Yorkshire sculpture park

Posted on August 26, 2017 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

Tony Cragg

 

I have long wanted to visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and my wish finally came true this summer. Like Hepworth Wakefield, the park also won the Museum of the Year award (back in 2014), and deservedly so. Sometimes high expectations may bring disappointments, but not in this case – the park is idyllic, inspiring, and full of wonderful surprises.

Celebrating its 40th birthday this year, the 500-acre park was initially instigated by an art lecturer, Peter Murray at Bretton Hall, a stately home turned further education college with a strong emphasis on fine art (which eventually closed in 2007). Sculpture park was a new idea in Britain at the time, while Storm King in the New York state had already evolved into a major art centre. Having visited both parks (see my blog post from last year here), I think they are both equally impressive, though I am slightly biased towards YSP because of the beguiling Yorkshire landscape and the historic Bretton Estate. And like Storm King, the park has been growing since the 1970s, from 200 acres to over 500 acres. Considering YSP had little funding (£1,000 grant from Yorkshire Arts) and support at the beginning, it was remarkable how it managed to become the leading open-air gallery in Britain, attracting more than 400,000 visitors each year.

 

yorkshire sculpture parkBlack and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness

Anthony Caro Promenade

Henry Moore: Reclining Figure: Arch Leg

Barbara Hepworth: The Family of Man

Top: Zak Ové's Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness; 2nd row: Anthony Caro's Promenade; 3rd row: Henry Moore's Reclining Figure: Arch Leg; Bottom row: Barbara Hepworth's The Family of Man

 

As I didn't have a car, I had to rely on the infrequent bus service, which meant that my hours at the park was restricted. I could have stayed for longer if I didn't have to catch the last bus back, so that was a slight letdown. Be prepared to spend at least 4 hours here if you want to see the major outdoor works and temporary indoor exhibitions. I was fortunate enough to see the excellent exhibition 'Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects' (see photos below) before it ended, but a selection of open-air works will be on display until March 2018.

 

Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads

Dennis Oppenheim: Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components

Peter Randall-Page: Shapes in the Clouds III  Niki de Saint Phalle: Buddha

Sophie Ryder: Crawling

Marialuisa Tadei: Octopus

Sol Lewitt: 123454321

Top: Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads; 2nd row: Dennis Oppenheim: Trees: From Alternative Landscape Components; 3rd row left: Peter Randall-Page: Shapes in the Clouds III; 3rd right: Niki de Saint Phalle: Buddha; 4th row: Sophie Ryder: Crawling; 5th row: Marialuisa Tadei: Octopus; Bottom row: Sol Lewitt: 123454321

 

I was also very lucky with the weather; as we all know, the British weather is very unpredictable, so when I bought my train tickets a month earlier, I had no idea whether it would be sunny and rainy.

Sculptures aside, the park itself is also full of wonders. The Grade II listed Palladian style Bretton Hall, the pleasure grounds and parkland all date back to the 18th century, and there are several historic structures within the compound: Camellia House, St Bartholomew's Chapel (now restored as a gallery space), Archway Lodge, the summerhouse, the Cascade Bridge and the Dam Head Bridge.

 

 Leo Fitzmaurice: Litter yorkshire sculpture park

Marc Quinn: Wilder Shores of Desire

yorkshire sculpture park

dam head bridge yorkshire sculpture park

yorkshire sculpture park

yorkshire sculpture park

James Capper: TREAD PAD pair 1

James Capper: TREAD PAD pair 1

Top left: Leo Fitzmaurice: Litter; 2nd row: Marc Quinn: Wilder Shores of Desire; 3rd row: Bretton Hall; 4th row: Dam Head bridge; 5th row: Greek temple: Bottom two rows: James Capper: TREAD PAD pair 1

 

At the far end of the park is the Longside Gallery, a contemporary space designed by Tony Fretton Architects, which hosts temporary indoor exhibitions and offers panoramic views of the park. I took a free shuttle bus from the entrance to the Gallery and then walked back through the woodlands, which enabled me to enjoy some spectacular views of the nearby landscape, as well as seeing some unusual 'camouflaged' installation works like David Nash's 'Seventy-one Steps', Hemali Bhuta's 'Speed Breakers' and Andy Goldsworthy's 'Hanging Trees'.

 

 Zero to Infinity

 Zero to Infinity

Occasional Geometries: Rana Begum curates the Arts Council Collection

Jesse Darling, March of the Valedictorians,  yorkshire sculpture park

yorkshire sculpture park

 yorkshire sculpture park

Andy Goldsworthy: Outclosure

Andy Goldsworthy: Hanging Trees

Andy Goldsworthy: Hanging Trees  David Nash: Seventy-one Steps

yorkshire sculpture park

Top two rows: Rasheed Araeen’s Zero to Infinity at the Longside Gallery; 3rd row: Occasional Geometries: Rana Begum curates the Arts Council Collection; 4th row left: Jesse Darling's March of the Valedictorians; 7th row: Andy Goldsworthy: Outclosure; 8th & 9th row left: Andy Goldsworthy: Hanging Trees 9th row right: David Nash: Seventy-one Steps

 

Sometimes visiting a vast sculpture park feels like a treasure hunt, and it is almost impossible to locate all the sculptures during a visit. But that is part of the fun as well – knowing that you have missed some, which gives you an excuse to return again.

However, having learnt that the Bretton Hall will be converted into a luxury hotel and spa with conference and wedding facilities is causing me some concern – will this be turned into a 'Disneyland' type of park? I sincerely hope not. Since the park is one of its kind in Britain, I hope it continue to remain so in the future.

 

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park  tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park  tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

tony Cragg yorkshire sculpture park

Tony Cragg: A Rare Category of Objects

 


This post was posted in Exhibitions, Travel, Nature, Art, Gardens & parks, Britain, British art, contemporary, Sculptures and was tagged with nature, British art, sculptures, sculpture park, West Yorkshire, yorkshire sculpture park, Tony Cragg

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