Hockney Update

Jill Iredale, our Curator of Fine Arts has been busy with Hockney related stuff recently, and agreed to write a blog about what she’s been up to.

She writes:

It has been a busy few weeks. I started at MAC Belfast packing away our Hockney collection shown as a jointly curated exhibition David Hockney: I draw I do …

The show was a runaway success that attracted double their normal number of visitors and, as the Belfast Telegraph reported recently, research showed that 50% of visitors had come to Belfast purely for the exhibition and whilst they were in the city each visitor spent an average of £71. This increased to £149 for visitors staying overnight.

This is good news for demonstrating the benefit art can contribute to the economy of an area and is something we hope our own David Hockney Gallery at Cartwright Hall will contribute to the local Bradford economy when it opens in July 2017.

Packing up Le Plongeur
Packing up Le Plongeur

Which brings me onto what we have been doing at Cartwright Hall. For the last fortnight we have been busily reorganising our upstairs galleries showing Bradford’s art collection. Some of this was due to needing to take down light-sensitive works on paper for conservation reasons, some purely to refresh the displays but we also needed to empty one gallery to make way for our new David Hockney Gallery.

As normal with moving museum displays and operating in old buildings, this presented the usual range of challenges. One of the biggest of these (literally) was moving the Egyptian Feast by Edwin Long which is the largest painting we own. It took six people to take the work off the wall and then separately move the frame and the canvas. Fortunately everything went to plan and it looks great in its new location.

Taking down the Egyptian feast
Taking down the Egyptian feast

The other challenge was with moving cases from one gallery to the other as this meant having to remove the gallery doors. Again, and despite my scepticism, everything came off and went back on as it was meant too and the door still works!

removing door
Off comes the door…

Probably the only thing that didn’t go to plan was me spraining my ankle the week before all this started. This meant I had to wear one shoe one slipper in the galleries which isn’t a fashion I think will catch on (Eds note: I don’t know, maybe it’s a statement piece?) but I found that by shouting and pointing I still managed to get my point across …

Jill modelling the latest trend in curatorial footwear…

So we now have nicely refreshed displays and an empty room ready to be transformed into the David Hockney Gallery at Cartwright Hall.

The purpose of the gallery is to showcase our rare collection of Hockney early work and to celebrate David Hockney, Bradford’s most successful international artist of today. We are really excited about this new initiative and there will be further updates on our website as the project progresses.

We will also be shortly launching a fundraising campaign to help us make the gallery the very best visitor experience we can. So all donations, large or small will really make a difference.

You can donate online or over the phone by ringing 01274 431215 Mon-Wed, by making a donation in the box at Cartwright Hall or you can send a cheque payable to Bradford Council to Cartwright Hall, Lister Park Bradford BD9 4NS

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