolling programme of craft and play opportunities for children. Events to come include Jonathan Anderson in Conversation on 3 June 2017, and Hepworth’s Personal Library – a series of readings from the artist’s personal library – on 27 May 2017. Find out more.