New Hepworth gallery to open in northern England

Thu Feb 3, 2011 11:50am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A new gallery named after British sculptor Barbara Hepworth and costing 35 million pounds ($58 million) will open to the public in the northern English city of Wakefield on May 21, organizers said on Thursday.

They added that The Hepworth Wakefield would be the largest purpose-built art gallery to open in Britain since Tate St Ives in the 1990s, and represented one of the biggest contemporary art spaces outside London.

The announcement is a welcome piece of good news amid broad cuts to arts projects across the country, as the government seeks to bring down a record budget deficit.

Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the gallery is made up of 10 trapezoidal blocks and stands on the banks of the River Calder.

Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate museums, called it "one of the most exciting and beautiful galleries in the United Kingdom."

The highlight of the gallery's collection will be over 40 works donated by Hepworth's family comprising prototypes and models in plaster, aluminum and wood from which metal casts were made at a foundry.

The installation will include the full-size prototype made by Hepworth of one of her best- known sculptures, "Winged Figure," commissioned for the John Lewis Partnership building in Oxford Street London and installed in 1963.

Hepworth, who was born and raised in Wakefield, also created a 21 ft bronze sculpture "Single Form" which stands in the United Nations Plaza in New York.

She died in an accidental fire at her Cornwall studio in 1975, aged 72.   Continued...