8 April 2017

Sumptuous Hockney at Tate Britain


I had been to a couple of Hockney exhibitions in recent years and that was more than enough to convince me to go and see another one. This time it was at Tate Britain.

Scheduling these things is always difficult and as the tickets were selling rapidly my choices were limited and becoming even more so. In the end it was easiest to go on a Saturday and add a theatre to the trip. I saw a matinee performance at Arcola Theatre and then headed to Pimlico for my 7:30pm date with Hockney. My Art Fund membership entitled me to a ticket for a very modest £8.85.

Time was a constraint and so my evening meal consisted of a sarnie from a Pret a Manger in Horseferry Road, Westminster, which was fine.

The Hockney exhibition was spread over a lot of rooms created within a rectangular space. Like IKEA, you had to go through all of the rooms one after the other and each room had a sequence to it which some people followed while others chose the easier option of moving to the least crowded spaces and taking the pictures in a random order. The exhibition was very busy but, generally, moving around was easy and the crowd did not get in the way of my enjoyment of the exhibition.



Photography was not allowed (they had a catalogue to sell) which was a mixed blessing; I would have loved to have taken lots of photographs (I managed just one sneaky one to prove that I was there) but then so would have everybody else and the circulation of people would have slowed dramatically and many of the more impressive pictures would have been swamped with people taking selfies.

What impressed me the most this time was the range of styles and materials he used. I was expecting, and saw, many large colourful paintings but these were complimented by sketches in graphite and iPad drawings that you could see being composed. I was reminded, as other exhibitions had shown me, just how good Hockney is technically.

It took me a couple of hours to navigate the exhibition simply because there was so much to see and I wanted to spend time appreciating each item. I am grateful that the fairly recent trend of having late openings for major exhibitions allowed me to see it.

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