In an earlier article I mentioned the generous donation by Tim Sayer of his entire art collection to the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Whilst up in Yorkshire at the weekend I got the chance to visit the gallery for the first time and was blown away by the whole set up.
The building itself is perched on the edge of a series of weirs by a canal basin, and no doubt the gallery was intended to form part of a regeneration of the industrial area. The whole effect of this stark, modern, grey hulk rising out of the water and softened by trees is magical.
The gallery is everything you'd expect from a modern, professional, national space - well organised and roomy with several exhibitions on display. There was less works on show from Hepworth herself, but I'm sure that this will be addressed in future incarnations of the site.
What I was most impressed with though was how friendly some of the staff were and how much the gallery encouraged people to talk to one another. The reverential silence was broken by people asking questions and commenting on the displays - which is how it should be. My wife and I spent 10 minutes or more discussing the collection of Tim Sayer (100 hundred of his pieces are currently on display) with a very friendly and knowledgeable attendant, who pointed out her favourite pieces, told stories and was genuinely interested in what we felt about the works.
All in all very impressed - and they even sold nice cakes and coffee!
As part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, The Hepworth is showing the rest of the country how art curation should be done.