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The Hepworth Wakefield gallery

wakefieldThe Hepworth Wakefield, is a £35m gallery and the largest purpose built in the UK in 43 years, is named for sculptor Barbara Hepworth of Yorkshire, and opened on Saturday. There are dozens of her works as well as prototypes plus pieces by JMW Turner and Henry Moore.

Since the Hayward, built on London’s South Bank in 1968, this is the largest. The gallery was designed by David Chipperfield an award winning architect and it has 5,000 metres and contains 10 galleries making it almost twice the size of the Turner Contemporary in Kent opened last month and another Chipperfield gallery.

In the first weekend over 150,000 are expected to visit and there is expected to by so many at the opening that wrist bands with 45 minute limits are being hand out. The opinion by locals of the building, located on the shore of the River Calder, is mixed. Some feel it looks like a concrete bunker said one councilor of the Wakefield council that helped with £18m in funding.

Even though there is a debate in the streets of Wakefield about the building there is not denying the quality when you get inside the gallery of the exhibits and everyone that visits will be incredibly surprised and impressed the councilor added. Plus he said the building will help to kick start the rejuvenation of the riverside area and help to generate £3m annually to the area economy.

A goal of Chipperfield and a major priority is to design his buildings so they are popular with the locals and he hoped that the Hepworth would help to generate a new set of art lovers. Those opposed will generally always be opposed but if young people get persuaded to come then quite possibly the attitudes can be changed about certain types of culture.

This is the second gallery to focus on the works of Hepworth in the UK. Tate runs the Sculpture Garden in Cornwall that also focuses on her. The Tate has also loaned some works to the Hepworth said Simon Wallis the director of Hepworth and he added they plan to work together.


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